Monday, September 15, 2014

Jump Start Your Career with the Peirce Co-op Education Program

Are you looking to get a jumpstart on your career while still a student? Then you should consider Peirce’s Cooperative Education Program (CWE), also known as a Co-op. The benefits of participating in a Co-op have been well documented and could have long-term advantages for your career.

For starters, you’ll gain real-world experience the field you’re studying. Because of this you’ll better understand and appreciate the materials and principles from related classes. It’s a great opportunity to immediately apply what you’ve learned.

From a financial perspective, often times Co-ops are paid and you’ll still be able to use financial aid funds toward the course.

And that’s just during the Co-op. There’s another significant impact that could boost your career. During your Co-op you’ll become more professionally polished and gain that out-of-classroom experience that employers want. According to the National Commission for Cooperative Education, 95 percent of co-op students find jobs immediately upon graduation. Since these are typically done during your last semester, there’s a good chance your Co-op could be extended into a full-time job upon graduation.

At Peirce, our Co-op programs are 16-weeks long and can be completed in the Fall, Spring, or Summer sessions. During this time you’ll be required to work 135 hours at an off-campus approved Co-op site, or about 8.5 hours per week. You’ll also have a full-time faculty member assigned to oversee your Co-op course.

To get started, you’ll need to have completed 22 credits towards a certificate, 30 credits towards an associate’s, or 90 credits towards a bachelor’s degree and have a 2.5 GPA. Co-ops usually occur in the final semester of either the associates or bachelor’s degree program. It’s best to plan ahead well before you intend on taking your Co-op to make sure your personal and academic schedules are compatible and to account for the 7-week Pre Co-op workshop. This will also give you more time to identify and pursue potential Co-op opportunities.

Once you’re ready to pursue your Co-op, simply follow these steps:
  1.  Speak to your Academic Advisor and let them know of your intent to take Co-op.
  2.  Register (via your Academic Advisor) for CWE 098 (AS level) or 099(BS or CT level) online Pre Co-op workshops. These 7-week online workshops are offered by the Career Development Services office. Since these are workshops rather than actual courses, you won’t get academic credit for the Pre Co-op workshop and they are provided at no cost to you.
  3.  Contact Career Development Services to discuss the types of Co-op that you wish to pursue.
  4.  Register for Co-op (via your Academic Advisor) for the last semester of your classes.
  5.  Career Development Services will assist you in the process of obtaining a Co-op site; however you are responsible for conducting your own job search and securing a Co-op site.
If you’re currently working you may be able to complete the Co-op at your job. Just keep in mind the hours and Co-op responsibilities must be outside of the hours you normally work. To be considered for this, start by sending a copy of your job description to Career Development Services.

If you have any questions related to the Co-op program, feel free to stop by Career Development Services or email us at CDS@peirce.edu.