Co-op Education Program: Gaining Employment Experience During Undergrad Studies

Co-op Education Program: Gaining Employment Experience During Undergrad Studies

This article was written by student Ketia Similen.

Do you have students that are looking for a way to gain valuable and paid on-the-job experience while working in their respective fields? Meet the Cooperative Education Program at Southern. This program allows students to gain employment experiences as part of their undergraduate careers. Students enrolled in this program can reinforce and sharpen their classroom learning while making meaningful contributions in the workplace.

Once enrolled in the Cooperative Education course, students spend a semester employed by an organization, business firm, or a government agency of their choice, in a position that they must secure on their own, in order to apply their academic studies to practical employment situations. Thus students can have a paid work experience while earning up to 12 credits towards their degree. The credits earned will be applied towards students’ programs as electives — 50 hours of work are equal to 1 academic credit. This is a great option for students who may not have the means to take on an unpaid internships. In the co-op program, students who are already employed by an agency can apply their on-the-job experience for credit.

In order to apply, undergraduate students must:

  • be a junior or senior with a minimum 2.0 GPA,
  • must secure an employment experience that closely maps onto their degree, and
  • meet with their academic advisor to discuss cooperative education within their program of study.

Once these steps are completed, students should contact the cooperative education coordinator, Dr. Sobeira Latorre, to discuss eligibility and further details. If the program is a good fit, then students will receive an application to complete and submit by the end of their current semester prior to the beginning of the course.

Once admitted into the course, students will be required to fulfill their employee responsibilities, develop goals for their experience, reflect on and revise their goals as they progress in their experience, meet with the Office of Career and Professional Development to craft or update their resume, and receive an evaluation from their employer on their performance during their experience. This program also allows students to reapply. As long as they haven’t reached the maximum 12 credits that the program allows and they’re performing a new task, completing a new project, or starting a new position, students will be able to continue their cooperative education.

For questions or more information on the Cooperative Education Program, contact the program coordinator, Dr. Latorre, at latorres1@southerct.edu. Students may also send an email to co-op@southernct.edu.

 

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