Workplace Learning

Work-Based Learning

Work-based learning is a semester-long, for-college-credit course commonly called co-op. Instead of earning credit by attending class in a traditional classroom setting, students in the work-based learning course earn credit and gain experience by working with an employer in a position directly related to their field of study.

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. Contact Workplace Learning for more information.

Learn More About Work-Based Learning

  • Information for Students

    • Review our list of approved programs (PDF) that have work-based learning.
    • Complete 160 hours for a one-credit class or 320 hours for a two-credit class during a semester.
    • We encourage employers to pay students, but not all work-based learning experiences are paid. In some programs of study, the work experience must be unpaid due to licensure restrictions.

    Student Eligibility for Work-based Learning

    To ensure a successful work experience, each program has coursework requirements that must be completed in order to take a WBL/co-op course. Please contact the Workplace Learning office for details. Plan to meet two to three months before you would like to begin working.

  • Information for Faculty

    Faculty Coordinators work directly with students who are interested or enrolled in a work-based learning (WBL) class. Both full-time and part-time instructors can serve as Faculty Coordinators for Workplace Learning work-based learning courses, provided that you have met required credentialing to teach in the specific field of study.

    Please note the distinction between the work-based learning courses offered by Workplace Learning and WBL 110. An exempt, staff employee who has earned an associate degree from a regionally-accredited institution can be credentialed to teach WBL 110.

    Work-Based Learning Faculty Coordinator Responsibilities

    • Determine if a student meets the program’s eligibility requirements.
    • Approve the student’s work-based learning application.
    • Recommend employer worksites based on students' knowledge, skills, and abilities.
    • Approve Measurable Learning Objectives (MLOs).
    • Conduct at least one employer visit before the semester ends.
    • Review the workbook and assigning a grade.
    • Submit paperwork in a timely manner and adhering to NCCCS regulations.
    • Promote the benefits of work-based learning/co-op to both students and employers.

    Work-Based Learning Forms for Faculty

    Contact the campus campus coordinator for further clarification on Workplace Learning policies and procedures.

  • Information for Employers

    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.

    Employer Benefits

    • 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 needed in the local workforce.

    How to Get Started

    Getting started is easy. Please call 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.

    Responsibilities for Employers

    Once you select your student, we ask that employers 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 employers to pay 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. Employers are not required to provide work-based learning students with health insurance or other employee benefits. An employer is expected to comply with state laws regarding Worker's Compensation Liability Insurance, and to verify if their 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 employers to contact both the Workplace Learning office and the Faculty Coordinator immediately if issues occur during the semester.

    Policies for Employers

    Harassment and Discrimination

    Central Piedmont Community College 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 his or her 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. Click here for more information. 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 a Workplace Learning Coordinator to see if their business is eligible to host a Co-op or Intern participant.