Salish Kootenai College Joins Cooperative Education Program

Nov 15th, 1992 | By | Category: 4-3: Indian Research, Tribal College News
By Jennifer Gray Reddish

Student Buck Marigeau looks over Co-op Education announcements.

In Fall 1992, Salish Kootenai College joined the ranks of two thousand other colleges in the national Cooperative Education, or “Co-op ed,” program.

The college received a three year grant to begin the program in 1992, which integrates classroom experi­ence with paid job placements in the community. The program encourages students to gain practical skills they may not acquire within the college community.

Career exploration is the key to cooperative education. “The pro­gram allows students who, for exam­ple, think they might like to teach a chance to work in a school,” Tish Harries, Salish Kootenai’s job developer, explains. “This way, they can see whether or not they want to teach.”

The program itself is simple. All students who have completed a quarter at Salish Kootenai, have a 2.0 grade point average, and submit an application are eligible. Each intern can earn three to twelve credits as a part-time or full-time employee.

Candidates for internships select their own sites from weekly adver­tisements. Sometimes, the student’s present employment qualifies as an appropriate internship. However, the school provides assistance if the student is unable to find job oppor­tunities in his career field.

Cooperative education provides benefits for the business commun­ity, the school and the students. Students learn whether or not they have chosen the right career path. The business community, which makes an investment by offering internships, is rewarded with qual­ified, experienced workers after graduation. Also, the program allows Salish Kootenai to discover how well their curriculum responds to the needs of the busi­ness community.

“Co-op Ed” represents the primary goal of tribal college: to produce graduates who are able to support themselves and help their communi­ties. The school’s flyer describes “Co­op ed” in one statement: “It offers real jobs for real pay.”

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