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Student Services

Experiential Learning Activities

Experiential Learning is an opportunity for an individual to develop skills and knowledge through direct experiences. These direct experiences allow individuals to explore majors and investigate occupational interest areas through real or simulated job experiences.

This is known as Career Exploration. Career exploration can include the following: informational interviews, volunteering, internships, industry tours, class projects, taking a class, attending an employer panel, etc.

One of the best ways to learn more about an occupation, a company, or an industry is to actually speak with someone who is in that profession, organization, or field. An informational interview is a focused fact-gathering session with a professional in a career that interests you. It is an excellent tool for any student, job-seeker, or career-changer to:

  • Gather important information from industry experts on the realities of a particular career field or industry
  • Learn more about the work environment or culture of an organization
  • Discover the skills necessary to succeed within a particular profession and how to develop them
  • Network with specialists within a field of interest and gain referrals to other professionals in the same field
  • Evaluate whether or not a particular career fits your interests, values, skills, and lifestyle
  • Practice your interviewing skills and build confidence for future interview opportunities.

Are you interested in gaining practical skills in a specific work environment or becoming involved in your community? Are you considering exploring a different career field or changing jobs? If your answer is “Yes!” to any of these questions, then you should consider Volunteering. Volunteering is an excellent, relatively risk-free way to obtain exposure to a work field or setting without having to make a long-term commitment. In addition, read MCTC’s Volunteer How To Guide.

Volunteering also has many benefits. As a Volunteer, you can:

  • Build on your existing skills; develop new personal and work-related skills
  • Discover new interests or passions that you were unaware of
  • Enhance your education by getting hands-on experience in an organizational setting
  • Improve your resume and look more attractive to employers. Volunteering suggests that you are a team player—a quality that many employers are looking for in a potential employee
  • Network with individuals in an area that interests you
  • Become connected with your community. As a volunteer, you can make a difference in your community—and that can make you feel good about yourself!

Check out these sites for volunteer opportunities:

According to the National Society for Experiential Education, an Internship is “A carefully monitored work or volunteer experience in which an individual has intentional learning goals and reflects actively on what he or she is learning through the experience.”

Some of the key elements of an Internship are:

  • An Internship provides on-site work-related experience in a career field of interest
  • An Internship is supervised by a Site Supervisor. Student Interns create academic, professional, and personal goals, which the Site Supervisor consistently evaluates them on and provides feedback on throughout the internship experience.
  • Internships can be paid or nonpaid; for credit or not-for-credit.
  • Help you gain exposure to real-world problems and issues
  • Provide the opportunity to evaluate different companies and careers
  • Facilitate the development of a network of professionals for you to utilize in the future when you are job searching
  • Lead to increased job placement outcomes and higher wages

For further information on internships check out MCTC’s handouts:

Check out these sites to find internships:

 

Hopefully, you are at the stage of making a decision about the major/career because of multiple experiential learning opportunities.

Check out the "Job Search Resources" tab on how to represent and communicate your skills and experiences developed from an experiential learning activity to an employer. The goal is to build a network with professionals and become job ready to pursue the career of your choice.

Using Career Services to Get Ahead

Ahmed-MCTC

"When I started college, I didn't know what I wanted to study or what my skill level was. The Career Services staff helped me understand my strengths, areas for improvement, how to develop work ethics and how to network. I was able to drawn on their experience and knowledge base to get ahead in life."

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$3.3 Million Grant Means Customized Training for Pioneer Press, Gedney Foods

Training at MCTC.

With help from a $3.3 million MN Job Skills Partnership grant to MnSCU, MCTC's Division of Continuing Education and Customized Training will provide uniquely designed programs for the St. Paul Pioneer Press and Gedney Foods.

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