PROTO Earn and Learn Program

What is the Earn and Learn Program?

The Earn and Learn Program is an employment program that provides full-time, part-time or internship opportunities with businesses that are actively seeking to attract and retain employees while students are currently enrolled at Metropolitan Community College.

The Earn and Learn Program is part of the Project PROTO. Project PROTO (Providing Realistic On-ramps to Technology Occupations) assists student participants in attending sustainable careers in information technology.

How does the Earn and Learn Program benefit students?

The Earn and Learn Program provides students with early, hands-on experience and on-the-job training in high-demand, high-skill, high-paying industries. Students can earn a livable wage while completing their education. 

The marriage of experience and education makes student candidates more desirable to employers.

Students gain early exposure to the job application process, including resume building, job search skills, professional interviews, employability skills and networking skills.

How is this better than a regular internship?

By participating in the Earn and Learn Program, students can take advantage of tailored employment opportunities using the direct connections their instructors have with business partners.

Can students earn credit?

Students may earn credit for being in the Earn and Learn Program. 

Details are provided in the MCC catalog.

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Earn and Learn prepares students for what types of positions?

Here is a partial list of IT jobs and potential salaries:
business intelligence developer - $25 per hour
computer programmer - $37 per hour
data center technician - $27 per hour
desktop support specialist - $23 per hour
security technician - $34 per hour
server technician - $26 per hour
web developer - $26 per hour

Students can work 20 to 40 hours per week on various shifts depending upon their class schedules and the needs of the business.
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Which businesses employ students?

MCC business partners constantly grow and expand. A current list of premier business partners includes:
Mutual of Omaha
Catch Intelligence
Fidelity Investments
West Corporation
First Data
CoSentry / TierPoint Data Center
Sirius Computer Solutions

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How long does it take?

It takes at least six  to nine months in the PROTO program before students are eligible for job placement. During the six to nine months, students should complete seven core IT classes. Most Earn and Learn placements start off as three-month, paid internships that can evolve into permanent positions.

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How much does it pay?

Business partners participating in the Earn and Learn Program typically pay between $18.00 to $23.00 per hour. The pay rate is determined by the business and the student’s qualifications.
Some starting pay rates may be higher or lower than what is stated here.
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What are eligibility requirements?

Successfully complete at least seven core courses of any Information Technology program at MCC.
Earn a National Career Readiness Certificate.
Earn a National Work Ethic Certificate.
Maintain 3.0 or higher GPA in IT courses.
Maintain good academic and conduct standing.
Complete Career Plan.
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How do students get started?

Contact the PROTO office at:
531-MCC-2640 or
Enroll in the PROTO program.
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How does the Earn and Learn Program work for businesses?

Before candidates come to you, they complete:
Career exploration Mock interviews
Resumes and cover letters Gallup Strengths Finder
National Career
Readiness Certification
National Work Ethic
Other opportunities for professional development, such as workshops
Seven Information Technology core courses:
Intro to Information Technology Windows Operating System
Intro to Computer Programming Linux Operating System
Networking Essentials Web Page Creation
Intro to Database Design

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We do the initial background work for you. MCC pre-qualifies IT-focused students with a 3.0 or higher GPA who are professional and driven. Because of the quality of candidates, you are more likely to retain the students you’ve hired. 
We know the challenges faced by today’s employers when attempting to recruit and retain well-qualified individuals. As a result, MCC’s Earn and Learn Program seeks to match students to specific information technology opportunities.

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What jobs are Earn and Learn students pursuing? 

business intelligence developer
Cisco administrator
computer programmer
data center technician
help desk technician
security technician
server technician
web developer

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What does MCC hope to accomplish with the Earn and Learn program?

Through the MCC Earn and Learn Program, we:
Develop a pipeline for employers to obtain high-quality candidates in high-growth industries.
Prepare students to enter the workforce by providing them with employability skills.
Design a transferable path to baccalaureate instruction.
Stimulate economic and workforce development by providing opportunities for students to earn a livable wage.
For more information, contact an MCC business liaison:
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What quality of candidates will I receive?

In addition to students who possess high-technical qualifications, we prepare students by providing training in soft skills such as reliability, teamwork and dependability. Essential job skills, such as critical thinking and problem-solving are infused into our IT curriculum, so you get candidates with in-demand competencies. Moreover, our career navigators educate students on career mapping, resume writing, interviewing skills and more.

Students who are part of our MCC Project PROTO receive the opportunity to identify their Gallup Strengths, employability skills and earn a National Career Readiness Certificate from the American College Test organization (ACT).
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What are the expectations for our community partners?

We expect community partners to provide supports similar to what a student would experience with an internship, for example: a 90-day trial period, relevant work experience, mentor-like supervision, flexibility with student class schedules and opportunities to transition to a permanent position.
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How do I get started?

1. Contact an MCC business liaison when you anticipate or currently have information technology openings.
2. Submit your open position description(s) on our Project PROTO website for students to view.
3. Students will review open positions and use the method of contact you prefer.
4. From there, you handle the interviewing and hiring process following the normal procedures for your company.
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