What is Cooperative Work Experience (CWE)?
CWE classes are Work Experience courses related to specific occupational disciplines offered at Saddleback College. Students earn school credit for the training received during employment in the position related to their academic studies. Students can earn a total of 16 CWE units in their academic lifetime. Most often, 1-4 units are offered each semester. (Click here for the CA Education Code Title V that regulates CWE)
At Saddleback College, each CTE program manages CWE a bit differently. Some provide CWE as a capstone course to a certificate or degree. Some accept CWE on an individual basis. Some offer CWE during the Summer and others do not. If you have a question about this, contact the Department Chair in the academic program of your internship.
Benefits of CWE
- CWE helps students become more effective and productive employees entering the workforce
- CWE helps reduce the cost to employers to build a highly trained and skilled workforce
- Students completing internships get hired more frequently and stay with employers longer
- For unpaid CWE experiences, the college covers Worker's Compensation for student/workers.
CWE Employer Requirements
- Assist student in setting objectives that can be accomplished on-the-job during the 16- week semester.
- Evaluate how well students attain the objectives at the end of the semester, as the course grade will reflect this evaluation.
- Cooperate with the assigned college instructor in determining appointments for the two job-site visitations, in order to discuss the student's job-oriented learning objectives and the evaluation of those objectives.
Additionally, CWE employers or designated representative must:
- Agree with the intent and purposes of Cooperative Work Experience Education for students
- Offer a reasonable probability of continuous work experience for students during the current work experience enrollment term.
- Agree to provide adequate supervision, facilities, equipment, and materials at the learning stations to achieve on-the-job learning objectives.
- As required by law, agree to comply with all appropriate federal and state employment regulations.
What are Internships and can they be paid or unpaid?
- For information on UNPAID INTERNSHIPS/CWE, review the Federal Guidelines on Internships: Will your experience meet the 6 criterion?
- Looking to pay an intern a stipend - check out this Payscale.com blog.
- California Department of Labor Standards Enforcement Opinion Paper referencing internships and student stipends.
- Department of Labor's Full-Time Student Program.
When do the internships start and end?
CWE is offered during Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters. We offer a full semester 16 week option and a 2nd 8 week option for CWE. (Some programs only offer CWE as a capstone to their program certificate or degree) For details on start/end dates, please refer to our Academic Calendar.
How many hours do students need to work in CWE?
*** STUDENTS ARE ADVISED TO CONSULT WITH THEIR CWE EMPLOYER BEFORE REGISTERING FOR CWE TO DETERMINE THE TOTAL NUMBER OF HOURS TO BE WORKED DURING THE EXPERIENCE.
*** STUDENTS ARE REQUIRED TO WORK THE AMOUNT OF HOURS REQUIRED FOR THE NUMBER OF CWE UNITS THEY REGISTER FOR. EXAMPLE: A student that registers for a 2 Unit Unpaid CWE course must complete 150 hours with the CWE employer by the end of the experience.
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