New Work-Based Learning Plan Option Connects to CVTE Frameworks

This year, the online Massachusetts Work-Based Learning Plan (WBLP) adds a new feature - an option  for tracking the Career/Vocational Technical Education (CVTE) competencies.

The Work-Based Learning Plan (WBLP) is a tool used in summer jobs, internships, cooperative education experiences and other work experiences. The WBLP is a user-friendly document that includes:

  •  A job description;
  •  A list of the skills/tasks that are important in your job or internship;
  •  A performance evaluation with ratings, goals and comments. 

The WBLP has a strong history in Massachusetts, with the first iteration in place in 1999, and the current version in use since 2006.  It was developed by a group of employers, educators and workforce development professionals, convened by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s School to Career Connecting Activities initiative.   It is used by over ten thousand people each year in summer job programs, internship programs, CVTE cooperative education programs and other work experiences across Massachusetts.

The list of skills/tasks includes Foundation Skills –the basic skills that are common to every work experience – plus a list of Career and Workplace Specific Skills.  The Career and Workplace Specific Skills section was designed to be open-ended, so that it can be customized for each work experience.  During the work experience, students are evaluated through the WBLP and reflect on the skills found in the WBLP, including the basic Foundation Skills and the customized list of career skills.  

The new feature provides the option of using a checklist of CVTE competencies to develop the list of career skills for the WBLP, in lieu of using the open-ended format.  It provides the checklist of competencies from each of the 44 different CVTE frameworks, such as carpentry, culinary arts, graphic communications or engineering technology.   Instead of writing in various skills or competencies, CVTE program coordinators can select the specific CVTE competencies that they want students to practice in their co-op or other work experiences.

This technical improvement is also a very positive example of the natural connections among CVTE programming and other career development programs across Massachusetts.  Resources, tools, techniques and ideas flow naturally between the career/vocational technical high school programs and the career development programs in comprehensive high schools.  Students in both settings benefit from many of the same career exploration activities, college and career planning resources, career-related classroom lessons and more.   With this small enhancement, the WBLP, already used in both CVTE and non-CVTE settings, will be an attractive tracking tool for CVTE-related work experiences.

If your school or youth employment program is not yet using the online Work-Based Learning Plan, you are invited to explore this option.  If you visit the “Join the Network” link ( you will receive a database username and password and be added to our email lists for professional development and other opportunities.   You can also register for and sign into the database using the Sign In link at the top right of this screen.

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Jennifer Leonard | The Skills Library