What is Cooperative Education?
Cooperative education integrates paid or unpaid work experience into an educational program. It forms a bridge between the world of school and work. Students earn money, experience and credits, enhancing the traditional education experience while applying their learning in a real work environment.
What are the benefits to employers or host agencies?
The Manchester Community College cooperative education program functions as a clearinghouse, offering access to students with different academic backgrounds, to save time and money in personnel selection. Co-op employers also gain:
- motivated and skilled workers
- release time for employees to do higher priority tasks
- help for cyclical, short term or project needs
- bright, enthusiastic employees with new ideas/viewpoints
- ongoing, positive contact with the college system
- influence curricula to meet business/industry needs
- and much more!
What will my responsibilities be as a co-op supervisor?
As a “faculty in the field” and supervisor you will be expected to:
- assign meaningful tasks and provide appropriate supervision to the student
- provide a completed Co-op Position Description and Site Agreement form for the Coperative Education Office
- review resumes, interview and select students for employment
- allow a mid-term site visit with the supervising faculty member
- complete the student evaluation form
What programs/job categories are involved?
Students from the following programs are available for placement:
- Administrative Assistant (all options)
- Business Administration
- Computer Network Technology
- Computer Programming Technology
- Computer Technology
- Criminal Justice
- Culinary Arts
- Disabilities Specialist
- Food Service Management
- General Studies
- Graphic Design
- Health and Sports Science
- Hotel-Tourism Management
- Management Information Systems
- Paralegal Studies
- Social Service
- Therapeutic Recreation
Can I keep a co-op student longer than one semester?
Co-op placements are arranged for a single semester but can be designed to provide continuity for the employer. In fact, many employers post long-term positions with us because they find the student pool in the co-op program to be exceptional. Some degree programs involve a second work experience that will allow a student to continue for a full academic year. Co-op staff work to meet the needs of employers and students.
What if it doesn’t work out?
Every effort is made to assure a successful experience for both co-op student and employer. If concerns do arise, the co-op staff can assist in resolving the issues if students and employers request help. Students are required to provide employers with at least two weeks notice if a resolution is not possible. We are available to assist when you feel it is appropriate.
How can I learn more?
Robert Henderson, Director of Cooperative Education, is available to discuss the Cooperative Education Program and how to get involved. He can be reached at 860-512-3312 or by fax at 860-512-3371. Your request for information and/or assistance will be handled promptly.
Tips for Work Experience Employers
- Clearly define the job, establish goals and set realistic expectations.
- Adequately train students on job tasks and skills. Provide the intern with the tools and materials to assist him/her during the internship.
- Make time to exercise basic supervisory skills such as listening, communicating, and providing feedback.
- Help students develop positive habits and attitudes. Set a good example. Stress the importance of daily attendance and positive attitudes toward work ethic. Help build self confidence and self esteem.
- Be responsive to administrative and clerical tasks, such as completing school forms.
- Encourage other employees to familiarize the student with various functions, and to respect their role as an intern or co-op student.
“This has been a very rewarding opportunity and I would highly recommend the co-op work experience to other students. It builds self-confidence, knowledge, and it really gives you a chance to see what the given field is like to work in.”
“My placement further defined my strengths and identified my weaknesses. I feel very confident about my abilities.”
“…the classroom component of the co-op program has been an informative resource for me as well. I have enjoyed the supportive environment.”
“I believe that co-op should be required for all students. It is an excellent opportunity for them to get the hands-on experience they need.”
“It is important for students to encounter the day-to-day challenges in their field.”
“Thank you for sending us terrific students; they really made a significant contribution to the office.”