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Cooperative Education

Cooperative education at WMU is an optional program that integrates classroom study and practical work experience. A student's co-op employment experience is most often related to their career interests. Consequently, their overall education is enriched, as is their value as future employees.

We recognize the need for an active alliance with business, industry and higher education. By promoting a cooperative education experience, we jointly provide opportunities for companies to utilize the talents of our students while our students enjoy the value of the work experience.


"In a May 1, 2008 article written by NACE, 47% said they prefer candidates to gain their experience through an internship or cooperative education program. In a seperate NACE study it is shown that employers are placing more emphasis on internship and cooperative education programs to 'grow' their own employees, looking first to their own interns when they have job opportunites." - National Association of Cooperative Education

Options in cooperative education

Earn college credit

Alternating co-op

Students alternate semesters of school and work. A minimum of three semesters taken is required.

Concurrent co-op

Students are employed by a West Michigan area company on a part-time basis while attending classes during the academic year. In most cases, the student is employed on a full time basis during the summer semester.

Mechanical Engineering 3990 registration procedure

Internship certificate

Internship

A student is employed on either a part-time or full-time basis during the summer semesters. Internships may also be available during the Fall and Spring semesters. Although Internships are not eligible for academic credit, we do assist you in obtaining a position that parallels your course of study much in the way we assist those seeking co-op positions. Ask us about our Internship certificate program.

For students

What you must do?

All departments allow for the cooperative education experience. Some may not offer co-op for credit or may run co-op independently through their department. If you are unsure, visit your program advisor or a co-op representative in the advising office.

Do you already have a position? If not register your resume at http://www.wmich.edu/career and click on BroncoJobs.

See a Career Advisor for help in preparing or modifying your resume, developing interviewing skills and assistance in opening a career account by either visiting during the drop-in hours or calling (269) 276-3263 to schedule and appointment.

Make an appointment with a co-op advisor who will assist you with co-op registration.

Minimum Requirements
  • Must be pursuing a major degree in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences
  • Must have a minimum overall GPA of 2.5
  • Must have completed a minimum of 30 credit hours
  • The co-op position must be directly related to your academic program
Benefits
  • Creating an edge over the competition (others who don't have this experience) when looking for a job.
  • Learning is enhanced by applying classroom theory to real world applications.
  • Co-op is an educational experience in which you get paid.
  • Many of the experiences can lead to a full-time career offer upon graduation.
  • Allows you to build on your network with a variety of industry contacts.
  • Opportunity to discover what type of working environment and company culture suits you best
  • Develop self-confidence, responsibility, motivation and maturity.
Helpful Sources
  • Attend the weekly employer information sessions.
  • BroncoJobs
  • Attend the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences career fairs.
  • View the co-op bulletin boards in the hallway outside the co-op office at the Parkview campus.
  • Speak with faculty, friends or alumni for leads on potential co-op positions.

For employers

What must you do?
  • Designate a contact person to work with the director of cooperative education.
  • Register the position at http://www.wmich.edu/career and click on BroncoJobs.
  • Provide a written job description with meaningful and responsible work assignments that pays an appropriate wage.
  • Clearly identifiy which major(s) you are seeking for the position.
  • Complete a performance review of each student in time to be recorded as academic credit.
Benefits
  • Co-op programs supply you with students who have new ideas and fresh approaches.
  • Cost of recruiting co-op students averages 16 times less than recruiting recent college graduates.
  • Assess student employees before committing to a full time offer.
  • Almost 50% of co-op students accept permanent positions with their host employers.
  • Full time retention is 30% greater for co-op students.
  • Percentage of minority group members hired is twice as high among recent graduates
  • Build a positive collaborative relationship with the university.

For more Information contact your CEAS department or the advising office.

Departments

Advising