Work Experience Education (WEE) is a course of study which may be established by the governing board of any school district or other specified local educational agency (LEA) in accordance with the provisions of the California Education Code Section 51760 and the California Code of Regulations (CCR), Title 5, Section 10070-75. Each LEA that elects to conduct a WEE program must submit a plan for WEE to the California Department of Education for approval. Eligible LEAs include school districts, county offices of education, consolidated cooperatives, and charter schools.
The operational plan of the WEE program combines an on-the-job component with related classroom instruction designed to maximize the value of on-the-job experiences. Students' success in WEE programs depends on the quality of classroom instruction, effective collaboration between employers and the WEE coordinators, and the degree of involvement by the students and their parents or legal guardians.
The WEE program is part of a total educational process that: (1) helps students to choose a career path wisely; (2) prepares them for full-time employment suitable for their abilities and interests; and (3) affords students the opportunity to learn to work with others in ways that are successful and rewarding. The WEE program uses the integrated efforts of teachers, counselors, students, parents, and employers to achieve the following purposes:
- Link the academic core curriculum with the world of work and promote students' school-to-career transitions.
- Help students develop skills, habits, and attitudes conducive to job success and personal growth.
- Assist students in selecting careers and preparing realistically and wisely for the world of work.
- Use the community's business-industrial complex as a career training laboratory to help the students develop a positive work ethic and acquire or refine work related skills and job performance in actual work settings.
WEE includes both paid and non-paid experiences. The LEA may offer one or more of the following types of WEE programs authorized by CCR, Title 5, Section 10071:
Exploratory Work Experience Education (EWEE)
The objective of EWEE is to provide career guidance to students and ascertain their interests and aptitudes for specific careers through opportunities to observe and sample a variety of conditions of work. EWEE includes a combination of job observations and related classroom instruction in WEE. The student may be required to perform non-paid work activities while exploring the occupation on a limited, periodic, and sampling basis. The length of exploratory assignment may vary, depending on the aptitude of the student, the occupation being explored, the facilities of the work station, and the job classification. Students may not participate in EWEE programs if pay is received for similar work at the same work station or a similar job during hours when not assigned to the EWEE program. (The student cannot replace a paid employee.) The LEA must provide Workers' Compensation Insurance for the student. Students enrolled in EWEE may be as young as 12 years of age. Students participating in EWEE do not need a work permit.
General Work Experience Education (GWEE)
The purpose of GWEE is to provide students with opportunities for applying the basic skills of reading, writing, and computation through a combination of supervised employment in any occupational field and related classroom instruction. Students participating in GWEE typically require a work permit. (Visit Work Permits for Students to learn more about work permits.)
Career Technical Work Education Experience (CTWEE)
The intent of CTWEE is to reinforce and extend vocational learning opportunities for students through a combination of related classroom instruction and supervised paid or unpaid employment. CTWEE is to develop and refine occupational competencies necessary to acquire paid employment or non-paid placements, to adapt to the employment environment, and to advance in an occupation. Students enrolled in CTWEE must have a worksite placement or employment that is related to a previous or concurrently enrolled Career Technical Education course of study.