Washington high school students can get academic credit for paid work
About one-third of Washington State high school students work in paid jobs in addition to their studies.
A new program through the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction would honor that work experience with college credit.
Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdahl recently announced that students 16 years of age and older can earn up to four elective credits toward their degree through their employment. Students can choose any job as long as it is paid and verified by the school.
Reykdahl says students learn important lessons on the job.
“Through work experience, students learn employability and leadership skills – skills such as interpersonal communication, personal finance, time management, taking direction, receiving critical feedback, and fulfillment of commitments – which support their long-term success in the workplace and in life,” said Reykdal.
Under the proposal, students would earn elective credits through their work — 360 hours of work would equal one elective credit, or 0.5 credit for 180 hours. A student could earn up to four credits this way. No more than two credits may be earned in a single year.
Chetan Soni is going to be a junior at Lincoln Highschool and works part-time as a member of the Alliance for Gun Responsibility. He is excited about the program and says getting credit for his work would help.
“I know it can be difficult to balance school, life and work,” Soni said. “I think it’s a great way (to) reinforce that with the new generation of workers.”
Some business owners say the program could encourage more students to work at a time when many are facing staff shortages.
The superintendent aims to set up the program for the start of the 2023 school year.