Recruit Students for Apprenticeships, Internships, and Work-based Learning (Co-op)

Learn how you can recruit Central Piedmont students for apprenticeships, internships, and work-based learning (cooperative education, or co-op) opportunities at your company.

Students, learn how you can participate in apprenticeship, internship, and work-based learning opportunities.


Apprenticeships are long-term, paid positions that let students earn college credit while getting valuable on-the-job skills at your company.

  • About

    Apprenticeships combine coursework with paid, on-the-job training at one company over a 12–48 month period. Apprenticeships are an effective recruiting and training strategy for your company, even for jobs beyond the traditional trade skills.

    Today, North Carolina's apprenticeship program is under the NC Community College System and coordinated by the Department of Labor. Central Piedmont's apprenticeships offers a customized program to fit your company's business needs.

    • Benefits

      • establish job training standards and expectations
      • develop loyal, skilled employees who value company culture
      • nurture your own pipeline of talent for hard-to-fill positions
      • validate your work force as state registered journeymen
    • Get Started

      We typically help employers work with the state to set up an apprenticeship program, particularly in the initial set-up and creation of agreements. Employers with a signed state agreement are ready to begin a registered apprenticeship. With this as a part of your training strategy, you can rely on the college to deliver:

      • administrative support for the candidate intake process
      • coordination of state recognition activities and agreement process
      • detailed information on the required and elective course work, available with certificate, diploma, or degree requirements
      • convenient sponsorship option to Central Piedmont (payment process)

      Here is the process for setting up an apprenticeship:

      1. Experienced Workplace Learning staff visits your site to understand your specific job requirements.
      2. Central Piedmont recommends programs that match your job skill needs.
      3. A state liaison aligns the occupational title with the educational component and on-the-job-training hours.
      4. We work jointly to recruit top candidates based on your selection and hiring process.

      Email us to learn more about apprenticeships

    • What to Expect

      The following scenario is a typical sequence when establishing an apprenticeship program:

      • Meeting 1: We learn about your unique objectives and operations. We also introduce our team and share details about the apprenticeship program, the potential advantages to employers, offer case studies and student examples. Often, this happens onsite at your company and includes a tour for Central Piedmont faculty and/or a workplace counselor.
      • Meeting 2: We invite you to our campus and lab facilities where you may interact with students and faculty. In this meeting, we discuss how our learning objectives and student skills can be applied in your workplace.
      • Meeting 3: If we've determined a good fit, the third meeting will be to plan the details of the implementation. We'll go over guidelines and expectations, so that we can best evaluate the experience.


    Internships are flexible, non-degree work experiences that let current students or recent graduates enrolled in participating for-college-credit or continuing education programs explore a career or gain practical field experience in their field. Positions may be paid (recommended) or unpaid and may be short- or long-term.

    • Work Schedule

      Internships can be an effective recruiting and training strategy for your company.

      In an internship, the student's work schedule's start and end dates are flexible depending on your needs and the student's schedule; students coordinate a set schedule with you. Students have no minimum hour project requirement. Project work, contract-based, time-based internships can range from a weekend experience to an entire year in length.

    • Get Started

      Contact the Workplace Learning office to learn more about internships.

    Work-Based Learning (Co-op)

    Work-based learning (commonly called co-op) is a course in which students earn college credit by spending a semester working with you in a position directly related to their field of study instead of earning credit by attending class in a traditional classroom setting. Positions may be paid (recommended) or unpaid.

    • Benefits

      Let our students' success contribute directly to your company's success. In work-based learning, students work a specified number of hours over the semester in order to receive college credit. As the employer, you get a unique opportunity to evaluate the student's performance and contribution before making a longer-term commitment. Other benefits include:

      • Introduce students to your company work ethic, requirements, and operations.
      • Gain a competitive edge by having a strong role in the education of future full-time or part-time employees.
      • Evaluate prospective employees before making a long-term commitment.
      • Engage with students. By learning from each other, the college can better prepare your future workforce.
      • Ongoing and active partnerships help the college produce well-qualified graduates with relevant skills the local workforce needs.
    • Get Started

      Work-based learning courses (WBL) start at the beginning of every semester at Central Piedmont (August, January, and May) and are offered in over 40 programs. Please contact our office 4-8 weeks prior to start the recruiting process.

      After partnering with Central Piedmont's work-based learning program, you will not be assigned a student immediately. Hiring a work-based learning student mirrors the hiring process for a new employee. Once the position is approved by the Workplace Learning office, we market the opportunity to faculty and eligible students in the relevant program(s) of study. In order to participate, students must meet minimum requirements, which often includes completion of a specified portion of their program's curriculum prior to the work experience. Students also have to be approved by their Faculty Coordinator. Once interested students apply to the position, you will interview and select the student whom you consider to be the best match according to the needs of your company.

    • Your Responsibilities

      Once you select your student, we ask that you provide students with a supportive work environment to put theory into practice. Supervisors help students develop three learning goals to work on over the course of the semester. In addition, providing regular feedback and completing the employer evaluation at the end of the semester helps students identify their strengths and weaknesses.

      You may list the work-based learning position as paid or unpaid, but we strongly encourage you to pay your students. Paid positions typically elicit a greater response from students. Certain programs of study that prepare students for licensure require work experiences to be unpaid. Employers should review the Department of Labor's fact sheet regarding unpaid internships in the for-profit sector (PDF). The Workplace Learning office cannot determine if a business is in compliance with the Department of Labor guidelines. You are not required to provide work-based learning students with health insurance or other employee benefits. You are expected to comply with state laws regarding Worker's Compensation Liability Insurance, and to verify if your policy covers students/interns.

      Occasionally, an employer/student partnership does not work out. The Workplace Learning office makes every effort to resolve the situation. We encourage you to contact both the Workplace Learning office and the Faculty Coordinator immediately if you have any issues during the semester.

    • Policies

      Harassment and Discrimination

      Central Piedmont is committed to the practice of equal opportunity and non-discrimination in personnel policies and intends that employees of the college and citizens of its service area shall be made aware of this commitment. All matters related to selection, compensation, benefits, promotion, social and recreational programs, and all treatment on the job will be free of discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, gender, disability, age, genetic information, or any other legally protected classification.

      Discriminatory harassment is any behavior by an individual which improperly singles out, stigmatizes, or victimizes an employee or student to the employee’s or student’s detriment because of race, sex, religion, national origin, age, or handicap. Discriminatory harassment includes, but is not limited to, sexual and verbal harassment.

      It is each employee’s or student’s responsibility to ensure that your conduct does not include or imply discriminatory harassment in any form. A participating co-op or Intern of the college can report harassment or suspected harassment to the appropriate faculty coordinator, Workplace Learning coordinator, Workplace Learning director, or the college’s director of equal opportunity. Participants may also want to familiarize themselves with the procedures for reporting and investigating harassment or suspected harassment within their company or agency of employment.

      Accident Insurance

      Specific classes require student accident insurance and the fee will be included in the student’s tuition. Coverage starts at the beginning of the term and stops at the end of the term.

      Professional Liability Insurance

      Participants enrolled in the human services programs of study must purchase Professional Liability insurance through Central Piedmont. Coverage starts at the beginning of the term and stops at the end of the term.

      Worker’s Compensation

      Employers are expected to provide Worker's Compensation Liability Insurance coverage, as applicable, according to state law.

      Unpaid Co-ops or Internships 

      Co-ops or Internships may be listed as paid or unpaid. When for-profit businesses host unpaid Co-ops or Interns, they should follow the six-point criteria outlined by the U.S. Department of Labor. The Central Piedmont Workplace Learning department cannot determine if a business is in compliance with the criteria.

      Unemployment Insurance

      Federal and state law prohibits a student from collecting unemployment insurance after a paid Co-op ends.

      Home-Based Businesses

      Home-based business owners should contact the Workplace Learning department to see if their business is eligible to host a Co-op or Intern participant.

    • Posting Paid Internships

      Our Career Services department manages the student job board, Handshake. You can post your paid internships, jobs, and events for free on this platform. 

      The following guides can assist you with creating an account and posting your positions on Handshake.

      For questions regarding Handshake, email Employer Relations or call 704-330-6588.


    Workplace learning is a proven way for companies to ensure that employees have the skills they need now and for the future. This model benefits all stakeholders and supports growth and economic development through the success of our students and our business and industry partners.

    • For Employers

      • highly skilled incumbent workers trained to industry and employer-recognized standards
      • Central Piedmont administrative and faculty support for employer-focused talent development
      • increased productivity
      • retention of talented workforce
      • recruit diverse workforce
      • college credit and degree outcomes
      • positive reputation for industry careers
    • For the Region

      • highly skilled workforce
      • more degree credit outcomes
      • sustainable economic growth
      • global competitiveness
      • increased standard of living and quality of life