Troy University is giving students an opportunity to experience life in the working world through a new program.
TROY’s Co-Op Program features real-world employers offering full-time paid positions to current students, who alternate semesters between the co-op and their normal class schedules.
Offered through TROY Career Services, the program is the first of its kind on a University wide basis.
“This is another opportunity for students to get real hands-on experience while remaining enrolled and connect with employers in probably the most impactful way we’ve ever offered,” said Lauren Cole, Coordinator of Career Services. “These are full-time 40-hours-per-week work experiences that students get paid for, and often the housing is also paid for. It’s a fully developed program by the employer.”
The paid, full-time nature sets the co-op apart from a typical internship.
“An internship is typically part-time, doesn’t have to be paid, and can be but doesn’t have to be for college credit, so it’s a little more fluid,” Cole said. “The co-op is a true full-time job. The employer’s goal typically is to convert these co-op employees into long-term positions with the company. The student truly has the opportunity to prove themselves as a valuable asset in that workplace.”
Students must pass the application process and then go through an interview with the respective employers, who will make their selections.
The program includes only University approved businesses, which work with TROY on scheduling, interviewing and hiring.
Those accepted into the program will be enrolled in Co-Op 3350, a 12-hour non-credit-bearing course that keeps students enrolled during semesters in which they participate in the co-op.
Students must commit to three semesters of the co-op on an alternating basis. For instance, a student might begin the co-op in the fall, then return to campus for a regular course schedule in the spring before alternating back to the co-op the following semester.
The program is open to all TROY students, including those studying online. Mercedes-Benz U.S. International is among the employers involved in the pilot semester for the co-op, and students from any academic background can apply.
To qualify, students must have a minimum GPA of 2.5 and a minimum of 12 semester hours of TROY credit, must be approved by their academic advisor pay a flat fee of $250 each semester of the co-op.
“The student has to be willing and interested in stepping away from their traditional campus experience for three semesters alternating with school semesters,” Cole said. “We will work with them on their schedules, but they won’t be doing their co-op for more than one semester at a time.”
Applications for the initial co-op will be accepted through Oct. 1.