Cooperative education or internships are academic programs combining classroom theories with on-the-job learning applications (also known as experiential learning). Students are awarded credit for the demonstration of learning which occurs in and throughout the work experience. Experiential learning is developed through learning contracts by the student in collaboration with a faculty mentor and a community based supervisor.
What is cooperative education/internships?Cooperative education or an internship is an academic program combining classroom theories with real on-the-job applications of learning through work experience. Students are awarded credit not for the work itself, but for the demonstration of learning which occurs in and throughout the work experience. Cooperative education (or co-ops) helps you develop a work history and valuable employer contacts for jobs after graduation.
Why is it important?
Students, in general, retain a percentage of learning through the following methods:
- Hearing/auditory: 13% of data with 80% distortion
- Seeing and hearing: 22% retention of data
- Experience and doing: 82% retention of data
- Teaching: 91% retention of data
Therefore experiential and cooperative learning are critical elements of your successful educational process. Our philosophy of student development is to empower students to develop skills that will carry them successfully through the many changes in their lives and careers after college. See the Whatcom Community College mission statement where you'll find the affirmation of inclusion. Cooperative education serves as the integration place for the core learning abilities listed as essential learnings by the College.
Why should a student take cooperative education?
- To test their career choice prior to graduation and transfer
- To gain practical on-the-job training in their major
- To be more competitive in transferring into their degree program at a university or upon entering the job market
- To gain the necessary entry level professional skills to be employable
- To build a portfolio representative of their career goals and documents their skills and accomplishments in the field
- To complete a professional-technical degree or certificate at Whatcom Community College
How do I sign up for a seminar?
Meet with an advisor or read the course schedule for the appropriate quarter. Below is a common list of choices:
- Business and paralegal (paralegal separate in spring quarter)
- Education (transfer or education para-professional students)
- General (for various majors including students with conflicts with other timed sections)
- Early Childhood Education (ECED)
- Computer Information Systems (CIS)
- Visual Communications
- Environmental Studies, Sustainability, Biology and related sciences
- Individual coursework across the curriculum
- Section E: TBA (to be arranged) for students with conflicts with ALL other times or working individually with a specific discipline faculty member
If you are registered in a technical-professional program, check with your Program advisor about when and where to set up your cooperative education/internship. You must obtain approval by your program advisor.
What is Co-op 180 (Preparing for Career Work Experience)?Co-op 180 prepares students to develop and perform in a career-relevant internship or job placement while heightening their job retention skills. Students will assess their goals and values through research and networking while assessing their employing community. They will learn to complete a professional application process, including resumes, cover letters, and conducting a quality interview for an internship/job. Also, students will analyze and discuss job retention skills from employer and employee perspectives, teamwork and common communication issues in diverse workplaces.
What is work study?
Students eligible for Financial Aid typically are eligible for the work study grant as part of their aid. This allows them a part-time placement on or off campus for the academic year. Visit the Financial Aid Office in Laidlaw Center 135 for more information.
How do I disclose a disability to an employer?Job seekers with disabilities are inevitably faced with the decision of whether to disclose their disability. This is a hotly-debated topic among disability services and career development professionals. However, the decision to disclose, as well as when and how, is ultimately yours. View this document for more information.
What should a student do if interested?
Interested students are encouraged to plan ahead to secure a placement (in terms of co-ops and internships) in their field of study. For more information contact Michelle Heitmann at 360.383.3080, or email firstname.lastname@example.org, who will guide you toward an appropriate career-relevant or life-relevant field placement.