Cooperative Education - Student + Employer + College
You can view the Frequently Asked Questions PowerPoint or browse the questions below.
What is Cooperative Education?
It is called “Cooperative Education” because the program establishes a three-way relationship between the student, the college, and the employer. This structured relationship allows students to create short-and long-range career goals and to recognize his/her progress by establishing three measurable learning objectives 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.
How do I qualify for Coop Ed?
You 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, at an accredited college or university.
How do I earn my 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.
What are "Learning Objectives"?
Learning Objectives are the goals developed between you and your supervisor on the job that must be completed by you no later than the date specified which is near the end of the semester. You and your supervisor should discuss and decide on what three objectives you are to accomplish by the due date. Each objective needs to take between 16-20 hours to complete. These objectives will form the basis for the grade your supervisor will be asked to give you at the end of the semester. These proposed objectives must be submitted at the time of the initial meeting with the Coop. Ed. instructor. Once your objectives have been approved, you will be given an Agreement for you and your supervisor to sign. Once signed, this Agreement must be returned within one week during regular office hours.
What are these units good for? What is the difference between major units and general units?
Cooperative Education units are used as elective units in your major if your job is related to your major. If your job is unrelated to your major, the units you earn are considered General units. These units can be used to complete required number of units to graduate and / or complete general education requirements. Example: You need 62 units to graduate. You've completed all required classes and you only have 56 units. You' re short 6 units. 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?
These units are transferable only to the CSU system. California State Universities (Northridge, Fresno, etc.)
How many units can I transfer?
If the units earned are major related, you can transfer up to 12 units. If you earned General units you can transfer up to 6 units.
How do you determine the number of units I qualify for?
The total hours worked determines how many units you qualify for. If your job is related to your major the most units you can earn in one semester is 4. Working 75 to 149 hours total for the semester would get you 1 unit; 150 to 224 hours total = 2 units; 225 to 299 hours total = 3 units; 300 + hours total = 4 units. If your job is unrelated and you're earning General units, the most you can get for the semester is 3. The same schedule applies as above. Internship / Volunteer positions: The total hours worked determines the number of units you qualify for. Working 60 to 119 hours total earns you one (1) unit. 120 to 179 hours total = 2 units; 180 to 239 hours total = 3 units; 240 + hours total = 4 units.
How do you determine if the units will be in my major?
If your job is in or related to your declared major you will earn units in your major. Skills learned must be directly applicable to major.
What happens if I quit or get fired?
If you've completed your three objectives you will still get a grade but the units applied for may be affected by the loss of hours and a Section Transfer may be required to finalize your grade. If you haven't completed the objectives then there is no basis for a grade so you may have to drop the class. Remember to inform the Coop. Ed. office of any changes in employment.
What if I get a new supervisor?
Inform our office of the change and make sure the new supervisor is aware of the program and what your objectives are so that when the visitation and evaluation take place your supervisor will know about it.
What if I get a new job?
Inform our office of the change. If you've completed the objectives with your former employer then all you have to do is come in and fill out an application with your new employment information so that the hours will still accumulate. Otherwise we will only total the hours worked at your former job. If you haven't completed the objectives, you will need to set up one to three new ones depending upon if you have completed any objectives with previous employer. Please let us know of any changes so that the evaluation and visitation will be done at the proper location.
How do you know if I was at a seminar?
There will be a sign-in sheet passed around in the beginning of the seminar. Your signature is proof that you were there. If you forget to sign, we will not give you credit for it. Students who arrive late to a seminar will not be let in. If you leave before a seminar is over, you will not get credit.
This is my second (third, fourth) time taking Coop. Ed. Do I still have to attend the seminars?
No. If you have already taken the seminars as a first time Coop. Ed. student, then, as a repeat Coop. Ed. student you have a written assignment to turn in. You 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: if you were a first time Coop. Ed. student in the summer, then the seminars must be taken when you enroll in Coop. Ed. for the second time, since the seminars were not offered during the summer session.
What if I had an "incomplete" the previous semester and I want to enroll as a second timer?
You would have to make up what you need to take care of the incomplete, meanwhile you can sign up as a repeat student and get that paperwork taken care of.
Can I 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.
If an individual volunteers in a part of a nonprofit which is commercial and that serves the public, such as stores or restaurants, the DOL does not recognize them as volunteers for FLSA purposes.