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Academic Career Experience & Service Learning

Co-op & Internships


How can you get experience if you can't get a job? The Delta College ACE Program can help you gain valuable job experience while you're still taking classes; you can participate through a co-op, internship or both.

Academic Career Experience (ACE)

The Academic Career Experience or ACE Program at Delta College is an excellent example of a working partnership between employers and an educational institution. This integration of practical experience and academics results in a win-win situation for the employer, the student and the College. Delta has long recognized the value of practical work experience to strengthen college programs and enhance student education.

ACE will help you learn:

  • about the relationship between class at Delta and life after graduation
  • to develop the career competencies required beyond classroom knowledge
  • to understand the forces at play in the global market and the new economy, and their affect on the workplace, the workforce, and individual lives and careers
  • to make informed decisions about career goals
  • to find career opportunities related to personal and professional objectives to make a difference in the world through your work

What is Cooperative Education?

Cooperative Education (Co-op) is an academic program that allows students to connect academic knowledge with the business and professional world. Co-op expands learning experiences through paid employment in a supervised, educational work setting related to the student’s major field of study or career focus.  A co-op position is a one-year minimum commitment; fall and winter semester enrollment is required and academic credit will be awarded through a related ACE course. Co-op positions range from a minimum of 12 up to 40 hours of work a week; typically, students work 25 hours per week around their school schedule.  Positions are with businesses in our local community.

Benefits of Co-op:

  • Enable students to apply classroom theory to actual work situations.
  • Allows students to test out their interests and develop their long-range career plans and career goals.
  • Enhance the graduates’ marketability by providing on-the-job training.
  • Provides students with a source of financial aid to help defray their educational expenses.
  • Develops a student's overall maturity by strengthening resourcefulness, problem-solving skills, self-confidence, self-discipline, and sense of responsibility.
  • Develops human relations skills through interaction in career settings.

What is an Internship?

An internship is a form of experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skills development in a professional setting. Internships give students the opportunity to gain valuable applied experience and make connections in professional fields they are considering for career paths and give employers the opportunity to guide and evaluate talent. -The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE)

Benefits of Internships:

  • Students gain exposure to real-world problems and issues that perhaps are not found in textbooks.
  • Cultivates adaptability and creativity in a dynamic world.
  • Increases marketability to employers.
  • Allows students to evaluate specific companies or specific careers prior to committing to full-time employment.
  • Provides for ease of transition from being a student to entering the workforce.
  • Increases opportunities within a company for faster advancement and growth.
  • Increases self-confidence in the workplace while developing an expanded network of associates and professionals.
  • Provides a résumé-building experience while applying academic concepts and principles.
  • Experience personal growth and exposure to different job opportunities.
  • Provides hands-on opportunities to work with equipment and technology that may not be available on campus.

What students are saying...

"The biggest thing to learn, based on my growth while in the ACE Program, and the answer to any question can be summed up by one word—responsibility. Responsibility is, by far, the most important take away I have from my experience. It is something that you will be faced with day-in and day-out. It is something that will grow on you as time goes on. I’ve learned to embrace responsibility, realizing that it is the most important factor.  This has helped me evolve from a student to a business professional." – Brandon Pieniozek, second year ACE student, Winter 2013

"During the past two years or so, I have been taking the ACE course because I co-op and go to school. At first I thought this class was silly and pointless, but I really have learned a lot. I have grown in many ways, especially in how I am at work. I have noticed that, throughout the courses, I have started to be much more efficient on the job and feel that my opinion is important. I have started to come forth when I think I have valuable ideas about how something could be done better. I have also noticed that my communication skills have grown greatly. I now know effective ways to communicate praise and criticism and how to phrase questions. I have really seen my confidence grow, and I don’t feel just like a 'co-op.' I feel like a functioning, valuable part of the company. – Katie Williams, second year ACE student, Winter 2013

"ACE has really taught me a lot about the work place but, more so, they taught me a lot about myself. From taking the related courses, I’ve learned that I am a leader and that I like to take charge in a group situation. I’ve also learned that I like to include everyone and make it a habit to make everyone feel welcomed and their voices heard. These things I have learned about myself have helped me decide which direction I want to go with my future career. I want to work in human resources specializing in recruiting and onboarding new employees. This is a great fit for my personality and skills sets, and I believe I would thrive here. This is something I would have never considered before taking the ACE classes but have come to realize it will be a great fir for me through the topics discussed in this class." – Alexandra Marvin, second year ACE student, Winter 2013 

"The main point I would express to a new ACE co-op student would be that these classes can and will help to develop personal and long term job skill sets. Even though these classes may seem like such a hassle to be required to take, they really do pay off in the end. I have learned many skills and obtained knowledge that will be very beneficial to me for future endeavors."
– Paige Little, second year ACE student, Fall 2012

"You should know your class is very helpful. The information you have taught, I shared with my girlfriend and I firmly believe it has helped her recent job hunt and secured several interviews."
– anonymous, first year ACE student, Fall 2012

"Both my work experience as well as co-op classes have helped me grow into an exceptional employee. They have helped me gain familiarity with the company I work with now and insight for my future career by characteristics and traits that make a good employee. But most importantly, it has helped me gain a better knowledge of myself as a person, the areas that I excel at, and those that I need to grow on. I have gotten a firmer grasp on the qualities that employers look for; trustworthiness, responsibility, respectfulness, integrity and professionalism, to name a few. Through my work experience at Dow, I have strengthened my communication skills. Speaking to strangers on a day-to-day basis has fortified this ability I didn’t have much of before. I’ve also created many friendships with co-workers and classmates that have made this co-op experience worthwhile! I don’t believe it could have been any better."
– Austin Stemple, third year ACE student, Fall 2012

“My co-op experience has taught me how to deal with people better and also how to become a harder worker. I deal with people and difficult, unexpected situations on a daily basis, so I have really learned how to better deal with them. Learning these things has shown me that I am a good people person, and I can deal with people and situations that I am not necessarily expecting. I really appreciate the program because it allows people to not only work and go to school, but also learn specific things in their career fields. It is very hard to find this in other jobs, and it is something I have come to realize and appreciate. I think there is really not much to change. The program helps many students and employees to study and learn how to be good future workers and prepares us to have success in our futures.” – Zachery Haselhuhn, 3rd year ACE student, Fall 2012

Current Postings

Check out the current internship opportunities (PDF).

Check out the current co-op job postings (PDF).

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