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What is Work Experience?

Cooperative Work Experience Education is an important component of the education and training that students receive at College of the Desert. Work Experience courses enable students to integrate their classroom-based learning into a real work environment. Students earn an academic grade while working in their current paid/unpaid, part-time/full-time position. By enrolling in a Work Experience course, students will participate in experiential learning activities that will enhance their learning and strengthen effective work habits. Additionally, this unique experience provides students an opportunity to be coached and mentored by a faculty member as a subject matter expert in the field of study.

Students may earn a combined maximum total of up to 16 Work Experience units/credits during the entire student's tenure at College of the Desert. Units earned in Work Experience count towards College of the Desert's AA degree as electives (some Majors may require Work Experience; others may count towards Major electives). All Work Experience units are transferable to the California State University system (CSU), but not the University of California (UC) system. Some private institutions may accept Work Experience units.

Students can enroll in a General or Occupational Work Experience course via WebAdvisor based on their educational goal and current job-related duties:

General Work Experience

(WEG, XXX-095A) is for students who currently have a position that does not directly align with their educational/occupational goal. This course is designed to help students develop individual career and workplace awareness. Students may earn up to six (6) credits maximum per semester. Students are required to complete a minimum of 75 hours per unit for paid positions or 60 hours per unit for un-paid positions.

Occupational Work Experience

(i.e. AUTO-095A, AGEH-095A, CDE-095A, etc.) is for students who currently have a position that aligns directly with their educational occupational goal. Students may earn up to eight (8) credits maximum per semester. Students are required to complete a minimum of 75 hours per unit for paid positions or 60 hours per unit for un-paid positions.

Student Benefits

  • Receive CSU transferable college credit
  • Enhance current resume
  • Learn and improve employment skills
  • Apply classroom theory to real job experiences
  • Develop a better understanding of core job functions in the field of study
  • Gain a better understanding of human relations in the workplace
  • Network with professionals
  • Apply 21st-century employability skills

What to Expect Out of a Work Experience Class

The Work Experience Class is a non-traditional class. Students will meet a total of four (4) times during the course; two on campus with their Work Experience Instructor, and two at the student’s job site with their Work Experience Instructor and supervisor. During the course, students will develop and work on three (3) S.M.A.R.T. goals/objectives in addition to current job expectations and requirements.

Students will also be expected to apply the 21st-century Employability Skills listed below within their work environment. At the end of the course, the student’s supervisor will have an opportunity to evaluate/grade the student on the completion of the three S.M.A.R.T. goals/objectives and application of 21st-century Employability Skills.

  1. Adaptability
  2. Self-Awareness
  3. Digital Fluency
  4. Communication
  5. Collaboration
  6. Empathy
  7. Analysis/Solution Mindset
  8. Resilience
  9. Entrepreneurial Mindset
  10. Social/Diversity Awareness

Throughout the course, students are expected to follow the course syllabus and meet deadlines for all four required meetings. The entire course content is available via Canvas and students are expected to log-in on the first day of class.