Work-Based Learning

Table of Contents


WBL Courses

Cooperative education is a valuable work-based learning experience, giving you a chance for hands-on training in your career field. Future employers will recognize your participation in a cooperative education experience as on-the-job training and this will give you an edge as you start out in your career after graduation.

Cooperative education, combined with academic studies in your major, will prepare you and give you the skills and knowledge for your future career. Employers seek qualified, well-rounded students and your Cooperative Education experience will be a great selling point on your resume and future job interviews.

WBL Orientation

Earn college credit for work and volunteer experiences!

Earn college credit while working, job-shadowing, or volunteering.

  • Create an effective resume portfolio that will make you stand out from other applicants.
  • Learn about proactive interviewing and how to differentiate yourself from other candidates being interviewed for the same position.
  • Create a personalized job search strategy and networking pitch.
  • Learn how to succeed and advance on the job with different soft skills.
  • Gain an edge with valuable hands-on training as you start out in your new career.
  • Independent study courses available (1-3 credit hour options) that can easily fit in to busy students’ schedules.


What is the Cooperative Education program?

The Cooperative Education program at Cleveland State is comprised of a variety of courses designed to prepare students for the workplace. Students can receive college credit for up to four semesters working or volunteering in a job related to their career field (Major-related co-op: CPED 1010 & 1020). Courses not requiring work placements are also available (CPED 1100, 1011 and 1012). These courses assist students with resume development, proactive interviewing, job search techniques, and development of strong workplace ethics. Cooperative Education courses are excellent electives and offered in a convenient, independent study format.

If I am already working, may I get credit for my job?

Yes, you may enroll for a Cooperative Education class using your current job. If your job is major-related, you may enroll for CPED 1010—Cooperative Education I. CPED 1010 is a 3-credit hour course that requires that you work or volunteer 150 hours/semester in a job related to your major (on average 10 hours/week). You will develop four learning objectives/projects with your employer that will increase your skills and expertise in your career field. A 2-credit hour version is also available requiring only 100 hours/semester (CPED 2100). Students develop four learning objectives with their employer focusing on transitional work skills (skills that are utilized in all job settings) and complete a resume portfolio.

If I am not working, how do I go about getting a Cooperative Education placement?

The CSCC Cooperative Education Office works with the academic advisor to ensure the student is ready to co-op and then to assist the student in identifying a placement. Most Cooperative Education placements are volunteer situations, but depending on the major and the student’s expertise, some placements may be paid positions. Additionally, students may contact the college’s Counseling & Career Services office to explore paid positions that they can utilize for their Cooperative Education placement. To start the process, contact the cooperative education office.

Does Cooperative Education have to be a paid position or may I volunteer?

While a paid placement is ideal and some placements may be paid, there are some fields in which it is unrealistic to expect to be paid without obtaining the skills first. In those fields, it is to the student’s benefit to be willing to volunteer for their Cooperative Education placement. In return, students will gain on-the-job experience and skills that they can highlight in their resume, qualifying them for a future paid position. They are also developing future references in their career field by building relationships with their site supervisor, the Cooperative Education director, and other professionals they will meet in the course of performing their Cooperative Education projects. In some cases, the volunteer experience works into a stipend or paid position.

What is Cooperative Education program?

Students attend a beginning of the semester orientation to learn how to access their syllabus, assignments, and class materials. Students use a Cooperative Education packet to document their Cooperative Education experience. This linked packet contains a contract that the site supervisor will complete—agreeing to supervise your Cooperative Education, giving you an opportunity to learn new skills, and evaluating you at the end of your experience. You will also record four learning objectives (projects, training, new skills, certifications, job shadowing, etc.) that you will work to complete during your Cooperative Education. In other words, the purpose is to learn new skills in your career field (major-related Cooperative Education) or transitional skills, in addition to the usual duties of the job. You will record your work hours to document that you completed the required hours in the placement. During your work hours, you will focus on learning and improving your work skills as outlined in your four objectives. Students will also complete a resume portfolio and reflection paper as part of the course. Workshops and course notes are provided to assist students with these assignments.

What are examples of learning objectives?

Learning objectives in the major-related Cooperative Education will be in-depth with the students striving to acquire hands-on experience and skills in their career field. These objectives might include knowledge/skill development, specific projects, job shadowing, training, task forces, or problem-solving assignments. New learning objectives are developed for each semester of major-related Cooperative Education. These objectives will be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely.

As an independent study course, how often will I meet my instructor?

All co-op students are required to attend an orientation at the start of the semester to receive their syllabus and course assignments. You will then meet with the instructor during the semester to develop and fine-tune your resume and discuss your learning objectives as needed. The co-op instructor maintains office hours at the Athens and Cleveland CSCC sites.

Are there other co-op courses that do not involve a work placement?

Yes, CPED 1011 and CPED 1012 are one-credit hour courses that provide students with valuable career guidance without the work placement requirement. CPED 1011 Job Search Skills guides students through the development of a resume, job interview, and job search methods. CPED 1012 Soft Skills in the Workplace stresses important soft skills and the importance of work ethics. Like other co-op courses, CPED 1011 and 1012 are available in independent study format with the student meeting with the instructor occasionally throughout the semester during the instructor’s office hours/as needed.

May I sign up for a co-op class without placement?

Students should not sign up for a co-op class requiring the 150 hour work assignment without already having the job or volunteer placement secured because the work requirement is a critical component of the class. While every effort will be made to help students locate a placement, students should not sign up for co-op without a placement identified. As mentioned earlier, CPED 1011 and 1012 do not include a placement requirement and would be good courses for students who are not currently working or volunteering.

How will a Cooperative Education course count?

Several degree programs at the college require a Cooperative Education course and a specific course is built into the curriculum for that major. For other students, cooperative education courses are electives and can be applied to the total hours for graduation from Cleveland State. Students should check with their senior institution to determine how co-op courses will transfer into that institution. Students should also check with the Financial Aid department in terms of how the elective course may effect the student’s aid.

Why take a co-op course?

Cooperative education programs have been in existence at most colleges and universities for many years and employers recognize this experience as valuable hands-on training in your field. Often, it is the student’s cooperative education experience that gives the student the edge in the hiring process. Cooperative education is the perfect complement to your academic studies, preparing you with the skills and knowledge for your future career. It is a very important experience to add to your resume. Additionally, it provides students with the opportunity to develop references in their career field. Courses are offered in an independent study format so they are convenient elective courses for students who have many obligations including family, work and college.

What do I do next?

If you have a job or volunteer placement that will provide you with the opportunity to complete a 150 hour/semester work requirement, sign up for CPED 1010. Students who are looking for shorter-term placements should consider CPED 2100. If you do not have a placement, contact the cooperative education office to schedule an appointment prior to signing up for the course.

The one-credit hour courses, CPED 1011 & 1012, do not require a work or volunteer placement. Students can sign up for these courses without prior arrangements with the Cooperative Education office. Once signing up for any CPED course, students should attend a required Cooperative Education Orientation at the beginning of the semester. Keep an eye our your campus email the week prior to classes starting for an Orientation invitation from the Cooperative Education instructor.See the Orientation tab of the co-op web page for a listing of cooperative education Orientation (days/times/locations).

Orientation Info

All students registering for a cooperative education class should attend a required information/orientation session to learn how to start their course and to access their syllabus, assignments, and class resources through myCSCourses. This is essential for success in a work-based learning experience.

Orientation/information sessions will be provided at the beginning of each semester.

Any questions can be directed to

“All good performance starts with clear goals.” ~K. Blanchard


Cleveland State is committed to offering a quality cooperative education experience. Numerous students participate fall and spring semesters in independent study co-op courses. (internship/job-shadowing/work-based learning opportunities)

Cooperative education courses are offered in an independent study format so they are convenient courses for students who already have a lot of other obligations (work, family, and college). They are an excellent option for students seeking an elective and provide opportunities for real-world work experience.

Students attend an Orientation at the beginning of the semester to meet their instructor and receive information about the course syllabus, requirements, class materials and resources.

CPED 1011—Job Search Skills (1 credit hour)

Receive assistance in making the most of a job application opportunity, developing an effective resume portfolio, learning career-readiness skills, and designing an individual job search strategy.

CPED 1012—Soft Skills in the Workplace (1 credit hour)

Developing professional skills including communication, time management, problem solving, teamwork and customer service skills.

CPED 1100—Career Exploration (1 credit hours)

Developing the importance of initiative, attitude, and work ethics in the workplace. Components of the course include a minimum of 20 hours of supervised employment shadowing and independent study bookwork.

CPED 1010 & 1020—Cooperative Education I & II (3 credit hours each)

Students work or volunteer in cooperative education placements related to their college major. Students develop learning objectives with their employers and work 150 hours for the semester. Students who need assistance in locating a co-op placement need to schedule an appointment with the cooperative education director in advance of class beginning.

CPED 2100 Co-op/Internship Experience (2 credit hours)

Similar to CPED 1010, this course focuses on professional development through on-the-job experience in the student’s major area of study but is designed for the student who wants a shorter-term placement. CPED 2100 requires 100 hours of supervised employment or volunteer experience.

Contact Info

Sandy Kirby

(423) 473-2288 or

1-800-604-2722, Ext. 288