Internships available through Cooperative Work Experience

Internships in the field of aquaculture science are offered through the CWE program (N. Sivasothi / CC license (see link below))

Evelyn Caicedo

Internships are important in this day and age because experience in the designated work force has been crucial, according to National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Colleges in and around the state give students the opportunity to intern for their specific major in order to acquire better knowledge of their work area. In those colleges, there is a specific director of each department to organize, plan, and direct these interns into the work environment.

Students are now seeking experience more than ever due to the economic hardships not only for experience but because the businesses are now wanting a more experienced employee rather than a person with a high leveled degree.

“The jobs that will be available will only require some level of education, they probably won’t require that transfer,” Eric Hilden, Career Placement Officer, said. “So the majority of jobs that will be available are the ones that will require the employees to have done internships and some level of education, perhaps an AA degree.”

In a recent study done in September 2010 by NACE, they found approximately 42 percent of graduates with internships who applied for a job received an offer compared with only 30 percent for students who had no internships experience.

Students may ask for options on finding internships within Saddleback College, which are necessary to their future careers.

At Saddleback College the process is a bit more complex to receive an internship because the school is considered to be a “decentralized system,” which is a system where no specific director coordinates it unlike the other schools.

However, Administrative Assistant Elle DuBois, from the Advanced Technology and Applied Science Center, comes close to the job of director.

DuBois believes that the program should have promotion, staffing, development, and education along with passionate people to run this program.

“Ultimately it needs full-time personnel, whether that be a classified person, a manager, or a director of that program to really be able to organize, plan and direct the whole internship program on campus,” Hilden said. “Because right now it really is a limited service from lots of different people. It kind of has to be centralized by one main person.”

Another fault of the system includes no listings of the Cooperative Work Experience (CWE) classes in the catalog of classes and so students are not easily aware of these opportunities.

“That then leaves many gaps in each department. Are each of those departments marketing the program? Do they have flexibility in funds and resources to really engaging students to let them know how exactly get a hold of that CWE program?” Hilden said. “An unfortunate the trend across the state is that is [internships] even a value? Does that even a program that need to continue?”

DuBois said that the instructors of these classes are now upset because their CWE classes are not on the schedule and only a few students are in each of their classes.

Deans have even considered canceling the program because there are not enough people in the class when the minimum amount of people in the class is 18.

Available CWE Programs
Aquarium and Aquaculture Sciences
Automotive Technology
Business Management
Communication Arts
Environmental Studies
Fashion Merchandising
Food and Nutrition
Health Science
Horticulture and Landscape
Interior Design
Journalism
Nursing
Phlebotomy
Travel Management

“College officials are not providing sufficient information to eligible students of legitimate, challenging, creditable learning opportunities,” William Thomas, Associate Faculty, said.

As well as in other campuses there has been a drop in CWE courses because of the lack of resources to keep the program going. Hilden said that it would be a detriment because of the percentages of success with internships.

“There are a lot of students that are working; it is offered as an academic addition to support students that are working in their designed major,” Hilden said.

“Our campus only offers the occupational CWE. So it really is meant to enhance that major and enhance that student’s connection to the major into the industry,” he said.

Therefore, students can only participate in internships that correspond to their future careers.

“The numbers are then huge if and when the students actually receive the credit for it and have the support from the college,” Hilden said.

In each department certain requirements must be met such as courses and classes, which must be taken, before the students can actually apply for internships. There are requirements to have a foundation of knowledge; a foundation of skills, and then the student will be ready to be put out into the work place. Knowing that they will be successful there.

For journalism majors there is a requirement of one or more journalism classes and to have completed English 1A

To apply to CWE, students must already have an internship available and must be locked into the position. Then the process of being accepted and denied occurs, said DuBois.

Students are denied CWE credit if the student does not already have an internship at hand, or have an incomplete application.

Once students have been successfully approved for CWE, units are then given. Unit count depends on the major, ranging from 2-3 units, and the student must first have 12 units in the semester in addition to interning.

However, they are hoping to make the units more flexible in order for students to get the most out of their internship experiences, said DuBois.

Progressive movements the internships should be considered to be more units so students could then take more classes and have more units total in a semester.

Dubois said that it is really important for students to get internships and it is not available to the student population.

When students go to internships outside of Saddleback the question of whether the company obliges to the Federal Department of Labor Laws is an unconsidered question.

In the journalism department students have gone to places such as San Clemente Times, San Clemente Journal, Orange County Register, Surfers Magazine, Bike Magazine, Casa Romantica, Saddleback College Public Information Office, Long Beach Press Telegram, and many more.

“The students need to be aware of not being taken advantage of, to be aware of the consequences and the risks to take an internship that is not associated with the college and to really have a clear understanding of what the students are getting into.”

Students must be aware that internships are available, whether it is outside of the campus or through the campus with the CWE program.

Hopefully within the next years of campus the CWE will be easily accessed and students will be more aware of their opportunities on campus.

“The idea of having to find the jobs and internships through Gaucho Jobs, it comes down to marketing and how to go about it. I have been trying to do that by putting up announcements and send student e-mails and finding what Gaucho Jobs offers,” Hilden said. “Internships will soon be vital with where our nation is going and what our federal governm
ent wants. So it will be important to gather directors to promote them to our students.”

Programs that are available for the CWE include Department of Aquarium and Aquaculture Sciences, Automotive Technology, Business Management, Communication Arts, Environmental Studies, Fashion Merchandising, Food and Nutrition, Health Science, Horticulture and Landscape, Child Development and Educational Studies, Interior Design, Phlebotomy, Travel Management, Journalism, and Nursing.

Students will be enrolled in the appropriate CWE class according to their college major or into the CWE class that pertains to their particular internship specialty. CWE 180 is the course number that is used for all CWE classes offered through Saddleback College regardless of their unit value.

Photo credit: N. Sivasothi, Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore / CC

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