Looking to integrate your learning and work experience and develop professional skills and connections?
The KI Works program provides a structure for your summer job that does just that.
An optional program for KI students, you can enroll if you have a summer job that is relevant to your degree interests or career aspirations. (A term of full-time employment at another time of the year could qualify for the KI Works program if you're returning to KI studies following the job.)
You’ll complete pre-employment and post-employment reflections that will help you connect your job experience with your in-class learning and personal and professional development. Regular meetings and structured formative feedback from your manager will help you identify areas for improvement on the job. And an end-of-employment evaluation will form part of your KI Works record, accompanied by a Chair’s letter explaining the program and detailing your performance.
Although it is not an accredited co-op program, KI Works shares most of the same requirements and will thus be evidence of the same kind of experience and learning that employers have become used to in Waterloo graduates.
Examples of previous KI Works students:
- Civic Innovation Assistant at a Civic Innovation Lab including co-creating tools and materials for prototyping and rapid experiment of ideas, assisting with creation of productive lab working sessions using design thinking methodologies, social media, data analysis.
- Social Media Support Intern at a high-tech company, running the Twitter channel, writing for the blog, and developing multimedia.
- Assistant Director at a summer camp implementing programs, managing staff, and helping plan for continued expansion.
Trades Interpreter at a heritage village immersive museum, dressed in period costume, leading programming while demonstrating blacksmithing and leather work.
Summer Field Technician at an agriculture research foundation doing data collection, implementing treatment protocols, routine trial maintenance, and technology transfer.
Another great KI Works-eligible opportunity: check out Enterprise Co-op Stream 2 where you can work on solving specific, billion-dollar problems identified by the Problem Lab.
Interested in learning more or enrolling?
Check out the frequently asked questions below or complete the KI Works Job Description form now!
How does KI Works work?
The program consists of three phases structured around your job: pre-employment, employment, and post-employment.
During the pre-employment phase you will write a reflection on the relevance of your work to your anticipated career goals, and on the connections you see between your anticipated work and the knowledge and skills you’ve gained to date.
While you’re at your job, you will meet regularly with your supervisor, who will do a formative evaluation at the mid-point, and a summative evaluation at the end.
Once your job is complete, you will write a second reflection on the experience, the ways in which it met and differed from your expectations, and the ways in which the knowledge and skills you gained will help you as you return to school.
Will you find me a job if I enroll in KI Works?
We are currently running the program as a way of helping those who already have jobs integrate their employment experience with their academic work, and get some formal recognition for doing so. It’s also an opportunity for us to test out what it might look like to do something like co-op more formally. We hope that as the program grows this will eventually lead to our sourcing more jobs for KI students, but we’re not at that point just yet.
What’s in it for me?
Because it isn’t formal co-op, you won’t get a co-op designation on your transcript. However, when you graduate you will get a formal letter from the Department Chair describing the KI Works program and what it means for its participants, and indicating the job(s) you did under the program and the evaluation(s) you were assessed by your work supervisor. You will also be able to add these evaluations to your ePortfolio on LEARN.
Is there a fee for KI Works, similar to the co-op fee?
For now and for the foreseeable future, there is no fee associated with the program.
What does my job need to look like, in order to qualify?
To qualify for the program, you need to have a job that meets the following criteria:
- you must be a KI major returning to an academic term following the employment term
- you must work at least 12 weeks
- work must be full-time, 35 hours/week minimum
- work must be relevant to your (anticipated) career interests
- there must be an identifiable supervisor willing to speak with the KI Chair prior to the job, meet regularly with you during the job (every 2 weeks at minimum), and evaluate your progress twice during the term
- you must be paid for the work (unpaid positions may be considered on a case-by-case basis following the Waterloo Guidelines for unpaid co-op work terms)
I will have a summer job that I think qualifies. What do I do next?
- Before April 1st, contact the person at your job who will be your direct supervisor. Explain that you hope to use the job as work-integrated learning employment, and confirm that your supervisor is willing and able to
- have a brief conversation with someone from KI about the work-integrated learning program,
- meet with you regularly (every 2 weeks minimum), and
- provide mid-term and end-of-term progress evaluations, similar to the Waterloo co-op evaluation.
- If they agree, please complete the KI Works Job Description form by April 1st.
- We will contact your supervisor to discuss the KI Works program and the job and, in all likelihood, approve the job.
Once the job is approved, what happens next?
You will be invited to enroll in a non-credit course on LEARN, to which your reflections and supervisor evaluations will be uploaded. There will be more information about deadlines and instructions on the LEARN site, but the rough timeline looks like:
- April 15: Job approved
- May 1: Reflection 1 uploaded
- July 1: Supervisor formative evaluation uploaded
- Sep 1: Supervisor summative evaluation uploaded
- Sep 15: Reflection 2 uploaded
How many times can I do KI Works?
KI Works is a one-term program that you can enrol in as many qualifying terms as you are a KI student. Each one is recorded separately and your certification letter on graduation will list each of the jobs you held in the program.
Are there other programs to help me integrate my learning and work experience and develop professional skills?
Yes! We encourage all KI students to check out EDGE: Waterloo’s new experiential education certificate program, which complements KI Works.
KI Works is a pre-approved EDGE experience, if you enroll in a Professional Development course (online through WatPD) during the same term that you are completing the experience.
For the EDGE “work and community” component, INTEG 452 A & B: Real World Problem Solving are on the list.
What if I find my job after the April 1st KI Works application deadline?
We will still consider your application on an individual basis as long as it meets the KI Works criteria.
What if I have other questions?
I’m sure we haven’t thought of all the questions you might have. Help us make this FAQ better by emailing questions to Paul McKone or email@example.com. Thanks!