KPC program offers many rewards

Posted: Thursday, May 04, 2000

The classroom is not the only place learning is possible.

A new cooperative internship program was recently created at Kenai Peninsula College for the benefit of the student and the local community. The program started in late February and is currently looking for students and employers to participate.

Program coordinator Diane Garcia has worked the past 17 years at the University of Alaska Anchorage in student employment and internships, developing student employment programs.

She said she was brought to KPC to start the internship program on the peninsula. The program is a unique form of education that integrates classroom study with paid, structured and supervised work experience in the public and private business sectors, Garcia said. It also teaches the student the importance of business and community partnerships through on-the-job training.

In order to participate in the internship program, a student must have a declared major, be enrolled in at least six credits, maintain a 2.0 grade point average, work a minimum of 15 hours and have a KPC faculty recommendation.

The program is considered a three-credit course that offers both computer and business internships.

Student are required to work 75 hours per credit for a total of 225 hours. The length of time works out to be about a semester long, Garcia said.

After requirements have been filled and the student has enrolled in the class, it is then time to match a student with an employer.

KPC has the student make a resume that will be on file. The college will then contact an employer and provide them with the student's information.

The employer can then call the student to set up an interview.

"It is like applying for a regular job," Garcia said.

During the internship, both the college and the employer evaluate the placement of the student. At the end of the internship, the student is issued a technical report by the faculty. The employer is not locked into a permanent working relationship with the student, but many students Garcia has overseen in Anchorage were hired for full-time status after the initial program was through, she said.

Students benefit from the program by acquiring experience in working in the field of a major and receiving a grade for the class, as well as being paid for working.

"We try to initiate paid internships," Garcia said. "We feel the students should be compensated for their work."

Students interested do not need to wait for the fall semester, Garcia said, the program can be started at any time.

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