Launch Global Education
Sparks blog: What is a Coop Program?

Nope, it is not about chickens.

by Mr. Michael Wagner

For young adults, navigating the world after graduation can be a daunting task. There is the pressure of producing a high school resume that will stand out in a sea of college applications of 50,000, 75,000, or even 100,000 applicants. Then there is the task of performing well in college to secure a job and career. Not to mention the competitive nature of securing an internship, which can be on the same competitive level as being accepted into a college.  

Growing demand for employability skills

With a growing demand from employers to conduct skills-based hiring of college graduates, it is becoming more and more important that graduates possess employability skills that can immediately be applied to a position. These skills include professionalism, a strong work ethic, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills, excellent business communication skills, collaborative skills, and basic technology skills.

One of the best ways to obtain these skills is to be involved in a Cooperative Education (Coop) Program.

What is a Coop program?

A Coop program combines on-campus, formal, academic studies with an opportunity for students to work, part-time or full-time, off-campus at a business position aligned with the student’s chosen major.

The benefits of a Coop program go above and beyond standard academic college curriculum because the program involves actual on-the-job work experience. Some of the benefits for students are:

·       gaining career-based work experience while attending college

·       applying what is learned in class to a real-world setting

·       working on “human skills” development

·       increasing choices in, and chances of, securing employment after graduation

A career trial run

The opportunities that students gain from a Coop program can greatly enhance the overall college learning experience. Through on-campus learning and real-world job experience, students get a firsthand on-the-job trial run of their chosen career. Beyond the increase in employment opportunities, this is one of the main advantages for students who are considering a Coop program within their major.

intern walking

Make it part of your college search

If a Coop program sounds like a good fit, students should include it as a factor in their college search.  Be warned that acceptance into these programs can also be highly competitive.

Not all universities offer Coop programs and those that do typically offer it only for select majors. It is important to note that these programs may also extend a student’s time in college beyond four years.  Yet for those looking for an experience with a more direct link to employment, they can be a terrific option.


Coop programs are not for every student; however, for the student that is looking for an alternative educational experience in college, one combining traditional college course work with real-life experience, they can be a fantastic option.

Mr. Michael J. Wagner

Michael Wagner, MAED is a founder and the Knowledge Pilot for Launch Education.  Mr. Mike has assisted hundreds of students around the world on their college pathways