Bristol Community College

Bristol Community College

Work Experience

The purpose of Co-op is for students to be given the opportunity to apply what they've learned in the classroom into the workplace.   Early in the semester, students are required to develop a Learning Agreement which highlights three objectives they wish to accomplish in the workplace and asks students to identify work values, skills and personal attributes they wish to "test out" during their work period.  Co-op employers are then asked to review these and make recommendations for targeted learning, training, and skill development during the cooperative work term.

Co-op can also help students who are already working by helping the student find opportunities for new career-related learning experiences within their present job.  The Co-op staff acts as a liaison with your employer to arrange this Cooperative Education experience.

While participating employers agree to provide an opportunity for learning, they do not hold classes, nor do they structure work assignments in order to guarantee a variety of tasks.  Individual initiatives are a key ingredient in the success of any Co-op assignment.  You must consistently demonstrate your willingness and interest in learning new skills.  Some of the means you can use to expand your learning opportunities include: asking questions; volunteering to do new tasks; and completing assignments quickly, correctly, and enthusiastically.

The primary benefit of the Co-op Program is the opportunity for students to test their career choice by working in a position that closely relates to their academic major.  Depending on the students' major or career interest, the position can come in a variety of ways, such as:

Part-time and Full-time Paid
These positions can be permanent or temporary (the length of the semester).  Wages offered to Co-op students vary depending upon a student's academic major and past work experience.

Internships (paid and unpaid)
Like a semester in school, an internship is a job that lasts for a limited length of time.  An internship is often set up with specified responsibilities in a company, nonprofit, or other organization.  An internship is great opportunities to get your feet wet in a profession, see if you like it, and learn to hone some skills for the future.  Internships can be paid or unpaid.  Note: Criminal Justice and Communications internship opportunities generally unpaid.   Paid internships include national and regional programs that last for a semester or longer – i.e. Walt Disney World College Program, H&R Block, Student Conservation Association and Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

Federal Work Study
The Federal Work-Study Program provides jobs for students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses. The program encourages community service work and work related to your course of study.  Your Federal Work-Study salary will be at least the current federal minimum wage, but it may be higher, depending on the type of work you do and the skills required. Your total Federal Work-Study award depends on when you apply, your level of need, and the funding level of your school.

Contact Financial Aid, Room G120, or call ext. 2515 to see if you are eligible for this program.
America Reads and America Counts are available to students in the Federal Work Study Program and on a volunteer basis.  This is an excellent opportunity for students wishing to advance in the "educational" field.

America Reads was established in 1997 when assessments revealed that our nation's young students were not reading at acceptable levels--illiteracy threatened the academic success of children across the country.   In response, U.S. Secretary of Education issued a waiver to the Federal Work-Study (FWS) regulations that allowed the Federal Government to pay 100% of an eligible FWS student's wages if he or she served as a reading tutor to pre-school through elementary age children. 

America Counts was established due to a crisis in mathematics education similar to that in reading. While the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century indicate that our students must master advanced mathematical skills to go onto college and have promising careers, today's students are not achieving at high levels.   In order to help provide additional learning opportunities and personal attention to math students, the U.S. Secretary of Education Secretary has expanded the existing FWS waiver allowing the Federal Government to pay 100% of an eligible FWS student's wages if he or she serves as a math tutor to elementary through ninth grades students.

New Learning in Present Job
Many students enrolled at Bristol Community College are already working in their chosen field.  Many students have years of work experience and may be hoping to advance in their present job or find ways to broaden their professional development and expand their careers.   Co-op provides students the opportunity to earn credits for working at their present job provides they learn new aspects of that job while participating in Co-op.  All current positions need to be pre-approved by the Director and/or Coordinator.  To obtain approval, students must contact the Cooperative Education office, Room K123, or call ext. 2407.