Unpaid Work Experience

Unpaid work experiences help a student gain real job experience in the community without the pressures that may come from being hired for a specific job position. While it may not sound appealing to a student to work for free, unpaid work experiences may help a student gain experience in their field of interest more readily than finding a paid job.

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How Can Adults Support Unpaid Work Experiences?

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A student’s transition team can help with finding unpaid work experiences by:

  • Working with the student to explore opportunities
  • Teaching the student how to succeed in an interview
  • Helping the student create and update a resume before and after each experience
  • Serving as mentors and being involved with the student during the work experiences
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Find out more about how to create internship opportunities with employers!

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The Benefits of Internships As Unpaid Work Experiences

Internships are unique experiences in which students can work for free in fields that interest them and where they may eventually want to be hired. Internships can provide students with:

  • Mentorship with professionals
  • Real-world training
  • Experience in a field of interest
  • Opportunities for social interactions
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What Can Unpaid Work Experiences Do For Students?

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

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Career Exploration

An opportunity for the student to explore careers based on their interests and to discover career options available to them.

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Career Skills

Build the social skills, interviewing skills, and task management skills a student will need for jobs in the future.

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Real Networking

Meeting people in the workplace who can help the student learn about future career options and help them obtain paid employment.

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Job Experience

Having real-world job experience for the student’s resume upon graduation from high school.

Career Interested


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



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