Have you ever applied for a job and were told, “You don’t have the right kind of experience,” and your first thought was, “How can I get this experience unless I get a job in my field?”
Cooperative Education is a structured educational strategy integrating classroom studies with learning through productive work experiences in a field related to a student's academic or career goals. It provides progressive experiences in integrating theory and practice. Co-op is a partnership among students, educational institutions and employers with specified responsibilities for each party.
Calhoun Community College's Cooperative Education Program affords students the opportunity to acquire on-the-job experience before graduation by combining studies at Calhoun with a related work experience. This Program allows the student to work on a part-time basis (a minimum of 20 hours per week) in a job directly related to his/her academic major while attending school on a full-or part-time basis.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is Co-Op?
Calhoun Community College's Cooperative Education Program affords students the opportunity to acquire on-the-job experience before graduation by combining studies at Calhoun with related work experience. This program allows students to work on a part-time basis (a minimum of 20 hours per week) in jobs directly related to their academic majors while attending school on a full-or part-time basis.
How do I become a Co-Op student?
The first step is to complete the co-op application. Applying for a co-op is an option for all currently enrolled Calhoun students.
Upon receiving your complete application, the career services and co-op department will review your application and ensure that you meet the minimum requirements. You will then be added to the applicant pool and your application will be submitted to co-op postings for which you are a match.
Completing the co-op application does not guarantee that you will be placed into a co-op. There are many factors that influence placement which vary based on the hiring company and co-op position.
Do I have to be enrolled as a full-time student to participate in Co-Op?
No, students do not have to be enrolled full-time; however, they must be a currently enrolled Calhoun student when placed into a co-op. Students must meet the 20-hour requirement each week to remain in the co-op program.
Can my existing job count towards or as my Co-Op job?
No, existing jobs may not be considered for a co-op. Each employer must be approved by the Career Services department, and each applicant must follow the proper procedure to meet the requirements to be placed by the department.
How long will it take me to be placed into a co-op position?
It varies. Different companies have different timelines for hiring, and just as with any job, the process can take a very short amount of time or a comparatively longer time.
How do increase my chances of being placed in a co-op position?
We submit applicants who meet the requirements to all co-op postings that they are qualified for. Employers receive students’ resumes and teacher recommendation forms and sometimes they also request the students’ applications. The very best way to increase your chances of being selected for a co-op are to write the best resume you can, to keep your application materials up to date (the career services and co-op department will occasionally request updates via email), and to be the kind of student that instructors write great letters of recommendation for. It is also crucial that you behave professionally in all of your interactions and correspondence with employers and the co-op department.
Can I request to work with a specific company?
Absolutely. Keep in mind that if you limit your acceptable companies, you are narrowing the number of co-op positions we can submit your application to. This may make it more difficult for you to secure a co-op position. We cannot guarantee a co-op position, nor can we guarantee a position with a particular company.
How many hours do you have to work a week?
A minimum of 20 hours a week must be worked to remain in a co-op. Students are required to complete a timesheet to validate these hours. Grades for the co-op course are based in part on completing requirements such as the timesheet.
Do I have to have a Teacher Recommendation form?
Yes, all required documents must be completed in order to be added to the applicant pool and considered for co-op placement.
What GPA is required to apply? What GPA do I have to maintain to remain in the Co-op program?
A minimum of a 2.5 GPA is required to be eligible for a co-op program, and a student must maintain a 2.5 or higher in order to stay in their co-op program.
Am I still eligible for financial aid if I am in a Co-op program?
Yes! Please check with the financial aid department if you have any questions about your financial aid status.
Does it cost anything to participate in the co-op program?
There is no fee to apply to the program; however, students must be currently enrolled at Calhoun to receive a co-op and must pay the $148 (subject to change; based on current tuition and fee schedule) co-op class fee when placed in a position.
Do I receive academic credit for my Co-op experience?
Currently, the co-op class is a 1 credit hour course that is included on a student's transcript. The only current exception is the CIS co-op, which is a 3 credit hour course. Students in these classes will receive a grade from an instructor that is based on feedback from employer evaluations and students completing required documents such as the timesheet.
Do I remain with the same employer during the entirety of my Co-op assignment?
Students selected for a co-op must complete the entire semester at the selected co-op. If students wish to end their co-op position, they must finish the semester and give their employer a 2-week notice. Students who are currently enrolled in a co-op program are not considered for another position until they have completed their current semester. Co-op students are allowed to work multiple semesters at the same co-op as long as they continue to meet all requirements and the employer wishes to continue their employment.
Will I have a guaranteed job offer from my Co-op employer when I graduate?
A job is not guaranteed from a co-op; however, if students are successful with their co-op position, they are more likely to receive an offer.
The Career Services & Cooperative Learning Center is located in the Center for Applied Technology (see map) on the Decatur campus,