State & National Co-op Guidelines


Guidelines Governing Community-Based Learning (Section 4.80.01)
Cooperative Work Experience is classified in the State Board for Community College Education policy manual in the Course Coding Section (4.80.00) as a form of Community-Based Learning. Community-Based Learning (Section 4.80.01) is defined as any instructional mode or program that integrates the resources of the campus and the community in order to provide students with supervised learning experiences in an employment setting that relates to their educational and/or career objectives.

Cooperative Work Experience is recognized as an instructional mode for both technical and academic programs.

Guidelines for Use Prior to Student Placement

(a) All community-based learning shall be under the direct supervision of the community college.

(b) The college and the community-based training station supervisor must ensure that students participating in community-based learning situations will not displace regular employees doing comparable work and that the employer will comply with applicable state and federal minimum wage laws for all compensable positions. (See "Non-Displacement of Workers, "WASHINGTON STATE PLAN FOR VOCATIONAL EDUCATION, and "Advisory Committees for Vocational Programs, "SBCCE STANDARD POLICY AND PROCEDURES MANUAL 4.21.00.)

(c) Prior to placement, the student should meet the prerequisites established by each department or obtain permission from a faculty advisor.

(d) A written agreement shall be drawn between each participating training station, the student, and the community college. Such agreements shall stipulate the respective responsibilities and the conditions under which the learning experiences will take place, as well as identify the student's goal and work experiences needed to achieve that goal. The agreement should be signed by the training station supervisor, the coordinator and the student.

(e) A student may receive both credit and monetary reimbursement for relevant educational experiences acquired at the training station.

(f) The following shall apply to all students enrolled in programs utilizing the Cooperative Work Experience method of instruction.

(i) The student shall receive at least the minimum hourly wage as established by the United States Department of Labor and the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries for all compensable positions.

(ii) The student shall be covered under State Industrial Insurance or other applicable insurance against injury incurred at the training station.

(iii) The student shall not be placed in hazardous work except as the placement conforms to minimum age requirements for such work.

(g) The instructor-coordinator shall ensure that at least two on-site visits occur per quarter and that conferences and/or seminars are held for at least the equivalent of two hours per week.

Guidelines Pertaining to Program Administration
(a) Student placement should be coordinated by staff with expertise in the area of instruction. The ratio of students to coordinator should be such as to ensure quality of experiences in the respective programs.

(b) Special training and workshops for instructor-coordinators are encouraged.

Guidelines Concerning Student Supervision and Evaluation
(a) The instructor-coordinator should meet regularly with the student(s) in conferences or in seminars at agreed upon times and regularly participate in on-site visits.

(b) Grading procedures should be predetermined, be based on the evaluation of the training station supervisor and the instructor-coordinator, and the evaluation kept by the instructor-coordinator.