Main ContentCOOPERATIVE EDUCATION
Cooperative Education (Co-op) is a carefully organized and supervised paid
work experience designed to provide students with hands-on experience related to their major. This program allows a student to enrich his/her education by alternating periods of study with meaningful work experience. Co-op is a partnership between the student, education institution and the employer with specified responsibilities for each party.
This experience usually takes place during the fall or spring semester; however some Co-op experiences can begin during the summer and continue throughout the fall semester.
An internship is a paid
work-related summer learning experience for individuals who wish to develop hands on work experience in their major or career goals. Internship must be at least a minimum of 10 weeks.
TYPES OF COOPERATIVE EDUCATION PLANS
There are two types of plans under the Cooperative Education Program--Alternating and Parallel.
(Students work 40 hours per week)
The alternating plan allows the student to alternate between working full-time (40 hours per week) for a semester, and then return to school as a full-time student the following semester. In some cases, the student will return to work for a second assignment. Work experience may be done during the semester or the summer. Students are usually placed outside of the local area in other states.
(Student work 20 hours per week)
This plan allows the student to participate in full-time study and part-time (20 hours per week) work during the same semester. The work assignment is limited to employers within a 50-mile radius from the university. The Office of Career Services will provide the students 20 hour work schedule to the employer based on the class load.
Both plans are required to register for 6 hours of academic credit.
BENEFITS OF COOPERATIVE EDUCATION / INTERNSHIP
- Improves workforce diversity.
- Improves personnel selection process by using actual on-the-job performance as a basis for permanent hiring decisions.
- Increases cost-effectiveness of recruitment and training.
- Increases retention rates among permanent employees recruited and hired through a Co-op program.
- Brings highly qualified and motivated employees with fresh talent and fresh ideas.
- Creates a partnership and strengthens relations between employers and education.
ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
- Integrates classroom theory to actual work experience.
- Creates an awareness of their interest and career goals.
- Assists students in developing the skills and experiences to be marketable upon graduation.
- Provides up to 6 hours of academic credit toward graduation.
- Cultivates maturity, self-confidence, human relations skills and a sense of responsibility.
- Accumulates job seniority which can lead to full-time employment.
- Offers an opportunity to build a network of contacts.
- Provide a job description and criteria for eligibility.
- Conduct interviews to select student(s).
- Provide work experience that is related to the student’s major or career goals.
- Pay the student a reasonable wage commensurate with the student’s ability and job responsibilities.
- Maintain a safe, harassment and discrimination free workplace.
- Place the student under the supervision of a qualified manager who can provide effective guidance and counseling. They should also assist the student with adapting to the work environment and organization.
- Offer on-going feedback to the student about his or her work performance.
- Complete and submit a mid-term and final evaluation to the coordinator.
- Permit coordinator to visit the work site to review the program and assess the student’s progress.
- Contact coordinator with any concerns or issues with the student.
- Evaluate and assess student skills and abilities for Co-op/internship position.
- Recruit and screen student applicants to meet employer qualifications.
- Assist the employer with setting up interviews.
- Complete and submit paperwork for academic credit (if applicable).
- Provide the mid-term and final evaluations to be filled out by the student’s direct supervisor.
- Monitor student’s progress.
- Work with student and supervisor to resolve issues or concerns.
- Schedule on-site visits.
- Conduct mandatory Code of Conduct and Workplace Etiquette training for the student(s).
RECEIVING ACADEMIC CREDIT
- Attend mandatory Code of Conduct and Workplace Etiquette training with coordinator.
- Complete all required paperwork associated with assignment.
- Abide by company policies and procedures.
In either case of Cooperative Education or Internship, students are eligible to receive up to six hours of academic credit for electives (one time), with approval from their department and if they meet the following requirements:
- Be registered with the Office of Career Services
- Have at least 30 semester hours completed
- Have at least a 2.5 cumulative GPA
Note: In order to receive credit for a summer internship the experience must be 10 or more weeks.