Have You Heard of the Cooperative Education Program?

Have You Heard of the Cooperative Education Program?

According to a study conducted by UCLA, “more freshmen than ever say they go to college to get better jobs (and) make more money.” Unfortunately many college students and graduates who apply for jobs run into a common problem: they lack work experience. It seems like this is a Catch-22; you go to school to get a good job, but you can’t get a good job because you don’t have work experience because you went to school!

Fortunately, many colleges understand this predicament and VVC is no exception! Did you know there was a Cooperative Education program here at VVC? Do you even know what that is? To answer these burning questions I conducted an interview via email with Marianne Kuhns, one of the administrators of the Cooperative Education program.

What is the cooperative education program?

“The Cooperative Education program is an instructional program that provides students the opportunity to earn elective and transferable college credit for their work experience,” said Kuhns. “They can earn these units either through their current employment or through an internship partner in various fields (depending on availability).” This means that a student at our school could potentially earn college credit from their current job or by obtaining an internship via VVC by enrolling in the Cooperative Education program!

Why should someone consider interning?

“Interning can be very valuable to students because it (1) gets them experience in their field of study or interest, (2) gives students the potential to get hired at the end of their internship (depending on the employer), (3) provides students the opportunity to gain references if employment at their internship is not possible or available, and (4) gives students a chance to work collaboratively with their supervisor and the instructor to hone specific skills in their field prior to going out into the workforce, or to earn a promotion at their job.”

What internships does VVC currently offer? If none, what internships has VVC offered in the past?

“Currently the internship partners we have are Desert Valley Hospital for nursing students, and a Fire Reserve internship for Fire Technology students,” said Kuhns. “In the past we have offered internships through the Valley Hi Auto Group, Desert Valley Hospital, various Fire Departments, City of Victorville, and various local business or law offices.”

Any advice or final words for current students at VVC?

“Cooperative Education can be extremely valuable to our VVC students who are already working,” said Kuhns. “Students can take up to 16 of their 21 elective units through our program without attending another in-person elective course that they may not have interest in, which benefits working students’ because they can learn new skills, and earn transferable college units, while at the job they already attend.”

The Cooperative Education program at VVC is near and dear to my heart because I utilized this program when I was nearing the completion of my first associate degree but still struggling to get a decent job. Thanks to the Cooperative Education program, I was able to obtain an internship with a federal agency and learned a lot of new skills, gained work experience, made many new contacts who were willing to provide me with letters of recommendation, and was eventually offered a well-paying position there!

I highly recommend that all students consider enrolling into the Cooperative Education program because it was a unique opportunity that really changed my life for the better!

You can contact the Cooperative Education Office at (760) 245-4271, ext. 2281, or email marianne.kuhns@vvc.edu.