Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can students under the age of 18 participate in Internship and other immersion activities?

    WBL is a capstone experience for talented and motivated young people and companies have final say regarding which students are qualified. WBL programs require that students be at least 16 years of age and demonstrate readiness attitudes and skills prior to participation. Students and employers must comply with all applicable Child Labor Laws. (19 Del. C., §§501-510)

  • What about Workers Compensation?

    Workers’ Compensation protects every employee equally, regardless of age. Neither age nor years of experience are calculated into the cost of providing workers’ compensation nor the payout of claims. Workers’ Compensation is calculated in the same way for all workers regardless of age and is based on (a) salary and (b) the classification of the actual job the WBL student is hired to do. As a result, actual costs are low for hiring WBL students and existing protections are sufficient.

  • Are unpaid interns covered by insurance?

    Unpaid internships also allow students to gain work experience without being considered an “employee” if they are primarily on site to learn and receive no direct compensation from the company. In such cases, commercial liability insurance (companies) and high-risk accident insurance (school districts) protect students and companies.

  • Is my industry too dangerous for minors?

    There are only a few prohibited occupations for minors who are 16 or older (29 C.F.R. § 570.50-68 2018) that are unrelated to your workplace or industry as a whole. In most cases, OSHA requirements ensure that you’re already protecting your employees to the same extent you’d need to protect a minor. There are many roles that young people can fill to give them valuable exposure to your workplace to spark an interest in long-term employment in your industry.

  • Minors are prohibited from working on our jobs?

    Students enrolled in Delaware’s CTE programs who are taking WBL, however, can do more than the average teenager, including working in advanced manufacturing, construction, and agriculture (29 C.F.R. § 570.50-68 2018). Required WBL paperwork protects companies, schools, and students by documenting eligibility and compliance with the law.

  • Human Resources says it is illegal to bring minors onto the floor of our facility?

    In reality, company policy may be the only real barrier to engaging with the most talented and qualified students. There are many ways to ensure quality and safe learning experiences that create a stronger workforce pipeline for your company:

    • Work with a temp agency to hire minors while they’re still in high school
    • Select CTE students with up to 720 hours of safety/skills-based training in your industry
    • Create an internship/part-time position to complete educational/special projects and experience various roles or departments
    • Draft a contract that defines your responsibility for non-employees, like unpaid interns

    Provide an umbrella accident policy to protect non-employees

  • How can we best address worker’s compensation issues?

    Determine the roles and responsibilities that student interns would fill in your company.

    Inform your insurance company of the specific jobs interns will fill in your company (and whether or not they will be paid).

    • If unpaid, confirm that you have liability insurance coverage.
    • If paid, confirm that you have liability insurance coverage and worker’s compensation coverage (for companies with five or more employees).

    Sign and implement the Internship Agreement.

  • How do we determine if there is an employer/employee relationship?

    If the student meets the criteria for “employee,” they must be appropriately compensated. Employment means engagement in an occupation for money or other valuable consideration. Generally speaking, a student in a work-based learning situation is an employee unless all of the following criteria are met:

    • The employer derives no benefit from the activities of the student. A student receives ongoing instruction at the worksite and is closely supervised throughout the experience. Any productive work performed is offset by the burden to the employer for the training and supervision provided. The Department of Labor uses the following three-part test to determine there has been no benefit to the employer:
      • There has been no displacement of employees, vacant positions have not been filled, employees have not been relieved of assigned duties, and the students are not performing services.
      • The student is under continued and direct supervision by either a representative of the school or by an employee of the business.
      • The period of time spent by the student at any one site or in any one distinguishable job are of limited duration.
    • The experience is of short duration.
      • Career exploration is generally limited to 5 hours per job experienced.
      • Career assessment is generally limited to 90 hours per job experienced.
      • Work-related training is generally limited to 120 hours per job experienced.

    The student and parent/guardian understand that the student is not entitled to a job at the end of the experience.

  • How do we determine if a student must be compensated?

    Typically, students in Health Science clinical practicums or rotations are considered volunteers or student-learners and are not compensated for hours worked toward their credential.

    Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, individuals may work for charitable, civic or religious nonprofit enterprises without expectation of compensation and be considered a “volunteer” not included in the definition of “employee.” When determining ordinary volunteerism, the US Department of Labor considers a variety of factors, including the nature of the entity receiving the services, the receipt by the worker of any benefits from those for whom the services are performed, whether the activity is less than a full-time occupation, whether regular employees are displaced, whether the services are offered freely without pressure or coercion, and whether the services are of the kind typically associated with volunteer work.

    In most cases, training that is directly related to work is considered part of the employment relationship and should be compensated. Time spent in training or preparing for training outside regular working hours shall be considered hours of work if the training is required to bring performance up to a fully successful, or equivalent level, or to provide knowledge or skills to perform new duties and responsibilities in the employee’s current position.

  • Do work-based learning experiences vary?

    Yes. Work-based learning experiences include various activities ranging from short-term introduction, such as job shadowing, to long-term intensive training and paid employment. Although local school personnel typically implement work-based learning programs, they may be designed by and for the district, region, or state.

    Types of work-based learning activities might include:

    • Pre-Apprenticeship— a combination of on-the-job training and related classroom instruction in which workers learn the practical and theoretical aspects of a highly skilled occupation. Often joint employer-labor groups, individual employers, and/or employer associations sponsor apprenticeship programs.
    • Internships— paid or unpaid programs in which students spend time in a business, industry, or other organization to gain insight and direct experience.
    • Job shadowing— an academically motivating activity designed to allow students to observe workplace mentors as they go through a normal day on the job. It allows students a close, personal look at the workplace.
    • School- based enterprises—programs in which students produce goods or services for sale.
    • Service learning— programs that combine meaningful community service with academic learning, personal growth, and civic responsibility.
  • How do students become involved in work-based learning?

    If students are interested in participating in a work-based learning activity, they should contact their school’s work-experience coordinator or ask a teacher how to get involved. Students should have a general idea of the career area they would like to explore, but this is not necessary. It may be necessary, however, for students to develop or update their résumés to share with potential employers. Work-based learning experiences should also be discussed by a student’s Individual Education Program (IEP) team and included in the IEP.

  • How is the work-based learning experience for a student facilitated?

    Typically, a young person is assigned to a workplace mentor—an employee of the company or another individual approved by the employer. Mentors may include co-workers, school or community agency-sponsored job coaches, work-study coordinators, or vocational coordinators. The workplace mentor possesses the skills and knowledge to be mastered by the student and helps to instruct the student on the tasks assigned to him or her. This person also critiques the student’s performance and serves as the contact for the classroom teacher and the student’s employer.

  • Should work-based learning experiences be part of students’ IEP/transition plans?

    Yes. According to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, all youth with disabilities, beginning at age 16, must have a transition plan in place as part of their IEP. At this time, the IEP team must work together to identify the transition service needs and goals of the student. The activities and services identified should ensure that youth with disabilities graduate with future employment plans or training based on their goals.

    Transition planning activities might include career assessment, work-based learning experiences, and employment. Once these goals are identified, they must be included as part of the student’s IEP.