Goals and Purposes

Learning, Service and Work Well Done

Through the leadership of the Dean of Labor, the Labor Program Council, and countless supervisors and mentors, Berea's Labor Program reflects a unified vision of labor as student and learning centered, as service to the College and broader community, and as necessary work well done.

The Labor Program, a comprehensive Work-Learning-Service program, is an integral and stated part of Berea College’s educational philosophy and program and is designed to serve the following purposes:

  • Supports and provides through experiential learning opportunities the learning of skills, responsibility, habits, attitudes, and processes associated with work;
  • Provide and encourage opportunities for students to pay costs of board, room, and related educational expenses;
  • Provide staff for College operations;
  • Provide opportunities for service to the community and others through labor;
  • Establish a life-style of doing and thinking, action and reflection, service and learning that carries on beyond the college years.

Labor assignments function very much like classes. Beginning at basic levels of work, students are expected to progress to more skilled and responsible levels. Through these experiences, it is expected that student workers will:

  • Develop good work habits and attitudes
  • Gain and understanding of personal interests, skills, and limitations
  • Exercise creativity, problem solving, and responsibility
  • Learn the qualities of leadership, standard setting, and effective supervision

The Labor Program makes it possible for students to know each other as co-workers as well as classmates. More importantly, linking the Academic and Labor Programs establishes a pattern of learning through work that continues long after college.

Labor Supervisor

The Labor Supervisor is the practical instructor within Berea’s labor program, a comprehensive work-learning-service program that is federally recognized under the work college legislation*. The labor supervisor utilizes the learning outcomes derived through the department work assignments to educate the student in regard to both soft skills (teamwork, initiative, attendance…) and specific position skills. The supervisor is also responsible for the certification of the time the student has worked and a mid-point and final evaluation of the student’s performance during the assignment. The supervisor utilizes the labor learning goals, workplace expectations, and the seven performance expectations (attendance, accountability, teamwork, initiative, respect, learning, and position specific requirements) in evaluating the student work performance. The final evaluation score is uploaded to the Labor Transcript.

* Federal legislation defines a Work College as a special type of degree-granting institution where a “comprehensive work-learning-service program” is “an integral and stated part of the institution’s educational philosophy and program”, a “valuable educational approach” and an “integral part of the institution’s educational program and part of a financial aid plan that decreases reliance on grants and loans and encourages students to participate in community service activities”. Berea is one of the eight federally recognized work colleges.

Labor Learning Goals

The Identification of Expected Outcomes (Student Learning Goals)

At Berea College, the Labor Program is an integral and stated part of the educational program as mandated by the Department of Education Work Colleges legislation. It is a competency based (rather than credit hour based) model of learning.  It has clearly defined student learning goals and expected outcomes which are regularly reviewed by the Labor Program Council. The council has comprehensive responsibility for major programmatic changes that affect experiential learning in the program, with specific responsibility regarding evaluation and assessment of labor.  They are also available on the Labor Program’s Goals and Purposes web page which includes the program objectives. The labor supervisor is responsible for articulating, to the student worker, the actual descriptors utilized in evaluating a performance expectation.

Labor Learning Goals

Goal 1 To develop and apply the six soft skills (attendance, accountability, teamwork, initiative, respect, learning) directly related to the work-learning-service level, the description of duties and the learning opportunities sections of the job description.

Expected Outcome: In their labor positions, students will exhibit the good habits of attendance, accountability, teamwork, initiative, respect, and life-long learning.
Goal 2 To develop and apply the hard skills articulated in the work-learning-service level, the description of duties and the learning opportunities sections of the job description.

Expected Outcome: In their labor positions, students will demonstrate through their work, the specific skills and/or attitudes set forth in their job description.
Goal 3 To develop and apply, whenever possible, the four core general education goals (Writer, Speaker, Researcher, Critical Thinker).

Expected Outcome: In each labor position, whenever possible, students will: exhibit skills in writing that applies to their work; successfully communicate information, thoughts and ideas; identify through discovery, data or ideas that support advances in their work; and demonstrate the ability to analyze and interpret ideas that benefit the work place.
Goal 4 To work in labor positions that support the student’s academic goal and/or field of interest.

Expected Outcome: Students will develop skills and professional attitudes related to their academic major, career, and or personal interests.
Goal 5 To progress over time to more skilled and responsible levels of work, as defined by the seven Work-Learning-Service levels.

Expected Outcome: Students, upon graduation, will have advanced to a WLS leadership level (4, 5, 6, or UC).

Workplace Expectations

The Workplace Expectations were adopted by the Administrative Committee in 1998 as a means of articulating common expectations for work and learning at Berea College. Faculty, staff and students comprise one workforce at Berea, and all are charged with upholding these guiding principles:

Exhibit Enthusiasm for Learning:

Striving to learn and to grow both intellectually and personally so everyone is a learner.

Act with Integrity and Caring:

Exhibiting honesty, trustworthiness, and compassion in one’s work and relationships.

Value all People:

Working to create an inclusive and respectful workplace that models the Great Commitments and seeks to find the best in all people.

Work as a Team:

Developing collaborative and team oriented abilities that will create a community of mutual respect, common vision, and shared accomplishments.

Serve Others:

Nurturing a climate of excellence in service that is responsive to others needs.

Encourage Plain and Sustainable Living:

Promoting a sustainable way of life through policies and practices in the workplace.

Celebrate Work Well Done:

Striving for excellence in all aspects of work and celebrating individual and collective accomplishments.

Position Description

In addition to general workplace expectations, the College establishes position descriptions to set expectations for specific positions. Each position description contains the following information: department name, position title, assigned work hours per week, WLS Levels, itemized description of duties, list of learning opportunities, and outline of basic and desirable qualifications.

Position descriptions are prepared by each department in consultation with the Labor Program Office. Copies are centrally maintained for all departments, and a new draft must be submitted whenever a department upgrades an existing position description or creates a new one. All students should be familiar with their individual position descriptions so that they understand the position’s expectations and opportunities. This aids in establishing good work habits and in developing language for resumes and position interviews on campus and job interviews off campus.

Financial Aid

A crucial form of financial assistance at Berea College is available through the Student Labor Program. All students enrolled in an academic term (Fall, Spring, Summer) or working a summer practicum earn a work scholarship, in which a portion, the Labor Grant, is applied directly to the cost of education (“tuition”) each term or summer period. The amount applied is: $4,500 (Fall); $4,500 (Spring); and $4,000 during the summer for taking classes or working 8 week or more. The final portion of the work scholarship is the primary source of direct aid, providing $2,050 to $3,000 per year to assist in covering educational costs and personal expenses. The direct aid portion received (based on hours worked), in combination with the student’s earnings on and off campus during the summer months, are used to pay a portion of the student’s room, board, fees, and other educational expenses incurred during the academic year.

Note: The direct scholarship payments received are not subject to withholding or FICA. However, a scholarship tax liability might apply and is dependent on the total amount of non-qualified aid received during the year. The Financial Aid office provides students annually with a tax letter that assists the student in determining the amount of taxable aid income received.

Berea College expects every student to save approximately $1,000 from summer earnings to assist with costs associated with attendance for the next academic year. While the College does not bill students for an additional $1,000 as a result of the summer savings expectation, some students choose to use their savings to assist with their Term Bill. Ideally, when the Term Bill obligation is met through the family’s contribution, the summer savings can be used to assist with indirect college expenses like transportation, books, supplies, and personal and miscellaneous expenses.