You must notify the Assistant Director for Experiential Learning as to the number of offers to be extended and to whom offers are being made. Notifying the Office in advance helps us ensure that the candidates have registered the Office of Career Services and assists the Cooperative Education Program in its efforts to maintain records on all offers. After notifying the Assistant Director for Experiential Learning, the employer may proceed with making offers to the students selected. Even though the offer may be extended verbally, follow up with a written offer letter and provide a copy to the Assistant Director for Experiential Learning. Emailed offer letters are sufficient. Offers should include information about the wage/benefit package and the starting date or starting semester.
When determining how long students will be given to respond to offers, keep in mind that students may wish to complete all scheduled interviews prior to making a decision. Please send letters of regret to all students interviewed who will not be receiving an offer.
No standard pay scale exists for students working on a co-op. However, level of pay does impact an employer’s degree of success in recruiting co-op candidates who are highly sought after. Each year, the Cooperative Education Program performs a salary survey of all co-op employers, and the most recent results are available to current or potential employers.
Orientation and Supervisor Assignment
Arrange for an orientation/information meeting and tour to familiarize the student with all aspects of the organization. Confirm expectations regarding attire, Internet, telephone and e-mail usage, salary, benefits, overtime pay, starting and ending dates, and working hours. If your organization hires more than one student, save time by having all the students do the orientation together. Assign the student to a supervisor immediately. If the student is a department resource make him/her aware of the other staff whom he/she could assist when appropriate. Within the first week, the supervisor should meet with the student to complete a Policy form.
Feedback and Evaluation
Guidance and feedback will be very much appreciated by the co-op student and will ensure he/she is working towards the expectation set by the employer. Communicate frequently. In addition to the formal evaluation at the end of the assignment, informal weekly meetings are helpful to determine the student's progress and address any concerns.
Approximately a month before the end of each co-op assignment the Office will email an Employer Evaluation Form to the site supervisor. A formal evaluation must be completed for each work term in order for the student to obtain academic credit (if granted by the NCA&T departments). After completing the evaluation, review it with the student and submit a copy to the Co-op Program. In anticipation of this final evaluation, keep notes of the student's progress noting achievements and improvements throughout the term. Be sure to consult all staff who worked with the co-op student for input into this evaluation. A PDF version of the evaluation form is available here.
Should any serious performance problems occur during the work term, please notify the Assistant Director for Experiential Learning as soon as possible.
Employers have specific responsibilities in the cooperative education process. NCA&T expects its co-op employers to:
- Provide training related to the co-op’s program of study and career goals.
- Inform students about their work assignments and wage/ benefit package prior to start date.
- Pay the co-op a reasonable wage commensurate with the co-op’s ability, experience, and job responsibilities.
- Place the co-op under the supervision of a qualified manager
- Promote professional development by allowing co-ops to participate in training workshops and other growth opportunities.
- Provide frequent feedback to co-ops throughout the work term and complete a formal written evaluation at the end of the term.
- Inform the Co-op Program of any changes in the primary contact person for your organization.
- Maintain open lines of communication.
The Cooperative Education Program recommends assigning a mentor to assist the co-op student in adjusting to the workplace and organization. The mentor should not have supervisory responsibilities for the co-op.
Students occasionally express dissatisfaction with the co-op assignment, an issue that is unlikely to arise if the student has been given a realistic picture of the type of work and responsibilities inherent in the job. Even under the best of circumstances, a poor match may cause difficulties for both the student and the employer. In such a case, consider the following:
- Can the student be moved to another department?
- Has the supervisor developed a plan for increasing the student’s responsibilities?
- Is a mentor helping the student to adjust to the work environment?
- Is a strong structure in place for co-op students?
If issues are not resolved, contact the Assistant Director for Experiential Learning.
Termination of a co-op student
On rare occasions, a student must be terminated due to unethical conduct, behavioral issues, or other reasons. The Cooperative Education Program suggests the employer to counsel students on correcting inappropriate behavior and provide frequent feedback throughout the work term. If termination is the only acceptable course of action, please notify the student, follow up in writing, and send the Assistant Director for Experiential Learning a copy of the termination letter. The Cooperative Education Program will also need a copy of the student’s final written evaluation.