Occupational Skills Training (OST)
Frequently Asked Questions for Employers
How does the program work?
- Skills Training at RCC helps students train for jobs which are not otherwise addressed by RCC programs. Students spend about half the time it takes to earn our one-year certificate by doing an internship for credit with a local employer. The other half is spent taking carefully chosen college classes designed to supplement internship training. Occupations vary, according to student and employer interest. Internships can be paid or unpaid, depending on employer capacity. Either way, the internship credits are considered transfer credits and meet college accreditation standards.
What are the overall goals of the program?
- Our main goal is for each student to receive enough training to become employable in their internship field at an entry-level. We make every effort to design each training to be a win-win arrangement for both employers and students. We want the student's presence at your site to be a positive experience, and honor the fact that running your business comes first. We hope the time you spend with our student is worthwhile, whether or not you decide to hire the student. Many of our employers view the process of training an RCC student to be a way of 'giving back' to the community. If you feel that way, we appreciate it!
How many hours will the student be in training at my business?
- This varies with each particular intern and employer's needs. Most interns train between 15 and 32 hours per week. Interns generally train between three and nine months, depending on prior experience. Some students come with significant prior work history and may need a shorter training length than average. We first consult with you regarding the ideal number of hours per week for an intern at your business. We then work out the total number of hours a particular student has available to train at your site for a given academic term, and see if you are in agreement. We encourage students to free up as many hours as possible for their worksite schedule, and to complete all coursework before beginning an internship. However, unpaid students do need to balance their internship hours with other obligations (classroom, part-time jobs, etc.).
Does RCC provide Worker's Compensation Insurance?
- Yes. RCC covers Worker's Compensation Insurance for all unpaid internships. Coverage begins once an intern is registered for RCC credits to cover their hours at your workplace. If you decide to hire the student before the internship is over, you would need to assume the Worker's Compensation Insurance.
Does RCC do drug testing and background checks on interns?
- RCC does not automatically require drug or background checks. We can direct students to get these screenings done before starting their internship at your request. The cost of drug screens or background checks is picked up by the student. We ask that you only require students to do drug testing if it is a normal procedure for employment at your place of business.
How much paperwork is involved?
- We try to keep paperwork for supervisors to a minimum. A one-page Training Agreement needs to be signed before students begin. There are also brief mid-term and final evaluation documents. RCC Work Ethics Guidelines help frame a conversation about your work expectations with the student. Students complete RCC-supplied time sheets and get your signature on them before submitting to RCC staff.
How are training goals and duties established?
- We work with you to determine general training goals for interns which will work for your particular business. It is helpful to have company job descriptions if they are available. The list can be modified as the training proceeds. Training goals are chosen which allow students the opportunity to achieve entry-level skills.
Who can supervise a trainee?
- There should be one primary supervisor for the student who can give assignments, direction, monitoring and feedback. This person can be either line staff or management. They should have the knowledge and skills to train the student on the areas covered in the training goals. The primary supervisor should have the ability to sign off on RCC evaluations.
How are students screened for internships?
- We first work with you to identify minimum qualifications. We then refer interns who have met your minimum qualifications and RCC class pre-requisites. We screen for indicators of positive work ethics before doing a referral. You interview candidates for internships as you would any potential employee and decide if you would like to take on a particular intern.
How are students prepared for trainings?
- We put heavy emphasis on academic preparation. All students take college- level general education courses (math, writing, computer science and human relations). Based on your input and the needs of your business, students may also take specialized classes which relate to your field. We do many different types of trainings, so these classes will vary. For example, Medical Assistant students take anatomy & physiology, medical terminology and a clinical course for basic patient care such as C.N.A. Pharmacy Technician students take medical terminology and pharmacology. Students training in Water Treatment and Restoration take chemistry and microbiology. Real Estate Assistant students take marketing, public speaking, and extra computer classes; they may also take a real estate licensing class.
- To further prepare for trainings, students will also have background checks, drug screens and /or immunizations completed if you require them. Students entering health fields are provided with HIPAA handbooks.
- Once you have selected a student, we require a pre-internship orientation in which work ethics are emphasized. In this orientation students are directed to behave at their internships as if they are paid employees. Students are informed that 40% of their grade is based on work ethics. RCC's extensive list of work ethics includes reliability, productivity, team work and problem solving.
How is the training schedule determined?
- The number of hours per week is agreed upon in advance by all parties when the internship is first arranged. The specific work schedule a student follows to earn these hours at your site is flexible and is determined by mutual agreement. Once a set schedule is established, students are expected to adhere to it, maintain regular attendance, and follow all workplace policies.
How can you make a great training experience for students?
- Make the student feel welcomed and part of your team. Introduce them to staff members and allow them to shadow various staff where appropriate. If possible, allow them to attend staff meetings.
- Give your employee manual to the student to read over.
- Honest feedback is crucial to a successful training. Be direct and positive with your student. Students appreciate both positive and developmental feedback. The more frequently they receive feedback, the better the training. A monthly check- in is helpful.
- We suggest giving a compliment before voicing a correction. An example might be, "Overall, you are doing great! What you need to improve on is trying to work a little faster."
- Utilize RCC's Work Ethics Guidelines to help frame a conversation with your student about your expectations. Students are graded heavily on their work ethics.
- Give work assignments that relate to training goals agreed upon with RCC.
- Assign increasingly complex tasks as a student progresses so s/he has ongoing learning opportunities.
- Encourage your line staff to support the student's learning; assign a mentor if possible.
- Create a file for student records.
- Call RCC staff immediately if you experience any difficulties.
How are students evaluated?
- Students are earning college credits and will be awarded letter grades. A training site supervisor's input is an important component of a student's evaluation and grade. RCC staff will contact you a minimum of twice each term for your input.
Students are given grades based on the following factors:
- Overall work ethics
- Development of skills toward training goals at your site
- A weekly journal submitted to RCC
- Student reflective paper submitted to RCC
What if problems arise during training? How much support does RCC provide?
- Problems are rare, but when they do happen RCC staff is committed to working with you to find solutions. We contact you twice each term to monitor a student's progress. We are also available to you whenever you need an answer to a question or help with any issues that come up. The earlier we hear about issues or concerns, the more we can help. Examples are coaching the student regarding work ethics or seeking additional training resources.
What if I want to hire the trainee?
- You are free at any time to hire a student as a permanent or temporary employee. Just let us know! Students can still earn college credits and complete their Skills Training internship while in paid status. RCC Worker's Compensation only applies to unpaid hours.
What happens if I decide a student is just not suited for the job?
- Although we make every effort to make good matches between students and training sites, sometimes it just isn't a good fit. If it doesn't look like there is a way to work out problematic performance issues, then you are not obligated to continue an internship with a particular student. We do hope that you contact us at the first sign of any problems, so we can attempt to help the student improve performance.