Rend Lake College recently received $23,140 in funding through the Illinois Cooperative Work Study Program, an increase of $1,640 over the previous year.
Approximately 15 RLC students and countless grade and high school students throughout the district are expected to benefit from the funding from the Illinois Board of Higher Education during the coming school year.
Rend Lake College students will provide classroom assistance and individual tutoring for young learners in 10 districts thanks to the monetary award, with each institution matching payroll costs from the IBHE grant to double the earned income potential of RLC participants.
Cooperative education, commonly referred to as co-op, on-job training or internship, is a method of instruction which provides an opportunity for students to be employed in their fields of study and earn college credit for their work. Most co-op positions are paid ones.
In this case, the Cooperative Work Study Program Grant is designed primarily to enable Education and related majors a chance to practice in their chosen fields.
The primary objectives of the ICWS program are to benefit students academically and financially, to reduce reliance on student loans through added income, to enhance public-private partnerships and to encourage students to seek permanent employment in Illinois.
The Cooperative Education program is in the process of recruiting Education majors to be employed as student assistants in Franklin, Jefferson, Hamilton and Perry counties. Qualified students work 15-20 hours per week and are paid minimum wage. Students can earn up to four college credits each semester.
Obvious benefits are to the host schools and the young students who receive mentoring support and potential role models.
"For our students, the primary benefit is the fact it gives education majors a first-hand opportunity to see if teaching really is what they want to do for a career," said Paula Myers, Community and Corporate Education Specialist at RLC. "The academic and professional work experience is tremendous. It better prepares students for the teacher education programs at their four-year schools. It also helps our students pay for their college educations and earn college credit."
Area schools participating in the RLC Cooperative Work-Study Grant Program include Akin Community Consolidated School District 91, Benton Consolidated High School, Benton District 47, Bethel Grade School, Dodds District 7, Field District 3, Hamilton County Schools, Mt. Vernon District 80, Opdyke-Belle Rive Grade School, Pinckneyville District 50, and Sesser-Valier Schools.
The Cooperative Education Work-Study Grant Program is open to students who have completed at least 12 semester hours of college credit and have a grade-point average of 2.0 or better. Students must be making demonstrable progress toward their selected majors.