COOPERATIVE WORK EXPERIENCE
Cooperative work experience (CWE) is approved in accordance with requirements and criteria established by CCWD. Procedures for approval of cooperative work experience are the same as for other occupational preparatory or LDC courses. Cooperative work experience is considered to be an integral part of a program of study (associate degree or certificate of completion). Cooperative work experience is expected to be an advanced learning opportunity not an exploratory experience in a career area.
Cooperative work experience courses are approved through each college’s curriculum and program approval processes. An up-to-date course outline is available for each approved CWE course on each college campus. It is recommended that colleges consult the guidelines from the Northwest Commission of Colleges and Universities (http://www.nwccu.org) for “Contractual Relationship with Organizations not Regionally Accredited” as they relate to direct control and CWE.
The goals for each student’s CWE are tied directly to their associate degree or certificate of completion. Community colleges should clearly define roles and expectations for the CWE for the student, instructor, and employer/supervisor. The individual student’s CWE plan includes student learning outcomes and measurable learning objectives. The employer, instructor, and student collaborate in setting and assessing learning objectives. Good monitoring of the student’s CWE plan occurs through periodic instructor visits or contacts at the job site with the employer and the student. Student evaluation of the employer is an important element of CWE.
Career and technical education (CTE) cooperative work experience uses a single numbering system (see the Courses at a Glance page in this Handbook). Credit for CWE is based on CWE as a classroom lab with a 3 to 1 ratio (30-36 clock hours per credit). Credit for CWE Seminar is based on the Seminar as a lecture course with a 1 to 1 ratio (10-12 clock hours per credit). No more than 24 credit hours of Cooperative Work Experience can be applied toward an Associate of Applied Science degree or 12 credit hours for a one-year certificate of completion.
Cooperative work experience may be included as part of a transfer program. In this case, the course must be identified and approved with a course number for the work experience that is related to the program of study. For example, a cooperative work experience included in a journalism course of study would carry a J prefix.
CWE Guidelines and Definitions for FTE Reimbursement Reporting
Report the maximum number of contact hours for CWE congruent with the credits assigned (1 credit for lab/CWE courses = 30 to 36 contact hours depending on the length of the term, e.g. 3 contact hours per week for 11 weeks generates 33 contact hours for 1 credit). A maximum of 12 credit hours per year per student can count for FTE reimbursement. This is consistent with “No more than 24 credit hours of Cooperative Work Experience can be applied toward an Associate of Applied Science degree or 12 credit hours for a one year certificate of completion” that has been in guidance. Occupational Skills Training (OST) Program’s CWE is the only exception to this guidance since OST is based on 50% or more being in the workplace and was approved by the State Board of Education.
If a college has a previously-approved program that required more than 24 credits of CWE for a degree, they may submit a request to the Community Colleges and Workforce Development (CCWD) Director for the program to be an exception to this guideline and definition.