CO-OP offers real life work opportunities

By Kimberly White
November 19, 2004

Interested in earning college credit for working at a current job? Interested in applying for a job that will provide experience in a specific career field, while earning college credit and a few extra bucks? If so, contact Nancy Hutchison, director of the co-op and career service center, in room 106 of Grace Hall today.

According to Hutchison it’s “a wonderful opportunity to get real life experience.”

Applying for a spring ’05 internship or co-op is as easy as completing a few simple steps. First, go to Grace Hall, rm. 106 and complete an application. Next, complete a resume and have an adviser sign it. Also, a student must maintain a 2.0 GPA. Once the application for the internship and steps mentioned above are completed, a student may search the database and choose a job.

Hutchison suggests applying before the beginning of the spring semester so that one can coordinate his or her class schedule leaving at least two to three days per week open for work. Also, one is advised to apply only for two to three jobs at one time so that he or she is not overwhelmed with more interviews than one can handle.

Hutchison said students will be “applying their learning to the workplace. It’s a very valuable and successful experience.”

There are many options available that one should consider before taking part in an internship. First of all, one may work for a profit or non-profit organization, and the internship may be paid or volunteer. Also, it is possible to earn up to 12 credits in a co-op within a four-year career at Cabrini. Typically students work 15 to 20 hours per week, which allows them to earn three credits per semester.

The English and communication department allows students to apply three credits received through an internship to their major. Also the English and communication department requires a letter grade for the internship, which “really can help one’s GPA, because simply by showing up for the job and doing the work, a positive grade will be achieved,” Hutchison said. Students in other departments would receive a pass or fail grade for completion of their internship.

Once a specific job is selected and agreed to, students are required to keep it for that semester. Students will not have any other interviews or accept any other jobs as internships for that term. This aspect of the internship teaches students to work through any troubles or disagreements they may have, keeping in mind that the job will only last a few months and will be finished if they so choose at the end of the semester.

Once students are working for the business they have chosen they will develop four learning objectives that will be approved by their employer and by a Cabrini representative. They will also have a “learning contract” that will help them meet those objectives and will state that students must work a certain number of hours per week, in order to earn the available credits.

Co-ops are available in the spring, fall and summer. If students are interested in working somewhere during the summer for an internship and do not live locally, it’s not a problem. The co-op and career services office is open to working with new organizations so students are encouraged to stop by the office and inform the directors of career services about their situation and those in the career services office will be more than happy to work with the student and the situation.

“The co-op and career services office is very helpful, we visit the students at every job they may have.”

Furthermore, it is also possible to receive college credit for a current job one may have. This situation is called “petitioning,” in which case one would need to be promoted or receive new responsibilities within the job that are worthy of college credit.

“The job must be a quality learning experience,” Hutchison said. If one is interested in earning credit for his or her current job, Hutchison or any representative from the co-op office, along with one’s supervisor at work will evaluate one’s performance and new responsibility. If they decide one’s responsibilities are worthy of credit one will be approved for that credit.

The co-op and career service office is very successful and is beneficial to students. There are 40 to 85 students involved with internships each semester and it is open to everyone. Students are encouraged to take advantage of the great opportunity that provides experience in any field, college credit, and of course some extra cash.

Posted to the web by Ryan Norris

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Kimberly White

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