For Students > Work Experience Education > FOR EMPLOYERS


Cooperative Work Experience Education (CWEE) is a form of work-based learning in which students earn transferable college credit for learning that occurs on-the-job. It is “cooperative” in that the CWEE instructor and the workplace supervisor work with the student/employee to create meaningful learning objectives that meet the needs of both the employer and the student/employee. The employer's assistance in recommending, approving, and evaluating the outcome of these objectives is a critical element of the program. The completion of these objectives should directly benefit the employer and result in a better employee.

As a result of participating in Cooperative Work Experience Education, an employer...

  • May assume a more active educational role in the local community college
  • Is provided with the opportunity to communicate business and industry's needs to the college
  • Benefits when supervisor-employee communications and relationships are improved
  • Experiences lower recruiting and training costs since a pool of trained Work Experience Education students are able to move into permanent positions. Nationally, more than 60 percent of Work Experience students go to work permanently for their Work Experience employers after graduation.
  • Often has more motivated, enthusiastic employees because their work is evaluated and translated into college units.
  • Frequently experiences less employee turnover since adjustments to the job can take place during Work Experience activity.


Internships are hands-on, practical learning experiences typically associated with a specific occupational certificate or degree program. Usually unpaid, internships are a form of Cooperative Work Experience Education. Interns may be paid employees or unpaid volunteers. The primary focus of an unpaid internship is education, not necessarily productive work. An ideal internship will be both educational and productive, but the principal focus should be on education.

Interns can be a valuable addition to your team, injecting fresh energy and creativity to the workplace. They bring enthusiasm and a "beginner's mind" perspective to the job; mentoring employees are often forced to reexamine policies, procedures and attitudes when instructing or supervising interns.

Some employers have an "intern" job classification, in which case interns are employees and have all the rights and responsibilities of an employee. However, many internships are unpaid. If the employer is a for-profit entity, unpaid interns are not allowed to supplant a paid employee or otherwise occupy an essential position. The internship in this situation must clearly be educational in nature and be for the benefit of the intern. Read more information on unpaid internships and the Fair Labor Standards Act... 

If you are interested in developing an internship position for your business or agency, contact us and we'll help you.

  • Mendocino College will market your workplace as an internship site
  • Potential interns are pre-screened by the college to save you time and trouble
  • Mendocino College will provide Worker’s Compensation and liability insurance for interns enrolled in the College’s CWEE program
  • The CWEE program will assist you in creating an Internship Education Program specific to your workplace, helping assure that you are not in violation of labor laws regarding uncompensated employees (the Fair Labor Standards Act)
  • A cooperative relationship between the College, the employer and the intern will maximize the educational value of the internship to the intern and the productive value of the intern to the employer
  • An internship allows an employer to assess the intern as a potential employee, without obligation of hiring him or her
  • If the intern becomes an employee, employer training costs and employee turnover are minimized. Nationally, 60 percent of interns go to work for their internship employers
  • Employers establish a cooperative relationship with the college, providing an opportunity to influence vocational education and address industry training needs

Read What Students Say about Cooperative Work Experience Education at Mendocino College 

CWEE Manual for Employers-  pdf

Memorandum of Agreement between employer and College-  pdf

Employer Job Notification form-  pdf

Employer Job Notification form- in WORD (doc) format.

Supervisor Evaluation of Student form-  pdf

 Other Forms and Information for Employers:

The Benefits of Work-Based Learning and Occupational Coursework in the California Community Colleges: A Study Prepared for the California Community College Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Work-Based Learning and Employment Services (5/3/04).

Work Permit FAQs 

Statement of Intent to Employ Minor and Request for Work Permit


contact the Work Experience Office at 468-3047, 
or email Dan Jenkins at


Created: January 27, 1997 @ 12:00 AM
Last Modified: September 11, 2010 @ 02:07 PM


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