Paid Work Experience

Paid Work Experiences help students explore careers while learning important life skills including responsibility, planning tasks, and money management. Paid work experiences also help students gain professional experience, network with employers, and learn new job skills, which increase students’ chances of being hired in more advanced jobs down the road. Students can learn they are worth being paid for their skills.

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What Do Paid Work Experiences include?

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Adults can help students prepare for Paid Work Experiences by:

  • Assisting in career exploration
  • Practicing interview skills, social skills, and workplace skills
  • Offering classes that teach career skills
  • Providing opportunities for training focused specific job tasks
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Let’s take a look at one student’s experience with paid work-based learning

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How Can OVR Help Students Gain Paid Work Experience?

OVR (Office of Vocational Rehabilitation) assists students in obtaining paid work experiences and provides them with opportunities to explore careers and understand the nature of work through first-hand exposure to the workplace. Experiences may include in-school or after school opportunities and are provided in an integrated environment to the maximum extent possible. Paid work experiences have many benefits.

  • Students gain knowledge and skills to help them connect school to work activities and future career opportunities
  • Students are engaged directly through employer or community involvement
  • Students receive paychecks either directly by the employer or through a stipend
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What Can Paid Work Experiences Do For Students?

When a student participates in a Paid Work Experience, they will gain:

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Career Exploration

Students have the opportunity to explore careers based on their interests and preferences, allowing them to see what job options are available and to create goals for the steps needed to obtain that career while receiving a paycheck.

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Career Skills

By working together with peers and professionals, students are able to build the social skills, interviewing skills, and management skills needed for jobs in the future.

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Networking Opportunities

Connecting to peers, teachers, and professionals allows students to make connections with people who can help them get hired in more advanced jobs in the future.

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Advanced Jobs

Successfully obtaining and maintaining a job will allow students to practice and increase work skills, which can lead to advanced jobs and promotions.

Featured Resources

The PA Community on Transition offers resources on a variety of topics, all focused on improving outcomes for students with disabilities.

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Check out PA Department of Education’s resources for career development.



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