Work-Based Learning helps student gain work experience at Gaston College

The Work-Based Learning program at Gaston College allows students to gain hands-on experience and connect with professionals in their career field while earning college credit. In effect, the company worksite becomes the classroom, where a student sets and completes measurable learning objectives or goals to work toward over the course of the semester.

The WBL program offers advantages to students and the companies that hire them. Students gain an understanding of the companies’ culture, improve soft skills such as communication and teamwork, and learn about the world of work.

Companies that hire WBL students reap many benefits:women attending a job fair

  • Students are introduced to company policies, work ethics, requirements and operations.
  • Companies can evaluate a prospective employee’s aptitudes and capabilities before making a long-term commitment.
  • Professional staff can focus on higher-level work, while assigning less-complex projects and tasks to the WBL student.
  • Personnel recruitment costs are reduced.
  • Students become ambassadors for the company.
  • The program presents the opportunity for industry to become a partner in the educational process

Dixie Meeks was hired at the Lincoln County Department of Social Services after her first several days of interning there as a WBL student. As an Income Maintenance Case Worker, Meeks helps with the department’s subsidized childcare program. Meeks is working toward her degree in the Health and Human Services program at Gaston College. “I am very thankful for the opportunities given me with both the Work-Based Learning program and the facility that I was placed in,” she said. “I am learning a lot of technical things, such as documentation and client interaction, that I will need in my career. I am looking forward to what’s ahead.”

People attending a job fair

“Work-Based Learning is a great opportunity for our students, and it becomes a working interview for our employers,” said Joy Morrow, Work-Based Learning and Placement Job Developer and Coordinator. “Students get practical hands-on work experience, and employers get to see the students’ work ethic and skill set before making a permanent commitment to hire. I take pride in helping make the perfect match between the student and the employer, and it is very rewarding when a student is hired permanently through their WBL site.”

Employers interested in hosting WBL students can post current employment needs on College Central Network, the Gaston College online job board, at Gaston College students and alumni can upload their resumes to this job board as well.

For additional information about the Work-Based Learning Program, visit or contact Joy Morrow at or 704-922-6360.


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