Internship and Co-op Experiences
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Internships and co-ops have become the leading recruitment tool that many employers use today. Many employers hire only from their internship or co-op pool of students, never announcing entry-level positions.
What is an Internship or Co-op?
An internship is a structured educational experience, which incorporates productive work experience as a regular part of a college student's curriculum. An internship is a partnership between the student, employer and the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. Through this experience, students are provided the opportunity to improve their basic work skills, explore career choices, and develop professional competence, and witness classroom theories and principles being applied in real world situations.
Through an internship you will learn more about a particular field and gain real world work experience. In return, the employer benefits by having an intelligent, creative and enthusiastic employee who can make a meaningful contribution to the employer's organization.
Why Participate in an Internship or Co-op?
You will find that an internship or co-op will provide you with the following benefits:
- Explore career goals and options
- Develop new skills you can apply in the workplace
- Gain skills that will enhance your resume and increase your career options
- Explore a business or agency and observe the task and responsibilities preformed daily by professionals
- Experience workplace culture, politics, and business etiquette
- Discover a career or new interest
- Receive active coaching from a mentor
- Create a professional networking system
- Make a difference in an organization
- Prepare for the job market and gain the "experience required"
- Internships and co-ops often lead to permanent employment
Internships or co-ops are strongly encouraged for all students. They are also required by various degree programs, including business, communication technologies, industrial studies, and agribusiness, to name a few.
Note: Inquire with your degree program as to the requirements and criteria for application into an internship or co-op program.
How to Obtain an Internship or Co-op?
Consider following these tips to secure an internship or co-op:
- Choose two or three career fields that interest you and then schedule an appointment to discuss your internship options with a Career Consultant at 608-342-1183.
- Work with Jean Olson in the Cooperative Education Program about co-ops in the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Science (EMS) at 608.342.1686 (149 Ottensman Hall).
- Create a resume, register with Pioneer Career Network and upload your resume in the Pioneer Career Network system to search for internships and co-ops in your major.
- Discuss your internship or co-op interest with your faculty advisor or internship/co-op coordinator.
- See if the State of Wisconsin Summer Affirmative Action Internship Program (SAAIP) might be an option for you.
- Target specific employers that are of interest specifically to you. You could still intern with them, even if we don't have an active internship program with them, but talk to your academic advisor first.
Note: Inquire with your degree program as to the requirements and criteria for application into an internship or co-op program. Questions regarding college credit requirements, progress/evaluation reports, and paid/non-paid internship opportunities should be directed to your academic department.
Other Experiential Learning Opportunities
Listed below are other options to explore a career and build your resume.
- Explore Faculty-Student Research
- Learn about Service Learning options
- Participate in an Education Abroad and International Exchange Program
- Look for part-time employment on-campus related to your career interest through the Office of Financial Aid and explore summer employment opportunities through PCN or in your hometown.
Participation in an internship, co-op, or experiential learning opportunity prior to graduation is strongly encouraged to ALL students regardless if it is, or is not, a requirement for graduation.
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