Cooperative Education (Internships)

What is Cooperative Education (Co-Op Ed)?

Cooperative Education (Co-Op Ed.) is a structured method of combining classroom-based education with practical work experience. A Co-Op Ed experience provides academic credit for structured job experience. Co-Op Ed. is taking on new importance in helping young people to make the school-to-work transition, service learning, and experiential learning initiatives.

What Co-Op Ed Is Not

Co-Op is not any part/ full time job or internship.The job or internship must have academic merit.The experience gained during a student’s Co-Op Ed. placement must align with the learning outcomes of a class offered at Itasca Community College (ICC) or a similar institution. The Co-Op Ed. Coordinator (Nick Rothstein) can assist with determining eligibility.

For questions or additional information, please reach-out to the co-op ed. coordinator, Nick Rothstein.

Contact Information

Registration Packet

My Co-Op experience has honestly been one that will stay with me forever. If you are considering partaking in Co-Op I highly recommend it. I was able to meet new people, do something I am interested in, learn new things while making some money and earning credits for school. I was able to work with Running the Rapids Half Marathon & 5k organization, I was a Social Media Marketing Analyst for this committee. This opportunity has helped me with gaining an insight and some experience into my major, communications, while working with the committee members. Race day came and it was a blast! I got to see all of the people come out to support the runners and it was a great atmosphere. If you are considering the Co-Op experience and aren't sure if you should do it or not, I am telling you right now do it!!!! Michaela S. – Running the Rapids

Student Testimonials

My Co-Op experience has honestly been one that will stay with me forever. If you are considering partaking in Co-Op I highly recommend it. I was able to meet new people, do something I am interested in, learn new things while making some money and earning credits for school. I was able to work with Running the Rapids Half Marathon & 5k organization, I was a Social Media Marketing Analyst for this committee. This opportunity has helped me with gaining an insight and some experience into my major, communications, while working with the committee members.

During my first year of college I was eager for professional development opportunities. A teacher of mine, Nick suggested Cooperative Education, where I could earn college credit for work experience while getting paid for it. Nick helped find an opportunity with the Itasca Economic Development Corporation, where I would be able to apply the knowledge, I had learned in business classes at Itasca as well as Business Professionals of America. Nick even helped edit my resume and did a practice interview to help me prepare for my interview. After several months on the job I feel that my business classes and BPA experience prepared me to be successful in this role.

Let’s face it.In today’s competitive environment attracting and maintaining workers can be a struggle for some organizations.You may have considered having college interns in the past but weren’t ready to take the next step. In addition to the valuable experience interns receive there are many benefits to organizations as well.

Top 10 reasons to hire an intern.

  1. Take advantage of low-cost labor. Itasca Community College, through a generous grant from the Blandin Foundation has funds available to help offset a percentage of an intern’s wages. Furthermore, interns are not eligible for insurance, retirement contributions or unemployment benefits.

  2. Increase visibility to help find future employees. An internship program is a year-round recruiting tool and can create a pipeline of future full-time employees. And here’s a little extra incentive: At the one-year mark, interns who become full-time employees are almost 30% more likely to still be at your company than are other full-time hires.

    The bottom line: Reduce the drain on company resources from recruiting and hiring by cultivating a pool of star interns to fill your positions as they open up.
  3. Test-drive the talent. The US Department of Labor estimates the price of a bad hire at around 30% of that employee’s first-year salary. But it’s a human resources reality: Sometimes a new employee makes a solid impression in the interview, but simply doesn't gel with your current team or the way your company operates.

    Because of this, hiring someone as an intern is the most effective way to evaluate his or her potential as a full-time employee. When you "try out" candidates via a semester or summer internship, you make fewer mistakes when it comes to full-time staffing.
  4. Increase productivity. Gone are the days when interns were in charge of the morning coffee run and menial jobs no one else wanted to do. According to a recent National Advisory Committee on Education (NACE) survey, only 8% of intern tasks involved clerical or non-essential work responsibilities, with the other 92% spent on higher-level tasks like data analysis, problem-solving, and logistics. A quality intern can make real contributions to productivity now, helping your full-time staff avoid becoming overburdened by side projects, and freeing them up to accomplish more creative tasks or tasks that require high-level expertise.

  5. Enhance perspective. Interns bring more to the table than just an extra set of hands. Especially in today’s modular teams of 5 to 15 employees, new people bring novel perspectives that can break up the status quo, as well as specialized strengths and skill sets. Include interns in brainstorming sessions to maximize this benefit.

  6. Give back to the community. Hiring interns not only helps students in your community get started; it enhances the local workforce. In return, the community will be motivated to support your organization. This makes internship programs an excellent, cost-effective public relations tool.

  7. Apply the latest in techniques and technology. College students learn cutting-edge strategies, techniques, and technology in their field. Implementing an internship program gives you direct access to recent developments. As much as your interns will learn from you, you can also learn from them.

  8. Enhance your social media outreach. Similarly, college students typically have social media savvy. A recent survey from the Pew Research Center showed that in the 18-24 demographic, around 75% use Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. Not only that, they’re informed about current events, popular culture, and the best social media trends.So, if social media is part of your business, interns can enhance your current strategy and build your following. And if you aren’t yet on social media, it’s certainly a good idea. Your interns can help you establish a social media presence and move your business forward.

  9. Foster leadership skills in current employees. As current employees’ mentor and supervise interns, they’ll gain valuable leadership skills. This can be great training for an employee who will eventually occupy a management position. Supervising interns is often less stressful than supervising already established employees.Mentoring and guiding others often motivates employees to hold themselves more accountable and become effective leaders. In this way, adding interns to your company can enhance and multiply leadership.

  10. Improve the overall work environment. With interns on board, employees have a lighter workload, more time for creative or advanced projects, and the opportunity to build confidence and leadership by guiding others.Additionally, interns often bring enthusiasm, motivation, and positive energy. This work ethic and positivity can easily rub off on others, improving the overall culture of your company.

Employer Testimonials

Working with Itasca Community College's (ICC) Cooperative Education (Co-Op Ed) program was a great decision for Running the Rapids. ICC's Co-Op Ed. coordinator was able to help us find a hardworking and tech savvy intern who was a great asset to our marketing efforts. The decision to hire an intern was made much easier as ICC has funding available to help offset their wages. This student started off as an intern, and has decided to come back for our race in 2020 as a committee member of Running the Rapids, we feel very lucky to have her as a part of our team.

Itasca Community College's (ICC) Cooperative Education (Co-Op Ed) internship program provided an excellent opportunity for the Reif Arts Council to secure a much-needed intern for its growing programs. It provided us with a fresh and young outlook to create new community connections and offered the student credit towards an ICC college degree. Our organization thrived due to this program and we have now hired the former intern as a professional full-time employee.