When McMinn County native Todd Appleton first enrolled in Cleveland State Community College’s cooperative education class a few years ago, he didn’t realize this experience would one day help him land his dream job.

Appleton, a non-traditional student, was returning to school after having taken a break for several years. While trying to decide on his coursework and major, the cooperative education course was mentioned as something that could benefit him.

“I found out about the cooperative education course and work-based learning program from my advisor at the time,” stated Appleton.

“It was appealing to me because it was a way to get college credit for working, so I thought, why not?”

According to Marci Reiter, director of Work-Based Learning/Advanced Technologies Institute, the cooperative education courses are a valuable work-based learning experience that gives students the opportunity for hands-on training in their career field. She said that employers recognize students’ participation in these courses as on-the-job training which can provide students an edge as they start out in a career after graduation.

In addition to on-the-job training, the cooperative education courses also assist students in creating effective resume portfolios, creating a personalized job search strategy and networking pitch, as well as learning about proactive interviewing and how to differentiate yourself from other candidates.

For Appleton, the work-based learning experience led to a paid internship in the graphic design field.

“This opened my eyes to the importance of networking and how the industry works. Although, I didn’t realize it at the time, the internship that Marci found for me provided me with the experience and skills needed to be able to pursue my dream job,” he said.

In January of this year, Appleton accepted an offer for his dream job when he was hired for the Web and New Media Specialist position at Cleveland State Community College.

“I absolutely love my new job,” stated Appleton. “I love working in higher education and getting to do something different each day. The work-based learning experience and internship gave me the tools and not to mention the confidence, to be successful.”

He also had positive words for Reiter, as well.

“Marci is very easy to work with. She is extremely knowledgeable and tech-savvy, which helps when you are enrolled in an online class,” he said. “I’m very appreciative of her and this program; it changed my life.”

For more information on the CSCC cooperative education courses and work-based learning on campus, contact Reiter at (423) 614-8748 or e-mail mreiter@clevelandstatecc.edu

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