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Work Experience Education (WEE)

Work Experience Education (WEE) is a work-based learning course of study that offers internships and employment combined with instruction in critical workplace skills.

Development of "non-cognitive" skills (soft skills) play an important part in college and career success. Non-cognitive factors featured in WEE include motivation, time management, perseverance, and self-regulation.

Students will develop ready-to-work attitudes/interview skills; financial literacy; knowledge of workplace safety and rights as workers; business operations; how to read an earnings statement and know what payroll deductions to expect; career decision making; making a career goal plan and much more.

The WEE is a course of study which may be established by the governing board of any school district or charter school, 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 Secondary District plan for WEE to the California Department of Education for approval.

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 an integrated educational process that: (1) helps students to choose a career path based on their interests and aptitudes; (2) prepares them for college and career success; and (3) affords students the opportunity to learn to work with others in ways that are successful and rewarding. The WEE program connects inputs from 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 career exploration and forging rewarding relationships with employers.
  • Develop a positive work ethic and acquire or refine work related skills and job performance in actual work settings.

Program Types

The WEE includes both paid and non-paid experiences. The LEA may offer one or more of the following types of WEE programs authorized by the 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. The 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 Experience Education (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 employment. The CTWEE is to develop and refine occupational competencies necessary to acquire paid employment 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.


Questions: Erle Hall | | 916-323-2564 
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, October 3, 2023