Cooperative Education

Through Cooperative Education, Benedictine is blending the resources of the academic world and the business community to create students who are truly prepared for life.

Academic Achievement. Professional Practice.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is Cooperative Education?
Q. Who can participate in Cooperative Education?
Q. What if my grades aren't high enough to participate?
Q. Will I have a mentor to help me in the Cooperative Education process?
Q. How is Cooperative Education different from an internship?
Q. How will Benedictine prepare me for my Cooperative Education experience?
Q. Do I need previous work experience?
Q. Am I required to pay for Cooperative Education credits?
Q. Do I have to pay for anything else?
Q. How many hours do I have to work?
Q. Will I get paid during the work experience?
Q. Are the Cooperative Education courses taken for grade?
Q. Am I guaranteed to get an apprenticeship in my field of study?
Q. Are Cooperative Education apprenticeships available every semester?
Q. How long does the Cooperative Education apprenticeship last?
Q. If I participate in Cooperative Education, am I guaranteed a full-time job after I graduate?
Q. Can I use the job that I am currently working as my Cooperative Education apprenticeship?
Q. How will participating in Cooperative Education affect my other course work?
Q. How will participating in Cooperative Education affect my graduation date?
Q. What if I leave Cooperative Education in the middle or end of a semester?
Q. Will Cooperative Education credits transfer to other colleges?
Q. I am an international student studying in the US on an F-1 visa; am I eligible to participate in Cooperative Education?

Q. What is Cooperative Education?

A. Cooperative Education is a course of study that supports your career preparation by combining classroom learning with a part-time job in your area of study. You are a full-time student who works part-time. When you graduate, you will have a degree and up to 18 months of experience in your field that will leave you better prepared for career success.

Q. Who can participate in Cooperative Education?

A. Full-time Benedictine University students who have attained junior standing and carry a 3.0 GPA or greater are eligible to participate. Additionally, a faculty recommendation is required, and students must be able to work around 20 hours per week.

Q. What if my grades aren't high enough to participate?

A. If you want to participate in Cooperative Education, we encourage you to seek out the available resources that will help you to raise your grades to the minimum required 3.0 GPA by your junior year. At the Benedictine Resource Center, numerous supports are available, including one-on-one, group or online tutoring, college success workshops, or the Learning Success Plan program.

Q. Will I have a mentor to help me in the Cooperative Education process?

A. Yes, you will have multiple sources of support during your Cooperative Education experience. Your employer will be your coach on the work site, and the Office of Cooperative Education will provide support to you and your employer to ensure a rich experience on the job.

Q. How is Cooperative Education different from an internship?

A. Cooperative Education apprenticeships are distinct from internships in several ways. First, you must meet specific criteria, such as maintaining at least a 3.0 GPA and receiving a faculty nomination, to participate in a Cooperative Education experience. Cooperative Education is structured in a way that creates a unique partnership between employers and the University that leads to higher quality learning and a stronger workforce. We ask employers to provide direct feedback about your work performance and the content of the classwork that will help you perform best in your selected field of study.

Cooperative Education apprenticeships are always a paid position with an employer, always offered with class credit, and span several semesters with one employer. Over time, the employer plays an active role in shaping learning on the job and course content at the University. Internships, however, are often less structured, can be unpaid, and typically last up to one semester as career options are explored.

Q. How will Benedictine prepare me for my Cooperative Education experience?

A. Cooperative Education coursework, along with support from faculty and the Office of Cooperative Education, will prepare you before starting your work experience. During your work experience, Cooperative Education coursework will further complement and enhance it with classroom learning.

There are four courses in the Cooperative Education curriculum:

  1. COED 300: Foundations of Cooperative Education
  2. COED 301: Interdisciplinary Seminar in Contemporary Issues at Work
  3. COED 390: Strategic Problem Solving and Workplace Portfolio I
  4. COED 391: Strategic Problem Solving and Workplace Portfolio II
Q. Do I need previous work experience?

A. Even if you have never held a job before, the Cooperative Education coursework will help to prepare you for appropriate, professional conduct. Additionally, Benedictine faculty and the Office of Cooperative Education are available to provide guidance and answer questions as needed. We will help to identify opportunities that are appropriate for you.

Q. Am I required to pay for Cooperative Education credits?

A. Cooperative Education courses are approved college level courses. Therefore, students pay for credits in which they enroll, just the same as other courses.

Q. Do I have to pay for anything else?

A. At this time, there are no additional fees required to participate.

Q. How many hours do I have to work?

A. Cooperative Education students work around 20 hours per week during the semester.

Q. Will I get paid during the work experience?

A. Yes. Cooperative Education apprenticeships are always paid, and the wage differs by industry.

Q. Are the Cooperative Education courses taken for grade?

A. Yes.

Q. Am I guaranteed to get an apprenticeship in my field of study?

A. We work to invite as many employers as possible to partner with Benedictine University in Cooperative Education. The likelihood that you would work for an employer in your field of study is high, but not guaranteed.

Q. Are Cooperative Education apprenticeships available every semester?

A. At this time, they are available only in the fall and spring semesters and during the last three of the four Cooperative Education employment courses.

Q. How long does the Cooperative Education apprenticeship last?

A. Cooperative Education students should expect to remain with their employer for three semesters.

Q. If I participate in Cooperative Education, am I guaranteed a full-time job after I graduate?

A. Experience across the nation indicates that many employers participate in Cooperative Education to develop talent for their organizations, and about half offer students full-time employment; however, employers are not obligated to offer full-time positions to our Cooperative Education students upon graduation.

Q. Can I use the job that I am currently working as my Cooperative Education apprenticeship?

A. We welcome a conversation to evaluate your current work experience. Your employer must agree to partner in Cooperative Education at Benedictine to ensure your work assignments support the program's learning objectives. In order for your current job (around 20 hours per week) to serve as your Cooperative Education experience, your employer must meet with the Executive Director; you must be accepted into the Cooperative Education cohort; and you must complete the Cooperative Education Foundations course successfully. Before enrolling, contact the Office of Cooperative Education to confirm next steps.

Q. How will participating in Cooperative Education affect my other course work?

A. Cooperative Education is integrated into the academic curriculum. COED 301 is a three-hour course that meets one of your general education credit requirements. COED 390 and COED 391 are three-hour courses that may meet the elective requirements of your major. To confirm, please contact the Office of Cooperative Education.

Our employer partners will work with you to schedule your part-time work during hours that do not interfere with your class schedule.

Q. How will participating in Cooperative Education affect my graduation date?

A. Because Cooperative Education courses satisfy many other University requirements for the conferring of a baccalaureate degree, participation in the work experience should not affect your graduation date. Visit with your academic advisor to confirm.

Q. What if I leave Cooperative Education in the middle or end of the semester?

A. If a student were to leave Cooperative Education, then they would also forfeit their position with their employer. Withdrawal from the course, as with any course, may be permanently reflected on your academic transcript.

Q. Will Cooperative Education credits transfer to other colleges?

A. Cooperative Education courses receive the same level of academic review and scrutiny as all other courses taught at Benedictine. The learning outcomes and academic rigor are thoroughly reviewed before students are allowed to enroll. As with all academic credit, the acceptance of transferred credit is a decision made by the receiving institution of higher learning, and Benedictine will fully cooperate with them to ensure an accurate evaluation.

Q. I am an international student studying in the US on an F-1 visa; am I eligible to participate in Cooperative Education?

A. International students who have been enrolled in school full-time for one year on valid F-1 status, in addition to meeting all Cooperative Education requirements, are eligible to participate in Cooperative Education; prior authorization by International Programs and Services and notification to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) is required. For more information, please click here or contact your international adviser for information on international employment.

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Entrance Requirements
  1. Full-time Benedictine University at Springfield student
  2. Junior standing
  3. 3.0 GPA or greater.
  4. Faculty recommendation
  5. Able to work up to 20 hours per week.
  6. Completed Cooperative Education application.
  7. Involvement in extracurricular activities on-campus is highly encouraged.
Cooperative Education Employer Partners

Our list of Cooperative Education employer partners continues to grow. Click here to see a current roster.

Bradley J. Warren

Executive Director, Office of Cooperative Education
217-718-5302
bwarren@ben.edu

Benedictine University at Springfield

Brinkerhoff Home 203
1500 North Fifth Street
Springfield, Illinois 62702