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Work-Based Learning

Contact Information

Sue Schmeichel
Webmaster, Dowagiac Campus
58900 Cherry Grove Road
Dowagiac, Michigan 49047
Phone: 800-456-8675, ext. 1322
Email: wbl@swmich.edu

Work-based learning experiences can help you make career decisions, network with potential employers, select courses of study, and develop job skills relevant to future employment. Through Southwestern Michigan College’s internship programs, students will gain “real world” experience.

Internship vs. Apprenticeship

An internship is an opportunity for a student to gain practical, real-world experience in an occupation while under the supervision at a business placement site.

An apprenticeship is a relationship between an employer and an employee during which the worker/apprentice acquires trade and craft skills and knowledge through Southwestern Michigan College.

Apprenticeships – Related Technical Instruction (RTI)

Southwestern Michigan College provides Related Technical Instruction (RTI) for a number of nationally-recognized occupations. Through SMC’s Division of Workforce Education and Business Solutions (WEBS), the college assists employers in selecting the courses that will supplement the hands-on training the employer provides.

The final decision regarding the related technical instruction is determined by the training needs of the employer. The SMC’s Coordinator of Internships and Apprenticeships can also assist employers in developing or updating their own apprenticeship program, and can aid in the Office of Apprenticeship (OA) registration process.

Upon completion of the on-the-job training and RTI, the apprentice will receive a completion certificate from the U.S. Department of Labor and in many cases, has completed enough credits to receive a certificate of training from SMC. Once the SMC certificate is earned, the apprentice is usually only a few classes away from an Associate in Applied Science degree.

SMC offers a degree completion program for skilled trade journeymen who are recognized by the Office of Apprenticeship. For the journey person status, students will receive 32 credits which may be applied to the Associate in Applied Science degree. The curriculum varies depending on the nature of each apprenticeship program.