Student Development: Cooperative Education

One of NCCC's goals is to prepare graduates to assume productive and rewarding careers. Cooperative Education (also known as Co-Op) is an elective career-related work experience taken for academic credit. It is a supervised work-based learning experience that enables students to combine academic work with on-the-job training. A Co-Op experience gives you the opportunity to learn by doing: you apply your academic skills and develop new proficiencies in a practical work setting.

Co-Op placements allow students the opportunity to earn academic credit and to test career interests while gaining valuable experience which enhances employability. Likewise, the employer has access to highly motivated, career-focused, reliable, and qualified employees. The program is based on partnerships between the college, its students, and the business community, including government and nonprofit organizations.  We use the words "cooperative" emphasize these partnerships and "education" to stress the importance of this unique experience in meeting academic requirements.

Securing a job placement is competitive and students are not guaranteed an assignment.  Employers are not guaranteed that the students will accept offers.

What is Cooperative Education?

Cooperative Education is a method of instruction that combines academic requirements and coursework with supervised work experiences. Students can apply what they learn at NCCC on the job and are exposed to new skills and knowledge at work which supplement the entire academic experience. In addition, students also receive academic credit and a grade. Co-Op courses are open to all majors.

Participation in the Co-Op program is available to students who demonstrate the ability to do above average academic work at NCCC. Once you accept a position, you are expected to remain in Co-Op until ALL requirements have been completed.  It is recognized that extenuating circumstances may occasionally arise when you find it necessary to change employment or to resign from the Co-Op program. Resignations must be handled with extreme care and with prior approval from the Co-Op Coordinator. All resignations from Co-Op or from your academic program should be submitted immediately.

Student Benefits

What are the student benefits of participating in a Cooperative Education?

Here are some of the ways students can benefit:

• Learn new skills and enhance your understanding of the work environment
• Gain valuable career-related work experience
• Apply your classroom learning to practical situations
• Gain a better understanding of your coursework
• Explore your career options and help determine career direction
• Build a stronger application for transfer to another institution
• Increase your competitiveness in the workforce
• Network with other professionals in your chosen field

Who is eligible to participate in Cooperative Education?

Students must:

Be matriculated in an academic program (associates degree or certificate) at NCCC

• Have completed of at least one semester (12 credit hours) with minimum GPA of 2.0 (transfer students must provide an official academic transcript to the Admissions for credit evaluation if  they wish to participate in a Co-Op experience in their first semester at NCCC)
• Demonstrate an understanding of requisite skills, knowledge, and attitude of the position desired
• Be able to maintain positive work habits
• Maintain good academic progress toward completion of your chosen degree

Do students receive academic credit?

Students have the option of registering for Co-Op placements that require 40, 80, or 120 hours of work experience.  Students establish performance objectives in conjunction with the work supervisor and the Co-Op Coordinator and the student's overall performance is evaluated. One college credit is awarded for each 40 hours of work experience; the student receives a grade for the course.

How do I enroll?

Call Student Development at 614-6290 to make an appointment with the Cooperative Education Coordinator.

Employer Information

What are the employer benefits of participating in a Cooperative Education?

• Cost-effective recruitment at no cost to employers
• Permits you to observe potential employees before making a commitment for permanent employment
• Lower training cost of new employees
• Continuous flow of pre-screened talent
• Implement special, cyclical, or seasonal projects
• Generates the flow of new ideas and the integration of new talent into your organization
• Encourages you to actively participate in and contribute to the education process

What are the employer responsibilities in Cooperative Education?

• Complete a Cooperative Education Placement Agreement
• Provide NCCC with a job description for posting
• Review resumes and select candidates to be interviewed
• Engage the student in meaningful employment related to his/her field of study and consistent with the student's ability
• Provide appropriate training, supervision, mentoring, and where applicable, a fair wage

Employers are not obligated to hire anyone if candidates do not meet company needs; conversely, employers are free to hire multiple students if the candidates are impressive.

To enhance the student's job performance and optimize learning, it is recommended that employers involve the student in frequent feedback and inquiry. In addition to these routine evaluations, the Co-Op Coordinator will schedule an on-site meeting and employers are asked to complete a brief Student Evaluation Form at the end of the work semester. After reviewing this form with the student, employers return it to Niagara County Community College where it becomes a part of the student's Co-Op record.

How do I find out about participating?

Call Student Development at 614-6490 to set up a meeting with the Cooperative Education Coordinator.

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