earn while they learn
program provides valuable experience
by doing is taking hold at colleges worldwide.
This fall, more than 600 students are registered for the UNM
Cooperative Education Program, which connects academic theory
with paid work experience.
not only earn while they learn, they often gain a foothold in
a position related to their field of study.
percent of our students get fulltime job offers from their co-op
employer after graduation, says Mary Montaño, career
development facilitator for UNM Career Services. And typically,
they will earn $3-5,000 more per year than a student who didnt
do the job as a co-op.
a co-op, UNM students must have completed 24 hours of coursework.
Because the majority of students hold fulltime jobs, linking
employment with education aids retention.
of our students support themselves or whole families. Our focus
is to get the student degree-related experience. Its better
to find out as a junior that this is not what you want to do
with your life. Its a good career exploration tool,
majoring in Managing Information Systems and my job with Intel
Corporation is exactly what I have been studying for,
says UNM senior Jason Maxwell. I applied what I have learned
in school and learned much more about my major.
benefit, too. A UNM technical writing student working for a
small desktop company wrote a proposal netting the organization
a $2.5 million grant. And UNM history majors have been a boon
for a short-handed U.S. Census Bureau. The USDA and Philips
Semiconductor are big UNM co-op supporters.
focus is to get the student degree-related experience. Its
better to find out as a junior that this is not what you want
to do with your life.
differ from internships, typically unpaid positions lacking
a formalized agreement between employer and student. A co-op
is an official position that pays from seven to $30 per hour
and the experience is reflected on college transcripts. Co-op
employees maintain fulltime student status even if short a fulltime
Services staff recruit students to the program holding office
hours at several colleges and speaking to classes and student
organizations and participate in outreach events.
is president of the New Mexico Experiential Education Association
(NMEEA). She chaired the state association-sponsored national
Cooperative Education and Internship Association conference
in April attended by more than 300 career services professionals
from across the United States, Japan, Germany, England and Australia.
raised funds for NMEEA future projects. It was a huge
financial success. We exceeded our goal by more than 350 percent,
Montaño says. It was a challenge and a growth opportunity
for the state association.
funds will allow NMEEA to cosponsor with UNM and New Mexico
State University (NMSU) a public sector job fair at NMSU Nov.
19 and UNM Nov. 21. Students enrolled at any two or four year
college in New Mexico are invited to attend.
contact Career Services at 277-2531.