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Cooperative Education Work Experience

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Frequently Asked Questions

How does Cooperative Education Work Experience benefit students?

The goal of Cooperative Education is to strengthen student learning by engaging students in enhanced on-the-job learning experiences and providing meaningful internship opportunities to students of all majors, enabling them to apply the skills and knowledge acquired in their academic coursework while adhering to generally accepted business principles, standards and work ethics.

Some specific benefits for program participants:

  • Gain career-related work experience.
  • Earn general elective college credit.
  • Participate in a paid or non-paid internship.
  • Develop a relationship with potential employers for future employment.
How does Cooperative Education Work Experience benefit employers?
  • Objectives are set forth to reflect expanded job-related responsibilities, which help employers reduce turnover of entry-level employees.
  • Employees/interns are more motivated and goal-oriented.
  • Cooperative Education students are motivated by the employee evaluation earning into college units. [This sentence is unclear. Please clarify.]
  • Employer's benefits obtain qualified applicants. [This sentence is somewhat unclear too.]
How do I qualify for the Cooperative Education Work Experience program?

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 Cooperative Education, at an accredited college or university.

How do I 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 Cooperative Education students must attend three (3) seminars offered during the semester. [Is this number correct? Or are three seminars required, as stated on the current "Mission" page?] All 2nd, 3rd, and 4th time Cooperative Education students are given a written assignment that is due near the end of the semester.

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.

Can I transfer these units to a university and how many units can I transfer?

These units are transferable only to the California State University (CSU) system. 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? And 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 their major, the most units that can be earned in one semester are 4.

  • Working 75 to 149 hours total for the semester would equal 1 unit.
  • 150 to 224 hours total would equal 2 units.
  • 225 to 299 hours total would equal 3 units.
  • 300 + hours total would equal 4 units.

If the student’s job is unrelated to their major and the student is earning General units, the most a student can get for the semester is 3 units. 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 and the class may have to be dropped.

Note: Remember to inform the Cooperative Education office of any changes in employment.

What if there is a new supervisor?

When a new supervisor is hired, the Cooperative Education office must be informed of the change. The new supervisor must be made aware of the program and what the student’s objectives are so that he/she will be prepared for the visitation and evaluation.

What if the student gets 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.

Note: Please inform the Cooperative Education office 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 at 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 my second (third, fourth) time taking Cooperative Education. Are seminars still mandatory?

No. If the student has already taken the seminars as a first-time Cooperative Education student, then, as a repeat Cooperative Education student there will only be a written assignment to turn in. However, 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 Cooperative Education student in the summer, then the seminars must be taken when the student enrolls in Cooperative Education 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. The student must 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:

  1. 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.
  2. The training is for the benefit of the student.
  3. The student does not displace a regular employee, but works under the close observation of a regular employee or supervisor.
  4. 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.
  5. The student is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the training period.
  6. 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 Fair Labor Standards Act (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
  • 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.

 Contact Us

Juliana Medina
Program Director
AD 320A
(323) 953-4000 ext. 1522
medinaj@lacitycollege.edu

 Office Hours

Monday & Wednesday: 10am - 3pm
Tuesday: Site visits
Friday: Closed

Walk-in registration on Wednesdays.

Otherwise, please call the office to make an appointment.

Los Angeles City College | 855 N. Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles California 90029

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Phone: 323.953.4000

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Emergency: 323.953.2911