Co-op program stays steady amid economic turmoil
Issue date: 11/7/08 Section: News
Peter Franks, executive director and associate vice provost of the Steinbright Career Development Center, said Drexel's long history and relationship with the co-op companies has helped the program stay strong.
"Drexel has been participating in co-op for 90 years, so we're well-established," Franks said. "We have one of the oldest and largest co-op programs in the world, and that long history helps us maintain relationships with many different companies."
Franks added that many companies know co-op offers them certain advantages, such as the chance to view a possible future employee.
According to Franks, companies also understand that the economy fluctuates and will have its ups and downs.
"Most companies know that in two or three years the economy will be different once again," Franks said. "So while a few might cut back here or there, most will keep hiring because they know the economy is constantly changing."
Vince Petaccio, a sophomore biomedical engineering major currently working at Moberg Research Inc. for his first co-op, agreed that companies like to hire co-op students for many reasons.
"The main thing is that co-ops are cheap, so the company isn't losing a lot of money," Petaccio said. "Also, most students generally know what they're doing, so the company can trust them to do a job."
Petaccio said co-op students work very hard, which benefits the company. The job is also an investment for the company, as they get to hire a "potential future employee."
"Not only is it a paying job, but it's also a grade, so students will really give it their all," Petaccio said. "And the companies get to see the student at work, but without having to make a permanent commitment to the student."
Franks said the co-op program has remained "one step ahead" thanks to the work of the SCDC staff, who keeps in touch with the participating companies to ensure their commitment.
"Everyone here has made sure to keep up-to-date with the co-op companies to make sure we know how they're doing so our students can get the best opportunities," Franks said.
Marilyn Sobel, a current Co-op 101 instructor and former co-op coordinator, said the SCDC offers many workshops and opportunities for students to improve resume, interviewing and business etiquette skills to enhance their skills when dealing with potential co-op employers.