Employer Requirements

Thank you for thinking of College of the Desert student talent as part of your recruitment efforts. As an employer, you have access to over 10,000 students at College of the Desert, some who may participate in the Work Experience Program to earn college credit while working, interning, or engaging in volunteer activities. 

We are proud of our long-standing partnerships we have developed and continue to foster with our local businesses through our Work Experience Program - we hope you will join us in bringing meaningful work-based learning opportunities to our students that enhance our Coachella Valley economic mobility!

Ways You Can Maximize Our Partnership

  • Obtain employer access to our student job board Handshake where you can post any job or internship opportunity and connect with students. See additional resources below.
  • Work directly with a dedicated Work Experience Education staff member to establish an intern pipeline.
  • Offer professional development opportunities to your current employees who may wish to up-skill by enrolling in one of our academic programs and/or enroll in short-term Employability Skills courses.
  • Participate in ongoing career and job fairs, information sessions, career panels, and Career Connections@COD events hosted by the Career & Workforce Solutions Center.
  • Consider becoming an Advisory Committee Member:
    • Advisories meet at least once-per-year to establish and maintain excellent business partnerships, provide feedback on industry related curriculum, validate job market, improve job readiness, and discuss industry trends.
    • Other participation activities include:
      • Providing tours of your facility
      • Joining a guest speaker series
      • Provide internships (see Establishing an Internship page on left menu)
      • Donate equipment and/or supplies
      • Provide student scholarships/grants through College of the Desert Foundation or join The President's Circle!

Participate in Our Work Experience Education Program

Whether you may have an existing employee or a new intern participating in a Work Experience course - it is an opportunity for them to grow and expand their skills while working/interning with you.

The primary goals of the Work Experience Education Program are to provide students:

  • An opportunity to earn college credit for the hours they will be working/interning at your job site.
  • Adequate tools to become better employees and to enhance their skill set in the workforce.
  • An introduction to developing S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely) learning objectives related to their scope of work.
  • The opportunity to enhance their employability skills while obtaining coaching and mentoring from their faculty advisor and job site supervisor.

Your Role as an Employer

As an employer who participates in our Work Experience Education Program, you are responsible for:

  1. Working with your intern or employee to establish three S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Realistic, Timely) learning objectives that can be accomplished by the end of the semester. 
  2. Providing adequate resources, equipment, and facilities as needed that support the learning objectives. 
  3. Evaluating the student's performance and progress towards the three SMART goals and application of the following 21st-century soft skills in the workplace:
    • Adaptability
    • Self-Awareness
    • Digital Fluency
    • Communication
    • Collaboration
    • Empathy
    • Analysis/Solution Mindset
    • Resilience
    • Entrepreneurial Mindset
    • Social/Diversity Awareness
  4. Verifying the number of hours the student works. (See minimum hour requirement below) 
  5. Assigning a supervisor with adequate expertise, professionalism, and background in the respective field of study to be able to share their knowledge with the student.

Your Organization

Your organization should be an established and legitimate business or non-profit, as evidenced by having the following:

  • Physical location
  • Website
  • Listed telephone number 
  • Tax ID number
  • Approval on our job board Handshake

Required Minimum Hours to Earn College Credit

Students who enroll in a Work Experience Education course must meet the minimum required hours, per Educational Code Title 5. 

The number of hours a student works throughout the semester depends on how many units/credits they plan to earn. Units are based on the following scale per semester for paid or unpaid/volunteer positions:

  • 1 unit = 54 required hours
  • 2 units = 108 required hours
  • 3 units = 162 required hours
  • 4 units = 216 required hours
  • 5 units = 270 required hours 

*Reference the Paid vs. Unpaid Internship page on the left menu for important details.   

Goal-Setting and S.M.A.R.T. Learning Objectives

Students enrolled in a Work Experience Education course are required to develop a minimum of three (3) specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely (SMART) goals. These objectives outline tasks the student will complete, what they will learn, and how it will be accomplished. SMART goals typically involve:

  • Adding new or enhanced responsibilities to ones already performed satisfactorily
  • Learning new information that will lead to the next level job/position
  • Solving a functional problem 
  • Any activities that foster career growth

21st Century Employability Skills

Students who enroll in a Work Experience Education course are required to exemplify 10 core Employability Skills within their work environment, which will be evaluated by their job site supervisor at the end of the course.

The New World of Work "Professional Competencies" list was established after analysis of Mozilla Foundation's national comparison of College/Career Ready Competencies and are listed as followed:

What it means:

  • Notices when things change and sees it as an opportunity.
  • Open to new experiences including work environments, roles, and tasks.
  • Will consider others' viewpoints and suggestions to get the job done.
  • Handles normal amounts of stress. Uses Feedback in a positive way. Is able to learn from things that went wrong.

What it means:

  • Is realistic about personal strengths, skills, and areas for growth.
  • Seeks to control own emotions and behavior even under stress. 
  • Strives to improve work appropriate manner. Learns and applies guidelines or rules of the work setting.
  • Looks for work that is a good match for personal strengths and skills. 

What it means:

  • Knows what technology tools help people work together in person and online.
  • Knows how to use programs like Word processing, messaging, and browser windows.
  • Understands what, how, and when to use information that is sensitive, confidential, or private.
  • Uses accurate online tools to find information, answer questions, or solve a problem. 

What it means:

  • Speaks in a work appropriate manner and in a way others will understand.
  • Knows common social rules for interacting with others at work and uses nonverbal methods to make meaning clear. 
  • Knows when and how to use email, the internet, and other computer applications to communicate and how to use digital media in the workplace.
  • Is a good listener, asks questions and repeats back what was heard to make sure everyone understands.

What it means:

  • Sees how diversity on a team can be beneficial and open to working in person or remotely with team members.
  • Shares leadership and responsibilities with team members and offers help when needed.
  • Finds what people have in common so they can work well as a team and have shared goals.
  • Finds positive ways to deal with conflict on the team and sees setbacks as a way to learn. 

What it means:

  • Knows how empathy and sympathy are different.
  • Builds good relationships with people from diverse backgrounds and values/respects people of different cultures.
  • Asks questions to help understand what others are feeling and builds trust by being honest and mirroring positive nonverbal cues others give.
  • When working with clients, customers, bosses, and peers: Makes decisions based on others' needs and points of view. 

What it means:

  • Considers different points of view and tries to understand why information is being presented the way it is.
  • Connects information from different subject areas and uses critical thinking skills.
  • Sees problems and needs in society, the community, or workplace.
  • Looks at the bigger picture when finding a way to solve a problem.

What it means:

  • Sets priorities and goals, can see possible outcomes to actions, and creates back-up plans.
  • Takes feedback and deals directly with conflict.
  • Able to both listen to others and speak up for oneself.
  • Bounces back when things go wrong by figuring out what happened and how to learn from it. 

What it means:

  • Seeks to learn new things and build skills. 
  • Willing to take risks and learn from mistakes to make improvements.
  • Connects different types of information to create new ideas and ways of doing things.
  • Thinks like an entrepreneur, even when working for others.
  • Understands social entrepreneurship can benefit others as well as oneself. 

What it means:

  • Respects others' background and beliefs.
  • Appreciates what is "normal" changes through experience with diverse peoples and cultures.
  • When your idea of "normal" changes you are open to discovering new ideas.
  • Values social diversity of all types in the work place.
  • Works to be more self-aware and sensitive to others needs in the work place. 

Support from a College of the Desert Faculty Advisor

During the semester, a College of the Desert faculty advisor will meet twice with the student's job site supervisor and the student to ensure the student is progressing through the goals and benefiting their employer. Through this partnership, we enhance student accountability and foster closing the skills gap. 

To receive a final passing grade for a Work Experience Education course, students must:

  • Accomplish or progress towards their learning objectives
  • Apply the 10 21st-century soft skills
  • Work enough hours to satisfy the units enrolled
  • Turn in required course assignments and documents as outlined in the course syllabus