Supervisor's Manual from CEED Division of ASEE
There are three equally important partners in a successful co-op program: the university, the student, and the employer.
The employer who signs on with a school’s co-op program is making a commitment, but one with a big payoff. When participating in Pitt’s co-op program, undergraduates alternate work and school terms and complete a minimum of three four-month work rotations prior to graduation. Most of our students return to the same employer for all three or four rotations, which gives them the opportunity to obtain an in-depth experience unlike any other. Our students bring a fresh perspective, cutting-edge technology, enthusiasm and talent to the job site, and make their own invaluable and progressive contributions.
Our employer partners make certain that the students receive appropriate and challenging work. Our hope is that by the time the student is on the third alternating rotation, he or she is already acting as an entry-level engineer. Pitt’s co-op program is a tremendous opportunity for our employers to evaluate students over a long period of time. Additionally, it is a cost-effective means of hiring new talent into the organization. Most students will receive a full-time offer upon graduation, and typically 60-70% of those students will accept the offer.
Frequently asked Questions:Do I have to commit to all three rotations? We do ask our employers to anticipate the student’s return for the minimum of three terms. We do realize that economics and other variables may preclude a student from finishing all of the rotations with your company, but we look for the initial intent to have the student for three alternating terms.
What if the student is not the right fit? Occasionally a student may not work out for one reason or another. You are not obligated to take the student back under those conditions. Both our students and employers complete evaluations each term, and the opportunity to ask the student to return is part of that process. Students can also decide not to return to a co-op employer, but they must resign in a timely fashion so that you will have time to find another candidate. Very few of our co-ops change companies and typically 85-90% of the students finish the required three terms of the co-op program.
Are the students paid? Yes, the employers pay the students. A salary survey is completed each year to assist you in determining the pay scale.