Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Education (Ph.D)


Administrative and Instructional Leadership

First Advisor

Anthony J Annunziato

Second Advisor

Joan I Birringer-Haig

Third Advisor

Richard Bernato


The purpose of this research was to explore the various types and components of work-based learning experiences (WBLE), best practices, and the special education students’ outcomes in a suburban public high school located outside of a large metropolitan area. Students with disabilities (SWD) have a difficult time transitioning postsecondary, and acquiring and maintaining employment in a competitive global working environment. Due to their diverse needs, it became quite complex to match their abilities, interests, and preferences to the appropriate job experiences. In addition, this population needed to acquire not only appropriate job and career related skills but the essential 21st century universal soft skill/employability skills. This study explored the plethora of WBLE programs ranging from career exploration to paid experiences. It viewed and discussed the components and best practices implemented in order to increase the success of the programs and the students’ outcomes. Most relevantly, the study reflected on the converging of both quantitative and qualitative data to provide a full understanding of the program. It discussed the importance of incorporating WBLE components with special education best practices. The research presented and discussed the development of the programs, practices, and outcomes as time progressed and as districts developed and reflected upon the various work-based learning experiences. The essential results of this study determined that there existed a wealth of programs available for districts to individualize for their particular populations. In addition, there were best practices that could be implemented that increased the success of the programs. The various outcomes related to each of the programs determined the success of the work-based learning experiences for the students. It was imperative to note that the individualization of the programs was relevant to the outcome for the students. Research in this field was imperative, especially considering that students with disabilities needed to increase their abilities to succeed once they transition from their high school years. Districts needed to recognize the essential role that Work Based Learning Experience program play in the education process for students with disabilities and ultimately their postsecondary outcomes.