FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Cooperative Education program establishes a three-way relationship between the student, the college, and the employer. This relationship allows students to create short-and long-term career goals and to identify his/her progress by establishing three learning objectives which must be achievable and measurable for the semester. Cooperative Education provides a practical learning model for students and helps them prepare for their future careers through the integration of the on-the-job learning experiences and academic classroom lessons. By integrating both study and work, each area should become more relevant, interesting, and rewarding.
To qualify students must be working or volunteering during the current semester (no credit is available for past experience) and you must be currently enrolled in and complete at least one additional class, which includes Coop Ed, at an accredited college or university.
To earn units all students must learn three (3) new skills at their worksite during the course of the semester. If your job is related to your major and you wish to receive elective credit in your major, your objectives must relate to your major. If your job is not major related, objectives need only be new learning experiences. All 1st time Coop Ed students must attend two (2) seminars offered during the semester. All 2nd, 3rd and 4th time Coop Ed students are given a written assignment that is due near the end of the semester.
Learning Objectives are measurable goals students set for themselves to be accomplished through work experience. The THREE objectives that are set are to be worked out between the student and/or employer/supervisor. These objectives will appear on the rating sheets and the supervisor will determine if the student has met the stated goals. Only ONE supervisor will evaluate the student. Each objective must have four key elements: what is to be accomplished, doing what, how is it to be evaluated and by the completion date. These objectives must be specific, measurable, and limited to a single definite result that is available during the semester. These will reflect new and/or broadening experiences beyond your normal duties.
How are these units counted? What is the difference between major and general units? Cooperative Education units are used as elective units in the student’s major if the student’s job is related to their major. If the job is unrelated to the major, the units a student earns are considered General units. These units can be used to complete the required number of units to graduate and/or complete general education requirements. The General Cooperative Education units you earn can be used to fill in for the units you're short.
Can I transfer these units to a university and how many units can I transfer?
These units are transferable only to the CSU system. California State Universities (Northridge, Fresno, etc.) If the units earned are major related, up to 12 units can be transferred. If the units earned are General Units, up to 6 units can be transferred.
How is the number of units determined? & How is it determined if the units will be in the student’s major? The total hours worked determines how many units a student qualifies for. If the student’s job is related to the major the most units that can be earned in one semester is 4. Working 75 to 149 hours total for the semester would equal to 1 unit; 150 to 224 hours total would equal to 2 units; 225 to 299 hours total would equal to 3 units; 300 + hours total would equal to 4 units. If the student’s job is unrelated and the student is earning General units, the most a student can get for the semester is 3. The same schedule applies as above. For Internship or Volunteer positions the total hours worked determines the number of units a student can qualify for. Working 60 to 119 hours total earns the student one (1) unit; 120 to 179 hours total earns 2 units; 180 to 239 hours total earns 3 units; 240 + hours total earns 4 units.
If the student’s job is in or related to their declared major, the student will earn units in that major. Skills learned must be directly applicable to the major.
What happens if a student quits or gets fired? If the student has completed the three objectives, a grade will be given, but the units applied for may be affected by the loss of hours and a Section Transfer may be required to finalize the student’s grade. If the student hasn't completed the objectives then there is no basis for a grade so the class may have to be dropped.
Note: Remember to inform the Coop. Ed. office of any changes in employment.
What if there is a new supervisor? When a new supervisor is hired, the Coop Ed office must be informed of the change and the new supervisor is aware of the program and what the student’s objectives are so that when the visitation and evaluation take place the supervisor will know about it.
What if the student gets a new job? The Coop Ed office must be informed of the change. If the objectives have been with the former employer then all the student needs to do is come in and fill out an application with the new employment information so that the hours will still accumulate. Otherwise we will only total the hours worked at the former job. If the objectives haven't been completed, the student will need to set up one to three new ones depending upon if anything has been completed with the previous employer.
Note: Please inform the Coop Ed office know of any changes so that the evaluation and visitation will be done at the proper location.
How is seminar attendance determined? There will be a sign-in sheet passed around in the beginning of the seminar. The student’s signature is proof that they were there. If the student forgets to sign, he/she will not get credit for it. Students who arrive late to a seminar will not be let in. If a student leaves before a seminar is over, the students will not get credit.
This is the second (third, fourth) time taking Coop. Ed. Are seminars still mandatory? No. If the students have already taken the seminars as a first time Coop. Ed. student, then, as a repeat Coop. Ed. student there will only be a written assignment to turn in. Though, the student must also complete three new objectives. Everything is the same except a written assignment is due instead of attending the seminars. There is an exception, where, if the student was a first time Coop. Ed. student in the summer, then the seminars must be taken when the student enrolls in Coop. Ed. for the second time, since the seminars were not offered during the summer session.
What if a student had an "incomplete" the previous semester and wants to enroll as a second timer? The student would have to make up what was missed to take care of the incomplete, meanwhile be signed up as a repeat student and get that paperwork taken care of.
Can a student get credit for an internship or volunteer position? Yes. Many employers who have internship positions require students to earn units for them.
What Qualifies as an “Internship?”
According to the Department of Labor, there are six criteria differentiating between an employee and an intern:
- The training, even though it includes actual operations of the facilities of the employers, is similar to that which would be given in a vocational school.
- The training is for the benefit of the student.
- The student does not displace a regular employee, but works under the close observation of a regular employee or supervisor.
- The employer provides the training and derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the student; and on occasion, the operations may actually be impeded by the training.
- The student is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the training period.
- The employer and the student understand that the student is not entitled to wages for the time spent training.
What Qualifies as Volunteerism?
The federal Department of Labor (DOL) Wage and Hour Division has recognized that a person may volunteer time to religious, charitable, civic, humanitarian, or similar non-profit organizations as a public service and not be covered by the FLSA. Such a person volunteers freely for such organizations without compensation or expectation of compensation.
Such activities are described by the DOL as “ordinary volunteerism.” In determining whether an activity is “ordinary volunteerism,” the DOL considers a variety of factors, including:
- Nature of the entity receiving the services (nonprofit, for instance)
- Compensation of any sort (such as money, room & board, perks, etc.)
- Expectations of benefits in the future
- Whether the activity is less than a full-time occupation
- Whether regular employees are displaced
- Whether the services are offered freely without pressure or coercion, and
- Whether the services are of the kind typically associated with volunteer work.