Salish Kootenai College Joins Cooperative Education ProgramNov 15th, 1992 | By jgrayreddish | Category: 4-3: Indian Research, Tribal College News
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.”