The job requires technical skill and experience. And how do you get that experience without a job? Cooperative education programs offer a solution to this conundrum for budding BMETs, providing students with real world experience and an income to help them with their studies.
How do you get a job that requires technical skill and experience without professional experience? And how do you get that experience without a job? Cooperative education programs, or “co-op” offers a solution to this conundrum for budding BMETs, providing students with real world experience and an income to help them with their studies.
The terms “internship” and “cooperative education” are used interchangeably in some instances, but the National Commission for Cooperative Education (NCCE) distinguishes cooperative education programs as including paid practical experience in a student’s field of study. Internships are more broadly defined as supervised practical experience.
Cooperative education or “co-op” is a partnership between educational institutions, students and employers. Hundreds of higher education institutions offer co-op in all fields, from liberal arts and science to technologies. Co-op work sites are found everywhere, from local offices to international operations, in corporations, small businesses, not-for-profits and public agencies. In a co-op program, college students integrate classroom knowledge and practical experience through progressive (usually paid) work assignments in their chosen field.
Participating employers interview and select qualified students to fill paid temporary positions. Typically a contract, memorandum of agreement or other written plan is established between the educational institution, student and employer. During a co-op placement, student employees report to their on-site supervisor. In addition, they are in contact with a faculty supervisor who monitors their performance. Academic requirements may include individual or classroom meetings with faculty to process and reflect on the experience, in addition to written reports by the student.
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