Thank you for your interest in Michigan Tech's cooperative education program. Large and small companies, as well as public sector and nonprofit organizations, have found co-op invaluable for meeting employment needs and building a cost-effective, productive system of recruiting future graduates.
We've compiled this guide as a resource for employers wishing to learn more about MTU's Co-op Program. If you have questions concerning the co-op program, or would like to establish a co-op agreement with MTU, please contact us. We look forward to working with you!
Christopher Babbitt - Assistant Director of Career Services, Co-op Program Coordinator
What's the difference between a "co-op" and an "internship"?
At MTU, a "co-op" is an academic course, earning 2 credits per co-op assignment. Although the students are earning only 2 academic credits during a co-op assignment, they are considered full time students, which allows them to remain on their parents'/guardians' health insurance and defers student loan payments. Students may co-op during the fall, spring, or summer semesters.
An "internship" is most often considered a summer job, with no academic credit earned. (Although we gladly record salary offers made to these students, there is no official registration or paperwork for an internship in our office.)
What are the benefits of hiring a co-op student?
- Provides an excellent pool of well-prepared employees.
- Improves personnel selection process by using actual on-the-job performance as a basis for permanent hiring decisions.
- Increases cost-effectiveness of recruitment and training. Studies show employers save money by using co-op to identify and train personnel.
- Improves workforce diversity through access to minority students for permanent employment.
- Increases retention rates among permanent employees recruited and hired through a co-op program. Both students and employers have the time to try out the position and ensure that the fit is the most productive and effective for both.
- Enhances human resource flexibility with effective short-term employees.
- Strengthens company relations with colleges and students. Through evaluations, advisory boards and other means, employers can work with colleges to ensure an effective curriculum.
What are the student requirements to co-op?
Students must have completed their freshman year at MTU, and be in good academic and social standing. Transfer students must have completed at least one semester at MTU before they may co-op. International students (on an F1 student visa) must have completed two consecutive semesters at MTU to be eligible to co-op.
What rotational commitments are there?
Michigan Tech's co-op program is voluntary and flexible. Employers determine single, multiple, or rotational assignments within a semester calendar in these general time frames:
- Fall Semester: Mid-August to December
- Spring Semester: January to mid-May
- Summer: Mid-May to mid-August
For Michigan Tech's academic calendar: http://www.admin.mtu.edu/em/services/calendar/
- Provide the student with paid, challenging work experience in an area specifically related to the student's academic field of study.
- In multiple co-op assignments, the work should be progressive in nature.
- Evaluate the co-op student twice during the co-op assignment with the forms provided by our office (at mid-point and at the end of the assignment), and return them to our office in a timely manner.
- Read the student's completed technical report and sign the required statement on the first page, verifying the report does not contain proprietary material and may be forwarded on to the appropriate academic department at Michigan Tech for grading.
- Endorsement and support of the supervisor and management. It is crucial that management be actively supportive of a co-op program to 1). ensure participation from their employees; 2) acknowledge the co-op's credibility and 3) make sure the co-op is not being relegated solely to "back-burner" projects.
- Active and supportive mentor at the company. Whether the supervisor also plays a role as mentor, or another person is asked to take on this part, the mentor is essential in the real-life development of the student's abilities, work habits and interpersonal skills. The co-op benefits from active mentor interaction in the following areas:
- Learning by experience
- Improving self-confidence
- Getting career advice
- Gaining a sense of value to the company
- Learning the ropes of the company (culture, values, presentation skills, where power lies, etc.)
- Experiencing the day-to-day management process
- Strong communication between the supervisor and co-op. Successful supervisors:
- Take a strong interest and concern in developing the co-op
- Have a broad base understanding of the industry and organization
- Getting career advice
- Have relevant areas of expertise
- Are easily accessible to the co-op
- Offer mutual respect
- Teach and encourage the co-op
- Evaluate the co-op fairly and honestly
- Provide constructive suggestions for improvement.
- Appropriate training/orientation. To ensure a smooth transition period for co-op students and the company, an orientation session in the company is very helpful.
- 5. Acquaint the co-op with the work site, company expectations, and areas of responsibility.
- Employers must provide the international student a letter, indicating the dates and nature of work to be done.
- Academic advisors must provide a letter supporting curricular practical training from their academic advisor which states the work experience is "required for the degree" or "an integral part of the student's degree program and he/she will receive academic credit").
- Students register for their co-op with Career Services.
- Finally, international students must arrange an appointment with the IPS and bring their I-20 with them.
We already have a Michigan Tech student in mind to work for us. What do we need to do to register with the Co-op Office?
Employers and your intended co-op student need to complete a Cooperative Education Employer Agreement Form and return it to our office. Contact our office and ask to speak to Christopher who will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
What are my responsibilities as an employer of a co-op student?
The actual requirements of the co-op program are:
These are the basic requirements of our co-op program, however, we have found the most successful co-op assignments also include the following:
What special steps are involved with hiring students on an F1 student visa?
The following information is provided by the International Programs and Services department at Michigan Tech, located in the Administration Building. Please contact the IPS department for any questions regarding international student employment qualifications and requirements. http://www.ips.mtu.edu/info/
To be eligible to work off-campus, students must (1) be maintaining lawful F-1 status, (2) have been in F-1 status for one full academic year, and (3) be in good academic standing. Two types of off-campus work are available: through "economic hardship" or "practical training".
Curricular Practical Training
Curricular practical training is employment which is an integral or important part of the student's curriculum, including internships, cooperative education or any other type of required practicum offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school. There is no limitation upon the length of time a student may participate in full-time or part-time curricular training, but if a student participates for twelve months of full-time training, the student will not be eligible for optional practical training. If a student qualifies for curricular practical training, s/he will receive authorization from the MTU International Programs and Services department.
Procedure for Hiring an International Student for Co-op/Internship:
Michigan Tech's Majors and Programs:
How Do I Recruit MTU Students?
Career Services at Tech offers numerous options for recruiting students, from on-campus interviews and job fairs, to video conferencing and general job postings:
Please contact James Turnquist to learn more about recruiting options (firstname.lastname@example.org)