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INFORMATION FOR PROGRAM FACILITATORS

Most colleges or universities already offer some type of established internship or cooperative education program in partnership with local industry. For community colleges, these programs often reflect the more traditional mission of these institutions—to meet workforce training and retraining needs of business and industry through certificate or terminal two-year degree credentials leading to immediate employment. As such, many of the participating employers originate from industries such as automotive technology, electronics, manufacturing, industrial trades, welding or technical design.

Over time and in response to persistent economic challenges, community colleges have evolved into a cost-effective first step for students who are pursuing a baccalaureate or post-baccalaureate education. The Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges reports that in 2010-11, two-year colleges provided the initial education for 41 percent of students receiving bachelor’s degrees and 38 percent of students receiving bachelor’s degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering or Math fields. To address the experiential learning needs of these transfer students, existing experiential learning programs often need to be expanded or reinvigorated to encourage greater and more varied employer and student participation.

As a college or university representative interested in developing or expanding similar experiential learning opportunities, two references developed as part of the Washington STEM Experiential Learning Program may be useful.

Washington STEM Experiential Learning Program Guidelines

The Washington STEM Experiential Learning Program Guidelines (Carson, Sedillo and Priddis 2013) are intended for use by employers, students, and program facilitators. Following a brief discussion of how to use this guide, the Guidelines detail considerations before an internship, step-by-step instructions for participation, and responsibilities during and after an internship for all participants. The Guidelines also include copies of all supporting forms and outreach materials to support day-to-day program management and operation.

FORMS

  1. Student Profile Form (Word)
  2. Employer Profile Form (Word)
  3. Biweekly Reporting Form (Word)
  4. Learning Objectives Form (Word)
  5. Participation Agreement Form (Word)
  6. Student-based Evaluation Form (Word)
  7. Employer-based Evaluation Form (Word)

The Guidelines assume that foundational program development and/or expansion efforts have already been completed. If this is not the case, additional guidance for Program Facilitators regarding program development and/or expansion is included in a companion document, Washington STEM Best Practices for Experiential Learning Program Development or Expansion (Carson, Sedillo and Priddis 2013).

Washington STEM Best Practices for Experiential Learning Program Development or Expansion

Foundational program development and/or expansion efforts include but are not limited to:

  1. Garnering institutional support
  2. Addressing associated legal considerations
  3. Establishing program logistics and supporting documentation
  4. Identifying and inventorying local industry resources
  5. Establishing documentation, evaluation, and reporting methods

Best practices in support of each of these tasks were identified through a review of published guidance documentation and experiential learning programs at other academic institutions, as well as early observations from the Washington STEM Experiential Learning Program and are fully documented in Washington STEM Best Practices for Experiential Learning Program Development or Expansion (Carson, Sedillo and Priddis 2013). These best practices are largely independent of any unique academic or industry characteristics. Program facilitators who are able to consider and appropriately affect these practices will predictably avoid many previously identified challenges and subsequent delays in the program development or expansion process at their respective academic institution.

Where Can I Learn More?

To learn more, please contact:

    Dr. Jodi L. Carson, Project Lead
    Science & Technology Bldg., Room 108
    T: 360.475.7499 or jcarson@olympic.edu

Rev.: July 7, 2014 Karen Osborn