Everything you always wanted to know about co-ops
Is a co-op experience required?
Yes, a cooperative work experience is required for your major. It helps you to prepare for the competitive working world after you graduate.
- Associate degree programs require one co-op, typically at least 350 hours over a ten-week period.
- Bachelor degree co-op periods vary depending on the program. Typically a semester will run between 15 and 16 weeks in length and the summer, between 10 and 12 weeks.
- You must register for your co-op in SIS AND report it in RIT Job Zone.
- There is no tuition fee for your co-op and you receive no credit, but it is required for your degree and will appear on your transcript.
- Some paperwork is required. See your academic chairperson, co-op coordinator or employment advisor for specific forms required for your major.
What about pay?
A co-op should be a paid experience at competitive wages for a temporary job.
- Pay can vary, depending on the type of employer, job duties, your qualifications, and location of the co-op.
- If you can only find a co-op without pay (volunteer position), it is very important for you to ask your chairperson for approval.
- If you receive SSI and/or SSDI, and get a paying co-op, be sure to discuss with your Social Security representative how to handle your SSI/SSDI payments for the time you are on co-op.
When you get a co-op, share your good news with your employment advisor, chairperson and/or co-op coordinator.
It is important that you provide the following information for Job Zone so that your supervisor will receive an on-line evaluation to complete on your performance:
- Name of company, complete mail and e-mail addresses
- Name, job title, and telephone number of person who hired you
- Name, job title, and telephone number of your supervisor
- Your job title and duties
At the beginning of the co-op, we suggest that you:
- Discuss with your employer the best ways to communicate with you. For more information about communication and working with deaf people, tell the employer about the NCE Web site.
- Meet your supervisor and the other workers, and ask for a chart of the organization if available, to help you understand the company’s big picture.
- Find out what your co-workers prefer to be called.
- Ask about the dress code.
Learn about the culture and policies in your workplace. Some examples:
- Everyone is expected to come to work every day and be on time.
- Teamwork and cooperation in the workplace are important.
- Participation in social events will help you be part of the team.
Tips for success
- Understand your responsibilities and work priorities.
- Be motivated to do the tasks well and on time.
- Ask what else you can do when you finish assignments.
- Be flexible and willing to do tasks that are not normally part of your job.
- Ask appropriate questions.
- Learn new skills and grow.
- Maintain a good attitude.
- Make the co-op a positive experience for both you and the employer, since you represent yourself, NTID and other deaf and hard-of-hearing people.