February is Co-op and Internship Month
Governor Rick Snyder has declared February “Cooperative Education and Internship Month,” in Michigan. In making the proclamation, Snyder called co-ops and internships “critical tools to retaining bright, young talent in Michigan as they help students gain competitive occupations skills by linking career instruction with supervised training and experience on the job.”
Snyder’s endorsement of co-ops and internships comes as no surprise to Michigan Technological University students who, in Snyder’s words, “gain necessary skills that enable an easier transition from school to the workplace” in large numbers.
Stephen Patchin, director of Career Services at Michigan Tech, says students as well as companies understand the importance of cooperative education. “At this point we have 215 recruiting organizations committed to our Spring Career Fair,” Patchin says. “In addition to 156 committed to recruiting full-time positions, 143 are looking for interns and 67 are looking for co-ops. Companies are definitely here to fill their summer needs.”
Patchin adds they’re willing to pay to see those needs met. “Since 2008, we’ve seen the average hourly wage for our graduate student co-ops stay fairly stable in the $23 to $25 per hour range,” he says. “But the real wage growth during that period has been with our undergrad co-ops who have gone from making an average salary of $15.16 an hour in 2008 to averaging $18.99 an hour in 2016.”
According to Patchin, in addition to the income and experience internships and co-ops provide students, they are important to the University in other ways as well.
“The best promoter of the quality of our current students and graduates is their performance ‘on the job’ in these co-op/internship opportunities,” he explains.
Patchin says the big reason companies approach Career Services to recruit at Michigan Tech is because of past performance. “They tell us they have had one of our students or graduates on their corporate team, and they want more just like them.”
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