Experiential Learning is an excellent opportunity for students to gain real-world experience while enrolled at VHCC. It incorporates classroom learning with realistic job site experience. Participating students have the opportunity to improve post-graduate job prospects and to learn valuable job-search skills including how to write an effective resume and prepare for a job interview. Successful students can also help to mitigate employers’ concerns about hiring individuals with little or no experience.
Below are the Experiential Learning options available at Virginia Highlands Community College:
- On-Site Training/Cooperative Education (for College Credit)
- Externship (Non-Credit)
- Service Learning Projects (Non-Credit)
What are the benefits of employing an Experiential Learner?
The main objective of any Experiential Learning Program is to better prepare students for the workforce by providing them with a skill set that makes them increasingly more marketable to potential employers. Although that is the primary goal, there are many other benefits to participating in an Experiential Learning Program. These benefits include:
- Offering employers a cost-effective program for recruiting highly qualified and motivated students to meet company needs.
- Providing well-prepared short-term employees to assist current employees, so they have opportunity to pursue higher projects.
- Meeting peak or seasonal needs without a long-term commitment.
- Offering a low-cost method of training potential future employees.
- Creating a recruiting edge on campus.
- Identifying potential hires, a pipeline for candidates.
- Acting as a recruiting activity with low risk.
- Providing an opportunity for supervisory experience for developing employees.
- Acquiring short term talent.
- Providing the organization with fresh ideas.
- Fulfilling civic and professional responsibility by providing students with real work experience.
- Obtaining low-cost, high quality labor.
- Building relationships with local colleges.
- Increasing diversity.
What are my responsibilities as an employer of an Experiential Learner?
The employer agrees to provide at least 75 hours of employment per semester for an Externship and 75-375 hours of employment per semester for On-Site Training/Cooperative Education. The number of hours worked for a student enrolled in On-Site Training/Cooperative Education will determine the course credits earned. The employer will identify a qualified employee to serve as the Job Supervisor, who will assist the student in developing and evaluating Measurable Learning Objectives, supervise the student, and evaluate the student’s work experience. The employer agrees to permit on-the-job visit(s) by a designated VHCC representative. The employer will also encourage the student to complete his/her program of study. If this is a Cooperative Education experience or an Externship, the employer agrees to provide pay at a level consistent with other employees in a similar training situation.
Forms and Documentation
- Experiential Learning Application for Co-op/On-Site Training and Assumption of Risk Form
- Experiential Learning Job Placement Agreement
- Measurable Learning Objectives Form
- Student Time/Wage Report
- Self-Evaluation of Experiential Learning Student
- Employer/Job Supervisor Evaluation of Experiential Learning Student