Where your future begins

Work- Based Learning Experience

Categorized In: Pre-Employment Transition Services - Services

Approved Date: August 30, 2023

Owner: Lupe Stevens

Work- Based Learning Experiences are an educational approach or instructional methodology that uses the workplace or real work to provide students with the knowledge and skills that will help them connect school experiences to real-life work activities and future career opportunities. It is essential that direct business or community involvement be a component of the work-based learning experience to ensure in-depth student engagement. These opportunities are meant to engage, motivate and augment the learning process. These work-based learning experience opportunities can be done in conjunction with private, for-profit, public or nonprofit businesses in your community and/or through web-based resources. In addition, work-based learning experiences require in-depth engagement of students and an evaluation of acquired work relevant skills.

Work- based learning experiences may include opportunities outside the traditional school setting, that are provided in an integrated environment to the maximum extent possible.

Types of Work- Based Learning Experiences:

Paid and Non-Paid Work-Based Learning Experiences:

Paid and non-paid work-based learning experiences must be provided in an integrated setting in the community. Where paid work-based learning experiences are provided, the wages are to be paid at no less than minimum wage.

Paid work- based learning experiences- Conducted with a government office (federal, state, county or city) or a private business with the student being set up and paid as a student worker on the Department of Education payroll. The student chooses whether to be paid by direct deposit to a checking or savings account or by a debit card. The VR agency is responsible for arranging general supervision of the student at the paid work-based learning experience site by checking in regularly with the student and business, monitoring the paid work-based learning experience progress and ensuring the business has the necessary information to contact Nebraska VR. Liability coverage for this arrangement is covered by Workers’ Compensation.

Non- paid work- based learning experiences-Through informed choice, a student may prefer not to be paid. A non-paid work-based learning experience is conducted with an any business site with the student not receiving a wage or being set up as an employee. The VR agency is responsible for arranging general supervision of the student at the paid or non-paid work-based learning experience site by checking regularly with the student and business, monitoring the paid work-based learning experience and ensuring the business has the necessary information to contact Nebraska VR. Liability coverage for this arrangement is covered by the State of Nebraska's blanket accident policy.

 

Guidelines for Nebraska VR Paid and Non-Paid Work- Based Learning Experiences:

  • A paid or non- paid work- based learning experience is limited to 210 hours per experience;
  • Determine how many hours are appropriate for the paid or non- paid work- based learning experience before the start of the experience. This will vary depending on the student and the experience;
  • Students 14 and 15 years old will follow the hour restrictions provided by the Department of Labor: not more than 3 hours on a school day, not more than 18 hours in a school week, not more than 8 hours on a non-school day, not more than 40 hours in a non- school week, not before 7a.m. nor after 7p.m. (9p.m. from June 1st to Labor Day). For additional information see Nebraska Department of Education website: Child Labor Laws;
  • A student can participate in up to two paid or non- paid work- based learning experiences during the pre-employment transition services eligibility period (an exception, with justification, can be sought from the Office Director);
  • A paid or non- paid work- based learning experience can be offered during the two years prior to graduation, including the summer prior to entrance to the second year prior to graduation;
  • A paid or non- paid work- based learning experience will not be more than 8 hours in a day or more than 40 hours during a week and in accordance with child labor laws;
  • While school is in session, a paid or non-paid work-based learning experience will only be provided outside regular high school hours for the district (not specific programs within the district).  A student that is homeschooled may participate in a work-based learning experience when the student and business are available.  
  • 1:1 level of support from a worksite skills trainer for the student to engage in a paid or non-paid work- based learning experience is not allowed. The role of the worksite skills trainer is to teach specific job tasks to perform the job and to provide workplace readiness training at the work- based learning site. Worksite skill trainer support should not equal the number of hours authorized for the paid or non-paid work- based learning experience;

When appropriate more individualized services can be provided to a student that is eligible for VR services and has an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE).

Paid or a non-paid work- based learning experience initial Task Note will:

  • Articulate a clear rationale for the paid or non-paid work- based learning experience, including how the experience aligns with goals of existing IEP or 504 services;
  • Define learning objectives for the student, i.e.

           To learn… (specific task)

           To develop… (specific skill)

           To observe… (specific action);

  • Indicate that the rationale and learning objectives have been discussed with the student, parent, teacher, and business;
  • Clearly state the need of the support required by the student.

 

Paid or non- paid work- based learning experience conclusion Task Note will:

  • Indicate how well the learning objectives were met;
  • Report any auxiliary learning that took place;
  • Discuss any issues identified

 

Paid Work- Based Learning Experience Wage:

Paid work- based learning experience wage will be paid on State payroll. The student is not hired by the business as an employee. 

Paid work- based learning experiences (state paid) - Federal minimum wage plus FICA with no benefits.

Paid work- based learning experiences (state paid) - Wages are paid according to the Bi-Weekly Payroll Schedule.

Paid work- based learning experiences - Wages are not intended to cover the basic living costs. 

 

Income Tax and FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act)/Medicare:

Paid work- based learning experience - Income from a work- based learning experience is not exempt from income tax; hence, the student will be issued a W-2 by the employer of record in January. FICA/Medicare deductions are taken and matched by the employer of record. For SSDI/SSI recipients, the Social Security Administration (SSA) considers any earned income where FICA/Medicare deductions are withheld as wages.

 

Important Information for Students and Families Receiving State and Federal Benefits:

Each of the benefits programs administered by Nebraska’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and each Housing Authority has eligibility requirements—some are income based, while others include additional non-income-based criteria. 

It is important to inform the student that income earned in paid work- based learning experiences could affect student or family benefits. Such benefits include but are not limited to: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Energy Assistance, TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families), and Housing Assistance. 

The student/family will need to report income to DHHS, and any other entities providing benefits, such as the local Housing Authority. The program that administers the benefit will determine whether the paid work- based learning experience’s income can be excluded based on its criteria. 

If a student is a Social Security recipient and will complete a paid work- based learning experience, inform the student that they must report their earnings to the Social Security Administration. Timely reporting of earnings is important.

The Social Security Administration may request that the student complete the EARNED INCOME VERIFICATION REQUEST. The student should report the income even if they do not receive the form. 

Students under age 22 who are regularly attending school, college, or training to prepare for a job may qualify for the Student Earned Income Exclusion, which allows the student to exclude their income in calculating Social Security benefits up to specified monthly and annual amounts (with the thresholds changing annually).

 

Allowable Service Costs for Paid and Non-Paid Work- Based Learning Experiences:

Pre-Employment Transition Services for students with a Pre-Employment Transition Consent and Information Release ONLY-

  • Background check, if required for all employees, if paid to the business
  • Benefits Orientation
  • Travel Training
  • Employment/Training Medical Supports, if paid to the business
  • Interpreter-hearing impaired (ADA) 
  • Tools-employment, if paid to the business
  • Uniform & Clothing, if paid to the business
  • Worksite skills trainer
  • ATP Consultation

When appropriate more individualized services can be provided to a student that is eligible for VR services and has an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE).

Students that are eligible for VR services and have an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) have access to all allowable VR service costs as necessary, in addition to allowable service costs for potentially eligible students. 

When a student applies for VR services, an IPE must be developed within the guidelines found in the IPE chapter. Either a projected post school employment outcome or employment outcome may be developed as appropriate. Refer to the IPE chapter. 

 

Termination of Paid or Non- Paid Work-Based Learning Experience:

• Paid and Non-paid work- based learning experience - May be terminated by the work- based learning site, Nebraska VR or the student.

Hiring:

• Paid and Non-paid work- based learning experience - There is no expectation of the work- based learning site to hire a student following a paid or non-paid work-based learning experience.

Multiple Paid or Non-Paid Work-Based Learning Experiences:

More than one paid or non-paid work- based learning experience can be conducted with a student, if appropriate. However, the number of paid and non-paid work-based learning experience per student is limited to 2, unless by exception.

If a student is starting a new paid work-based learning experience (different experience), all of the paperwork must be redone and submitted.

Supervision and Injury/ Accident Reporting 

The VR agency is responsible for arranging general supervision of the student at the paid or non-paid work-based learning experience site as specified on the Work-Based Learning Experience form.  

Paid Work-Based Learning Experience - 

  • To report an injury/accident requiring medical attention or to report an injury/accident with no medical attention, staff need to contact NDE HR at 402.471.5026 to obtain the necessary forms/process on behalf of the client.  
  • Follow-up by completing and submitting the attached Incident/Accident/Injury Report for Clients & Applicants form. Liability coverage for this arrangement is covered by the State of Nebraska's Workers’ Compensation policy. 

Non-Paid Work-Based Learning Experience 

  • To report an injury or accident requiring medical attention or to report an injury or accident with no medical attention, call 1-800-346-7692 and hit #1 for Claims. Policy Holder: State of Nebraska Policy Number: SRG 0009141321-B. Liability coverage for this arrangement is covered by the State of Nebraska's blanket accident policy.
  • Follow-up by completing and submitting the attached Incident/Accident/Injury Report for Clients & Applicants form.

Employer Database:

  • ANY STAFF that has a substantial conversation with a business is responsible for creating or updating the contact in the employer database.  Substantial conversations should include at least one of the following:
    • Exchanging of contact information for future communications
    • In depth conversation regarding the business's needs
    • In depth conversation regarding Nebraska VR's services (example: work- based learning experiences)
    • Discussion regarding setting up a service for a student (paid or non- paid work-based learning experience, Job Shadow, Informational Interview, etc.)
    • Periodic progress reports on a service for a student (keep in mind the documented contact should not reflect details about the student, but instead should be focused on the business's needs being met by the service (example: work- based learning experiences), the business feedback and the business experience, etc.)
  • If regular contacts (such as weekly) are being made to the business to check on the status of a student’s progress, and nothing of note regarding the business and their needs is discussed, all of these contacts do not need to be noted separately.  Instead, the staff person could make a contact note once a month with a brief summary.  

  

Paid Work- Based Learning Experiences

  1. Determine the need for a paid work-based learning experience. These experiences are meant to engage, motivate and augment the learning process for students with a disability.
  2. Provide informed choice by, exploring students’ job-related interests. 
  3. Consult with a VR benefits specialist, along with the student and authorized representative to determine if student is an SSI/ SSDI recipient, the potential impact the wages from the paid work-based learning experience will have on benefits. Authorize Benefits Assessment if more information is needed about the impact of earning on family benefits so the student and family can make an informed choice about participation in a paid work-based learning experience.
  4. Locate a business who is willing and able to provide a work-based learning experience site.  Utilize the Employer Database to find potential business partners. Discuss options with the area Business Account Manager. 
  5. Negotiate the essential details of the paid work-based learning experience (start date, length of the experience, evaluation schedule, knowledge, skills and/ or behaviors to be learned and the agreed upon level of follow up).
  6. Complete a  Request for Certificate of Self-Insurance  if the business requests written documentation of worker's compensation coverage. 
  7. Enter the Pre-Employment Transition Service, work- based learning experience, in QE2. 
  8. Complete the Consent for paid Work-Based Learning Experience form obtain signatures of the student and authorized representative and VR staff. 
  9. Complete the I-9 Form and InformationW-4N Employee's Nebraska Withholding Allowance Certificate and W4 Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate with the student. (NOTE: These documents may be completed electronically at this time). The local office I-9 Contact should be the staff member completing these forms with the student or reviewing the documents prior to submitting.  
  10. Follow the instructions on the W4 and W-4N form. 
    • Verify I-9 information with the List A documents (U.S. Passport, Permanent Alien Registration Card, Employment Authorization Documents with photographs, etc.)  or with one List B identity document (Driver's License, State ID, School ID with picture, etc.) and one List C employment authorization document (Social Security Card, Birth
    • Certificate, Employment Authorization Document without photograph, etc.).  As NDE participates in E-Verify, the student must also present a List B document with a photograph.
  11. Make clear, preferably color, copies of the identification documentation (driver's license, Social Security card, etc.).
  12. Verify the birthdate on the I-9 with the birth in QE2.
  13. Enter the actual start date of the WBLE on the I-9.
  14. Complete the Direct Deposit Enrollment form (always), and the FOCUS Card Enrollment , if the student elects the debit card. (NOTE: These documents may be completed electronically at this time). Provide the client with the On-Line Access to Pay Stub Information.
  15. Complete the.  For NDE HR, include total hours to be worked. 
  16. At least 5 business days prior to the start date of the paid work-based learning experience, scan the I-9, identification documentation, W4 , W-4N,
     Work-Based Learning Experience (WBLE) Checklist, Direct Deposit Enrollmentect (always)  and FOCUS Card Enrollment  (if electing the debit card) and email to nde.hr@nebraska.gov and vr.sofiscal@nebraska.gov in order to receive approval from NDE HR prior to the paid work-based learning experience start date. Enter the first name initial and full last name of the student and the start date in the subject line of the email.
  17. Prepare Case Service Authorization as usual with the NE DEPT of EDUCATION- Rehab Client Training as the provider.
  18. Upon State Office approval, complete and print the authorization. The paid work- based learning experience cannot start until authorization has been approved. Once approved, State Office will mail a letter to the client with the User ID and Password needed to access their pay stub.
    • Include hourly rate and number of hours.
    • For total encumbrance that includes FICA, multiply hourly rate x maximum hours x 1.0765.
    • Include name, address and phone number of work-based learning experience site.
  19. Upon acknowledgment of receipt by NDE HR, shred original documents.
  20. Prepare the Work-Based Learning Experience Letter and  Work- Based Learning Experience Timesheet/ Invoice.
  21. Give the Work-Based Learning Experience LetterWork- Based Learning Experience Timesheets, Bi-Weekly Payroll Schedule and Work-Based Learning Experience Report to be used to the work site supervisor prior to the start of the paid work-based learning experience.
  22. If the paid work-based learning experience is being done within VR, please submit a Request Temporary Access form. 
  23. Instruct work-based learning experience site supervisor where and when to submit Work- Based Learning Experience Time Sheets.
  24. VR specialist will provide general supervision of the paid work-based learning experience as agreed upon with the work-based learning experience site supervisor.
  25. Process Work- Based Learning Experience Time Sheets
    • The work-based learning experience site supervisor should send the Work- Based Learning Experience Time Sheet to the VR specialist by the due date/time on the Bi-Weekly Payroll Schedule in order to pay the client according to the Bi-Weekly Payroll Schedule. 
    • Specialist signs the Work- Based Learning Experience Time Sheets verifying the hours worked and approving payment and gives to the Associate
    • Associate must verify:
      • Signature of student, work-based learning experience site supervisor and specialist are on the timesheet .
      • Dates of student, work-based learning experience site supervisor and specialist are dated on or after the last day worked.
      • All data on the timesheet is legible.
      • Time worked has been converted into decimal hours (Time Conversion Chart).
      • Calculations are correct
  26. Associate makes a payment in QE2 by entering the number of hours worked and rate per hour from the timesheet. QE2 automatically figures FICA;
    • Once payment is made in QE2, Associate emails the timesheet to NDE Central Accounting (nde.centralaccounting@nebraska.gov) using WBLE Timesheet- First Initial+LastName in the subject line;
    • NDE Central Accounting verifies that the payment information entered in QE2 matches the timesheet submitted and exports for payment on the next bi-weekly payroll;
    • If there is a discrepancy between the timesheet and QE2, or errors on the timesheet that need to be resolved, NDE Central Accounting staff will contact the VR associate on the timesheet;
    • If changes are needed, the Associate will delete the invoice in QE2 and re-enter with the correct information. Invoices in QE2 can be deleted as long as Central Accounting has not processed (exported) the invoice for payment;
    • Timesheets emailed or entered in QE2 after the due date/time on the BI-Weekly Payroll schedule will be held for the next bi-weekly payroll;
    • Once invoices have been exported by NDE Central Accounting for payment, the bi-weekly date (e.g. (BW-10/24/2018) will display as the Batch # on the invoice in QE2.

The paid work-based learning experience results are verbally provided by the business to the VR Specialist or their designee at a minimum of once per month. The VR Specialist or designee will complete the Work-Based Learning Experience Report. This includes the business’s ratings of the student for Unsatisfactory, Developing, Average, Above Average and Exceeds.

Changes to a Paid Work- Based Learning Experience

      A. Additional hours - if additional hours are added to a paid work-based learning experience beyond what was on the original authorization and Work- Based Learning Experience Information Form (not to exceed 210 hours), complete a new authorization in QE2 for the additional hours.

     B.   Extending end date - if the end date of a paid work-based learning experience needs to be extended, extend the end date on the original authorization in QE2 to the new end date.

NOTE: Central Accounting does not need to be notified of date extensions or additional hours added to an existing work-based learning experience.

New Paid Work-Based Learning Experience

      If a student is starting a new paid work-based learning experience (different experience), all of the paperwork must be redone and submitted via email to NDE HR (NDE.HR@nebraska.gov).

Process Completion or Termination of a Paid Work-Based Learning Experience:

  • Confirm completion or termination of paid work-based learning experience with work-based learning experience site supervisor and student.
  • Notify Associate of paid work-based learning experience completion or termination.
  • Associate verifies that all time sheets have been accounted for and then e-mails NDE HR (nde.hr@nebraska.gov) by using first intial.last name followed by termination/completion date in the subject line followed by "WBLE Ended".  Associate should include the Employee number from the Basic Information-Personal tab in QE2 in the body of the email.
  • Enter a task note in QE2 when the paid work-based learning experience has ended or terminated. 
  • Enter information from the Pre-Employment Work-Based Learning Experience Report in the Vocational Evaluation section Trial Work Experience, On-the-Job Evaluation or Work-Based Learning Observations section for full summary.  Include:
    • Evidence how well the objectives were met.
    • Discuss workplace readiness and job exploration. 
    • Identify 'Next Step' actions(s) when possible.  ​​​​​

Work-Based Learning Experiences Arranged Through a Summer Contract

  • May be set up on an employer's payroll, rather than NDE's and costs reimbursed to the contractor.
  •  Once reimbursement has been made, the cost of the work-based learning experience will be charged back to the case.  

Non-Paid Work Based Learning Experience 

1. Determine the need for a non-paid work-based learning experience. These experiences are meant to engage, motivate and augment the learning process for students with a disability.

2. Locate a business who is willing and able to provide a work-based learning site for a non-paid work-based learning experience.

Utilize the Employer Database in QE2 to find business partners. Staff should also work with the area Business Account Manager. 

3. Negotiate the essential details of the non-paid work-based learning experience (start and end dates, evaluation schedule, knowledge, skills, abilities and/ or behaviors to be evaluated and the agreed upon level of general supervision by VR).

Provide business a copy of the Volunteer/Non-Paid Accident Coverage Letter if requested.

4. Enter the Pre-Employment Transition Service, work- based learning experience, in QE2. 

5. Complete the Consent for a Non-paid Work-Based Learning Experience Form and obtain signature of the student and authorized representative and a VR staff.

6. Complete paperwork per these instructions.

• Prepare the Work-Based Learning Letter Checklist and Work Based Learning Letter-Unpaid.

• Give Work Based Learning Letter-Unpaid to the work-based learning experience site supervisor prior to the start of the non-paid work-based learning experience.

• Work- based learning experience site supervisor will provide verbal feedback on student’s performance at least monthly, and the VR Specialist or designee will document the information on the Work-Based Learning Experience Report form.

• If a non-paid work-based learning experience is being done within VR, please submit "Request Temporary Access" form.

7. VR specialist will provide general supervision of the non-paid work-based learning experience as agreed upon with the work-based learning experience site supervisor.

8. Confirm completion or termination of non-paid work-based learning experience with work-based learning site and student.

9. Enter a task note in QE2 when the non-paid work-based learning experience is completed or terminated. Reference Vocational Evaluation report, WBLE Observations section for full summary. 

Enter information from the Pre-Employment Work-Based Learning Experience Report in the Vocational Evaluation section Trial Work Experience, On-the-Job Evaluation or Work-Based Learning Observations section for full summary.  Include:

  • Evidence how well the objectives were met.
  • Discuss workplace readiness and job exploration. 
  • Identify 'Next Step" actions(s) when possible.

 

Pre-Employment Transition Services Work Based Learning Experience Report

 VR staff are responsible for completing this document. If a worksite skills trainer or someone at the work site prefers to fill it out, document that preference and follow up to inquire further, ensuring VR is getting detailed and usable feedback.

Pre-Employment Transition Services Consent for a Non-paid Work Based Learning Experience
Pre-Employment Transition Services Consent for a Paid Work Based Learning Experience (14-15 y.o.)
Pre-Employment Transition Services Consent for a Paid Work Based Learning Experience (14-15 y.o.) Spanish
Pre-Employment Transition Services Consent for a Paid Work Based Learning Experience (16+ y.o.)
Pre-Employment Transition Services Consent for a Paid Work Based Learning Experience (16+ y.o.) Spanish
Pre-Employment Transition Services Consent for Non-paid Work Based Learning Experience Spanish
Pre-Employment Transition Services Work-Based Learning Experience Information
Pre-Employment Transition Services Work-Based Learning Experience Information Spanish
Pre-Employment Transition Services Work-Based Learning Experience (WBLE) Checklist
Pre-Employment Transition Services Work-Based Learning Experience Report
Pre-Employment Transition Services Work Based Learning Letter-Paid
Pre-Employment Transition Services Work Based Learning Letter-Unpaid
Volunteer/Non-Paid Accident Coverage
Request for Certificate of Self-Insurance
Direct Deposit Enrollment
Focus Card Enrollment Form
Pre-Employment Transition Services Work-Based Learning Experience Information Spanish
Pre-Employment Transition Services Work-Based Learning Experience Report
Pre-Employment Transition Services Work Based Learning Letter-Paid
Pre-Employment Transition Services Work Based Learning Letter-Unpaid
Work-Based Learning Experience (WBLE) Timesheet
Request Temporary Access
I-9 Checklist
I-9 Form & Information
W-4N Employee’s Nebraska Withholding Allowance Certificate
W-4 Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate
Incident/Accident/Injury Report for Clients & Applicants
2024 OJE/TWE/WBLE Bi-weekly Payroll Schedule
On-Line Access to Pay Stub
On-line Access to Pay Stub-Spanish

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