Cooperative Work Experience Guide

A Guide for Employers
Definition of Cooperative Work Experience

Cooperative Work Experience (CWE) is a program providing hands-on work experience in an actual employment setting. This experience is tailored to meet the training needs of each student and employer requirements. The Cooperative Work Experience awards college credit to students for on-the-job training in their field. 

CWE is a coordinated team effort between the college, students and employers. The staff at the Klamath Community College Career Services Center work closely with faculty and students to assess training needs and objectives. We also work closely with employers to tailor each training program to changing requirements in the workplace, ensuring students are provided up-to-date training.

Together we:

Provide an education where Klamath Community College students gain sufficient, up-to-date knowledge of the program and industry specific to their field of study. 

Augment classroom education by integrating work experience programs where students will also gain the skills and ability to demonstrate competency in their field of study.

Sustain efforts by maintaining cooperation, communication, and programs that will lead to stronger, developed communities.

Regular advisory committees meetings including employers, faculty, community members, and staff.

Employer benefits

Employer partners gain:
  • An opportunity to screen for potential prospective employees.
  • Temporary extra help for your organization at no extra cost.
  • A way to give back to the community by mentoring employment resources for the future.
  • Access to individuals with current and relevant skills without initial company investment.

Partnering with Klamath Community College programs can benefit both the shareholder and the student. Students are and eager to learn and up-to-date on current theories and practices in their fields. Work experiences are highly cost efficient for employers. Employers can recruit new employees from their pool of cooperative work experience students. Employers are able to see how the student melds with the current work team and handles the demands of the job. The Career Services Center staff work directly with the employer for support and feedback.

Special or ongoing projects can be achieved more easily with the additional support that the student can bring to your team. Students can also bring new energy and ideas to your project.

Try out potential full-time employees without any long-term commitments. You can see first hand the student’s soft skills for time management, dependability, ability to follow directions and team cooperation.

Costs for training and invested time are greatly reduced if an employer converts a student worker into a full-time employee.

Employer responsibilities

Employers are responsible for:
  • Expanding on the student’s educational background.
  • Determining who will supervise the student at work.
  • Providing any company orientation covering safety concerns or requirements, hours to be at work, appropriate attire, introduction to people in the company, and other important topics.
  • Assisting the student with the development of the work experience contract  by outlining specific job responsibilities.
  • Providing feedback on the student’s progress midway and at the end of the experience.
  • Notifying the work experience coordinator of any changes to, or concerns about, employment (e.g., job responsibilities, schedules, or disciplinary issues).
  • Evaluating the CWE program by completing a short survey at the completion of the experience.

How the process works:

Indicate your interest in partnering for a CWE student by sending a job description to the KCC Career Services Center at

We will forward your job description to the appropriate department. KCC faculty will work directly with students in their departments who are looking for a CWE placement. Students will respond to your job description and contact your organization. 

Interview the candidates and make your hiring decision. There is no obligation to hire students who do not meet your employment needs.

Provide necessary input into the work experience contract provided by the student and the CWE coordinator. With your guidance we will tailor the learning experience to the needs of the student and your company.

Cooperative work experience contract

This agreement outlines the responsibilities of the work site supervisor, the student, and the cooperative education coordinator. The agreement should be constructed by the student and the employer to tailor the agreement for learning outcomes and employer needs. The agreement should identify the student’s dates of employment, hours, desired job activities, and wage if appropriate.  As part of the agreement, a training plan is developed and included. The training plan outlines the goals and activities of the experience and should include skills the student needs to acquire and/or practice and concepts the student needs to understand and apply.  Goals and objectives should relate directly to classroom work and career development activities which the cooperative work experience supports. 


CWE students are like new hires. Employers must have someone available to meet with students on their first day to review expectations. It is beneficial to clarify overall expectations of the CWE students and share with them how their work relates to the overall goals of the company.

It can be helpful for the student to learn about your place of business, for example:

  • What is your company’s primary goal/mission statement?
  • What products or services does your company provide?
  • How is the company organized?
  • Who are the key staff, managers, etc.?
  • What are the company policies (confidentiality, safety, required attire, etc.)?
  • What safety equipment or personal protective equipment is needed?
  • What to do in case of an emergency?


Because CWE is a training opportunity for students, student work must be performed in a safe, productive, and expedient manner. Some potential tips for providing specific instruction to the student in order to complete new tasks:

  • Show and tell the student how to perform the task.
  • Ask the student to explain how to do the task while watching you complete the task.
  • Ask the student to tell you and demonstrate how they will do the task.


Review process and feedback

As students learn new tasks and develop their skills further, occasional feedback is encouraged. Feedback is a constructive training tool that allows students to continually improve their performance and attitude. To assist student learning, please consider incorporating some methods of providing feedback:

  • Share with student specifically what they did or did not do well.
  • State specifically what you would like to see them continue or do differently.
  • Ask what you, as the supervisor, can do to help.
  • Meet with Klamath Community College faculty/staff when needed.
  • Discuss progress on learning outcomes, student performance, and any other work-related issues.
At the final meeting, you will be providing feedback that will help the instructor determine the student’s grade for CWE.
  • The student may or may not be present at these meetings.
  • KCC asks employers for feedback by sending out an on-line survey. Your feedback is always welcome!

Frequently asked questions

Who pays the cost of workers’ compensation insurance? 

If the student is participating in a paid activity with your business, you pay the cost of workers’ compensation. If it is a non-paid training experience, the college covers the workers’ compensation insurance.

What can be done if the CWE student does not perform satisfactorily? 

You are encouraged to speak with students about their behavior or performance (referencing the tips on providing feedback may be helpful). If the behavior or performance does not change, you may ask students to leave as you would any other employee.

What should I do if something goes wrong?

If there are performance concerns, please speak directly with the student first. You may also contact the instructor. 

If there is an accident involving the CWE student, please immediately contact the KCC Career Services Center office. 


Working Together - Uniting as one to build a better tomorrow

At Klamath Community College, we realize the importance of our entire community uniting so we can grow and evolve together. Strengthening our the community’s foundation ensures a brighter future for all. With the help of employers and agencies in Klamath and Lake counties, we are working toward strengthening our communities by training our students in both an academic and hands-on setting.  

Combining on-the-job practical field experience with academic studies, Cooperative Work Experience (CWE), offers students a chance to extend the classroom into a work setting. CWE can be paid or unpaid, and result in graded academic credit for students.

Cooperative Work Experiences require a working relationship among the employer, the student and Klamath Community College. Communication is essential for the development of a successful CWE.

Contact the Career Services Center

Building 4, Room 415