Wednesday, March 26, 2008

co-ops, co-ops everywhere!

I love the idea of co-ops. In an ideal world, I'd like to live in a co-op. I like to shop in co-ops. We had one of the best co-op stores in Bloomington...and I always loved shopping there. I even like banking co-op style...using credit unions over regular ol' banks. I just think the whole idea of co-ops are fascinating.

I was reading recently about a college that works as a co-op. At first, my initial thought was...umm, what does that mean? I didn't see how being a co-op could lead itself to a college setting. So, I clicked on the link and started reading. The school is Kettering University in Flint, Michigan (you know the place where Michael Moore's movie Roger and Me was based upon).

So, what does it mean? Well, Kettering has engineering co-op programs. They place students starting in their freshman year with different companies and rotate them in order to get training and on the job experience. I think a program like that is fan-freakin-tastic! You not only get the education in the classroom, but you get practical experience in your field from your freshman year on. There are so many benefits to that. One, you get to truly know if the field is for you...and know pretty early on. A lot of school require an internship in your senior year, but what if you do your internship...months away from graduation...only to realize that it isn't the right field for you. Two, you get to apply all the stuff you are learning in a practical setting from day one. And three, you get on the job experience...which we know is so beneficial in getting a job after graduation. I imagine a lot of these companies end up hiring someone who has worked for them in their "co-op" experience. I know that the job I am currently in...started as an internship and now I am a full time, paid employee. I imagine that happens all the time there.

When I was getting my degree in social work, if there was a school who had this co-op philosophy, let me tell you, I would have signed up in 2 seconds flat. The ability to get practical experience and on the job training as part of my degree...I would consider that invaluable.

So, check them out...Kettering University...a co-op institution. Who knows, maybe it'll be the wave of the future.

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