Work Based Learning: Fun as you Learn and Earn!

Work Based Learning:  Fun as you Learn and Earn!

word cloud representing key words in the text such as experiential education

Volunteer State Community College began the Work Based Learning (WBL) Program in Fall Semester 2017 and has expanded to sixteen courses representing all academic divisions including Business and Technology, Health Sciences, Humanities, Math and Science, Nursing, and Social Science and Education.  Work Based Learning is a course based, credit bearing, experiential education opportunity offering students “real world” experience in an off-campus business setting in the student’s career/academic program preference. 

Eligible students to participate in a WBL course must possess a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0/4.0 scale, a minimum grade point average in their academic program of 2.5/4.0 scale, be approximately 50% (30 credit hours) completed in their degree program, and work with Dr. Rick Parrent to be approved for course registration.  Students register for a WBL course and work off-campus during a semester gaining valuable industry experience/awareness as well as career readiness and job skills training.  For each college credit hour earned in a WBL course, the student intern may serve up to 45 contact hours.  In many cases, students may receive compensation while they serve at the off-campus site.  A supervisor/mentor is assigned to a student intern and provides guidance and support throughout the experience.  For some WBL student interns, this experience affirms their interest in a particular career, while other students may decide not to continue to pursue that career and seek additional career exploration help.  WBL students also benefit from their internship by early networking with industry partner organizations, creating a strong resume and references, and performing so well that they may use this experience as a bridge to part-time or full-time employment. 

The College already has approximately sixty (60) business partner organizations who have or will be serving as WBL student internship sites.  GAP, the Disney Corporation, Aladdin Temp Rite, Averitt Express, The Home Depot, North Central Telephone Cooperative, YAPPUSA Automotive Systems, OSRAM Americas, and Electrolux represent just a few of these WBL partners.  Other major benefits to the College faculty and students are opportunities to work directly with industry leaders, inviting them to serve on advisory boards where they may provide insight regarding industry standards, curriculum modifications, and workforce needs and collaborate with students in identifying learning objectives to enhance their academic experience.

Rick ParrentDr. Rick Parrent, Administrator of Work Based Learning at the College, is available to speak with students, faculty, and staff about the WBL Program and how it may be a “try it before you buy it” opportunity for students to determine their future careers.  He may be contacted at 615-230-3321 or  For more details please go to the Vol State Work Based Learning website.