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Academic Career Experience & Service Learning

Employer Information & FAQ

The Academic Career Experience (ACE) Program at Delta College is, simply put, a program that offers students the opportunity to take part in a cooperative (co-op) education or internship experience. It is an excellent example of a working partnership between employers and an education institution and results in a win-win situation for the employer, the student and the College.

The ACE Program is centrally coordinated through the Academic Career Experience & Service Learning Office in cooperation with the various academic divisions (Business, Science, Technical Trades & Manufacturing, etc.) of the College.

As an employer, you've got a great opportunity!  You can hire a Delta College student as a co-op or intern and make a great choice for your business.

Go ahead! Get the help you need at Delta College.

Co-op or Internship?

In both programs, students earn college credit through on-the-job training related to their academic or career goals.  Eligible students will have a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher as determined by the employer. The differences are:

Co-op:     Internship:
  • One-year commitment
  • For-credit
  • Paid position
  • 12-hour minimum work week
  • Work hours scheduled to accommodate class schedule
  • One-semester commitment
  • For-credit
  • Paid or unpaid* positions
  • 180-225 work hours per semester
  • Locations may be in-state or nation-wide

How can my company benefit?

  • You'll get motivated, temporary workers with lower associated costs than permanent employees.
  • Co-op/Intern students bring special skills, current technology and new ideas for projects.
  • Co-op/intern students are qualified employees who can assist with increased business or seasonal demands.
  • Permanent employees are freed up for other, more advanced work.
  • Your workforce can become more diversified by using co-op employees.
  • Your business gains a valuable trial period, with "no strings attached," to observe the co-op/intern for a potential permanent employment offer.
  • Your company demonstrates community leadership and social responsibility as a partner in education.

What does the student gain from the experience?

  • Real-life experience that informs and enhances classroom learning.
  • Employer offers a safe worksite that is free from discrimination and harassment.
  • Mentoring available on a daily basis from professionals in the workplace and end-of-semester evaluations with suggestions for improvement.
  • Concurrent ACE courses offer ongoing professional development.
  • Workplace often offers varying assignments and increasing complexity of work activities.

What are my responsibilities?

  • Provide a supervised work experience related to a Delta College program
  • Provide a position description with responsibilities and learning experiences to the ACE staff
  • Interview and hire based on student credentials provided by the ACE staff
  • Communicate expectations (work schedules, supervision, safety regulations, appearance, personnel policies and other procedures) to the co-op/intern.
  • Provide supervision and evaluation of the student’s work performance
  • Communicate with Delta's ACE staff during hiring, when you have concerns and at evaluation time.
  • Provide a safe work environment free of discrimination and harassment.

What programs does Delta offer for co-op/interns?

  • Accounting
  • Allied Health Sciences
  • Architectural Technology
  • Biology
  • Chemical Technology
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Applications
  • Criminal Justice/Corrections, Law Enforcement, Security
  • Engineering & Engineering Technology
  • Environmental Technology
  • Management and Marketing Management
  • Office Professions
  • Any many more...

What about wages?

Co-op students and interns are paid by their employers.  Some non-profit internships are unpaid.  Wages should be fair, competitive and commensurate with wages paid to full-time employees for similar work and with consideration made for training and experience.  Benefits are optional and are determined by the employer.

Employers are required to pay workers' compensation and Employer FICA taxes, as well as withhold and pay employee payroll taxes.

Co-op student wages are excluded from unemployment insurance while students are registered for academic credit.

*To pay or not to pay?

To help you answer this question, take a look at What Employers Need to Know about Unpaid Internships.

How do I Create a Successful Co-op/Internship Relationship?

First of all, determine your goal, as an employer, in hiring a co-op/intern.  Do you have a need to fill a position temporarily?  Is it a way of screening future permanent employees?

  • Give the student a sample of work activities, with varying responsibilities, and with increasing depth and breadth of experience.
  • Teach them not only what to do, but also why to do it that way.
  • Observe how they interact with others who work around them.
  • Mentor them.


Do you need to staff a shorter-term project, one that you simply don’t have the expertise or additional hours to accomplish, using your regular workforce?

  • Hire an intern for one semester or a co-op student for a year. The project gets done using temporary staff with no expectation of continuing employment beyond the assignment.
  • If the project has a definite end time, we understand. It’s helpful for us as co-op managers and for the student to be aware that this project will not to be renewed after its semester or year-end.
  • If the student is working out well, you have the option of offering him/her additional opportunities.


Do you want to help keep our skilled, younger-adult workforce here and working locally, in the Great Lakes Bay Region?

  • A co-op job or internship offers real-world application for their classroom learning – and a starter job may keep them here, preserving our local talent base.
  • Hiring a co-op/intern provides you with fresh talent at minimal expense.
  • You can diversify your workforce by including co-op/intern students.
  • Co-op/intern students are generally highly motivated. They recognize and appreciate the opportunity to work, and their work behavior shows it!


Frequently Asked Questions

I’m interested in hiring an ACE student. How do I start the process?
Contact the ACE Office and we’ll guide you through the process.

What’s the timing involved in finding an ACE student? When should I advertise an opening?
We will post requests for ACE students anytime and usually have applicant files ready to review upon position approval.

What is the difference between an ACE and a part-time job?
ACE is a work experience with specifically defined learning objectives which link to a student’s academic program and career goals. ACE students are required to take an associated ACE course each fall and winter semester in which they are employed. A successful ACE will include growing levels of responsibilities and is a learning experience.

What kind of paperwork do I need to complete?
The process is simple and requires very little paperwork. You will be asked to complete and submit an ACE Student Credential Request form and sign a training agreement. We will also ask you to complete a brief performance evaluation form each semester.

How do ACE students get graded? Am I responsible for assigning a letter grade?
Each semester you have an ACE student you will be asked to complete a performance evaluation, which comprises 50% of the student’s grade for the co-op or internship. The other half of the grade is based on their performance in the required ACE course. The student’s final grade is issued by the faculty member teaching the course.

How rigorous should the ACE work assignments be? I don’t want to overwork them but want to make sure they are challenged.
We encourage you to challenge our students! They are bright and energetic; they come to you full of ideas, enthusiasm and a willingness to learn and succeed. We want them to have a rigorous work experience and to be exposed to the various aspects of your organization. The keys to a successful working experience for both the ACE student and the employer are ongoing communication and mentoring.

Contact Us

Academic Career Experience
A008 - West Courtyard Level
1961 Delta Road University Center MI  48710
P:  (989) 686-9474
F: (989) 686-1395

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