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CWE Guidelines

Cooperative work experience (CWE) is approved in accordance with requirements and criteria established by CCWD-EII. Procedures for approval of cooperative work experience are the same as for other occupational preparatory or LDC courses. Cooperative work experience is considered to be an integral part of a program of study (associate degree or certificate of completion). CWE is expected to be an advanced learning opportunity, not an exploratory experience in a career area.

CWE courses are approved through each college’s curriculum and program approval processes. An up-to-date course outline is available for each approved CWE course on each college campus. It is recommended that colleges consult the guidelines from the Northwest Commission of Colleges and Universities for “Contractual Relationship with Organizations not Regionally Accredited” as they relate to direct control and CWE.

The goals for each student’s cooperative work experience are tied directly to their associate degree or certificate of completion. Community colleges should clearly define roles and expectations for the CWE for the student, instructor, and employer/supervisor. The individual student’s CWE plan includes student learning outcomes and measurable learning objectives. The employer, instructor, and student collaborate in setting and assessing learning objectives. Good monitoring of the student’s CWE plan occurs through periodic instructor visits or contacts at the job site with the employer and the student. Student evaluation of the employer is an important element of CWE.

Career and  technical education cooperative work experience uses a single numbering system (see Appendix F, State Course numbering System). Credit for CWE is based on CWE as a classroom lab with a 3 to 1 ratio (33 clock hours per credit). Credit for CWE Seminar is based on the Seminar as a lecture course with a 1 to 1 ratio (10-12 clock hours per credit). No more than 24 credit hours of Cooperative Work Experience can be applied toward an Associate of Applied Science degree or 12 credit hours for a one year certificate of completion.

Cooperative work experience may be included as part of a transfer program. In this case, the course must be identified and approved with a course number for the work experience that is related to the program of study. For example, a cooperative work experience included in a journalism course of study would carry a J prefix.

CWE Guidelines and Definitions for Full-Time Equivalent reimbursement reporting:

Report the maximum number of contact hours for CWE congruent with the credits assigned (1 credit for lab/CWE courses = 30 to 36 contact hours depending on the length of the term, e.g. 3 contact hours per week for 11 weeks generates 33 contact hours for 1 credit). A maximum of 12 credit hours per year per student can count for FTE reimbursement. This is consistent with “No more than 24 credit hours of Cooperative Work Experience can be applied toward an Associate of Applied Science degree or 12 credit hours for a one year certificate of completion” that has been in guidance. Occupational Skills Training (OST) Program’s CWE is the only exception to this guidance since OST is based on 50% or more being in the workplace and was approved by the State Board of Education.

If a college has a previously approved program that required more than 24 credits of CWE for a degree, they may submit a request to the Commissioner for the program to be an exception to this guideline and definition.

Additional Information:

Additional resources are available by clicking here. It is expected that language concerning CWE in the Oregon Work Based Learning Manual and other resources will be aligned with that in the Handbook and the information in the Handbook takes precedence. The content of this is as follows:

CWE AND THE STUDENT’S PROGRAM OF STUDY

  • Cooperative Work Experience (CWE) is an integral part of a program of study (certification of completion or associate degree).
  • Goals for individual students’ CWE are tied to a student’s program of study.
  • The individual student’s CWE plan includes student learning outcomes, measurable learning objectives, and an opportunity for structured reflection through CWE seminar and/or other embedded activities as outlined in the Community College Handbook and Oregon Work-Based Learning Manual.
  • The supervisor/employer, instructor and student collaborate in setting and assessing learning objectives.

MONITORING AND ASSESSING CWE

  • Good monitoring of the student’s CWE plan occurs through periodic visits or contacts at the job site including the student, instructor and supervisor/employer.
  • Assessment should measure progress toward student goals and is undertaken by instructor, student and supervisor/employer.
  • Student evaluation of the supervisor/employer is an important component of CWE.

THE COLLEGE ROLE IN CWE

  • Roles and expectations for the CWE are clearly defined for the student, instructor and supervisor/employer,
  • CWE is derived from a course outline approved through a college’s curriculum approval process.
  • Instructors for CWE are qualified and approved through college processes.
  • The college follows guidelines from Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities concerning Contractual Relationship with Organization Not Regionally Accredited as it relates to direct control and CWE.
  • CWE agreement address applicable legal aspects, such as worker’s compensation.

LOGISTICS OF CWE

  • Credit for CWE is based on CWE as a classroom lab with a 3 to 1 ration (30-36 clock hours per credit).
  • Credit for CWE Seminar is based on the Seminar as a lecture course with a 1 to 1 ration (10-12 clock hours per credit).

Effective July 1, 2009