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Work-Based Learning program connects VGCC students with employers

The name is new, but Vance-Granville Community College’s Work-Based Learning program continues a longstanding practice of helping students gain the on-the-job experience they need to complement their classroom studies.


The North Carolina Community College System recently changed the name of the Cooperative Education (or “Co-op”) Work Experience program to “Work-Based Learning” (WBL). The transition to the new name is complete as of the fall semester, which begins Aug. 18.


VGCC Director of Academic and Career Assessment Linda Fletcher said the new name helps to clearly communicate the importance of the program as part of a student’s overall education. “Learning can happen anywhere, but learning while at work is particularly beneficial to both the student and the employer,” Fletcher said. “Work-based learning provides a student not only with relevant, resume-building experience, but also with academic credit that counts toward a degree.” 


WBL usually takes the form of a paid internship. If a student is already employed in a field related to his or her program of study, that job can become a WBL opportunity, with the cooperation of the employer. In all cases, a student, an employer, and VGCC must each make a written agreement that defines the responsibilities of each partner. All kinds of employers have participated in the program in the past, including the college itself.


Several of VGCC’s curriculum programs include WBL as an elective course, including: Accounting; Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration Technology; Automotive Systems Technology; Bioprocess Technology; Business Administration; Computer Information Technology; Computer Technology Integration; Criminal Justice; Electrical Systems Technology; Electronics Engineering Technology; Entrepreneurship; Global Logistics Technology; Information Systems Security; Mechatronics Engineering Technology; Medical Office Administration; Networking Technology; Office Administration; Office Administration/Legal; Paralegal Technology; Simulation & Game Development; and Web Technologies.


In addition, WBL is a requirement of the Culinary Arts and Human Services Technology degree programs.


“Through WBL, our students are able to sharpen their skills, clarify their own goals, earn money and make connections for future employment,” Fletcher said. “This is an important part of fulfilling our college mission of helping students achieve professional and personal success, while also preparing an outstanding local workforce.” Fletcher noted that VGCC is in the midst of a five-year “Quality Enhancement Plan” (QEP) called “Advising in 3D: Dream, Design, Discover,” which is focused in part on improved career planning for students.


Fletcher encourages businesses and organizations in Vance, Granville, Franklin and Warren counties to contact her with their needs and ideas for Work-Based Learning opportunities.


For more information, call Linda Fletcher at (252) 738-3466 or visit the Career Center in room 1358 on Main Campus.