Frequently Asked Questions
Q. WHAT IS COOPERATIVE EDUCATION?
A. Cooperative education—“co-op” for short—blends academic coursework with workplace experiences. Students alternate periods of academic study with full-time employment, thus blending classroom learning with experience in the workforce to enrich their learning and career preparation.
Q. HOW DOES CO-OP BENEFIT STUDENTS?
A. Students benefit through better academic performance coupled with relevant work experience that helps them clarify goals and learn skills, earn money to help pay for college, and have greater employment prospects upon graduation.
While many positions are paid, some students choose an unpaid experience because it best fits their needs. Also, some experiences may be unpaid because of industry standards, such as government agencies.
Many co-op students are offered full-time jobs by employers with which they had co-op experiences.
Q. ARE TRANSFER STUDENTS ELIGIBLE TO PARTICIPATE IN CO-OP?
A. Absolutely! Transfer students may participate fully in Penn State Schuylkill Co-Op starting their first semester with our campus. Interested students should work with their admissions counselor and academic adviser to enroll in the program.
Q. WHAT ARE SOME BENEFITS FOR EMPLOYERS?
A. Employers have found that co-op serves as an effective screening and selection process that helps them build a talent pipeline, recruit employees, and vet them for quality and fit. They have also found that co-op has a positive impact on employee retention and productivity.
Q. WHAT WILL PENN STATE SCHUYLKILL’S CO-OP PROGRAM BE LIKE?
A. The co-op program will include three full-time work experiences consisting of two three-month, full-time internships and one six-month co-op (three months full-time over the summer, and three months part-time during the academic year, or completed in six months full-time), all supported by academic coursework and co-curricular programming in career services. The program will be offered in partnership with employers who are members of our Consortium of Co-Op Employers.
Q. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF JOINING THE CONSORTIUM OF CO-OP EMPLOYERS?
A. Members of the consortium will be invited to several events per year, not only to help identify and recruit students for internships, co-op, and employment but also to help determine how we can improve the program. Particular benefits of membership will include assistance with posting positions, scheduling interviews—including space on campus for interviews if desired, and an assigned point-of-contact on campus to assist with any issues.
Q. HOW CAN EMPLOYERS JOIN THE CONSORTIUM OF CO-OP EMPLOYERS?
A. Employers interested in joining the consortium simply need to fill out this form to express their interest.
Q. IS THERE A COST TO JOIN THE CONSORTIUM OF CO-OP EMPLOYERS?
A. There is no cost to join the Consortium of Co-Op Employers. Members will be expected to offer internships and co-ops to Penn State Schuylkill students. However, the students will interview for internships and co-ops, and the employers will choose whether or not to offer those positions to students on a case-by-case basis.