Employer Benefits and Responsibilities

Employer Benefits

  • Co-op students allow employers to complete special or ongoing projects and add needed additional staff members in a cost efficient manner.
  • Interns bring new and innovative ideas to an employer.
  • Co-ops allow employers to try out and evaluate potential full-time employees without any long-term commitments.
  • Training costs and time is greatly reduced if an employer converts a co-op employee to a full-time employee.
  • Co-op students are great ways to promote your company on campus.
  • Co-op students tend to have a lower turnover rate, therefore, the employer has a lower turnover rate which reduces recruiting time and costs.
  • Students tend to be energetic about their work while doing an internship or co-op.
  • Co-op programs can help develop a strong bond with the University community.

Employer Responsibilities

  • Employers need to develop positions that pertain to the student’s field of study.  See the list of majors offered at the University of Maine.
  • The co-op position should use and expand on the student’s educational background.
  • Employers are responsible for supervising co-op students. Regular meetings should be set up between the student and an on-site supervisor.
  • The organization should have a person (Internship/Co-op Coordinator) who can answer questions that the University or a  student may have about the position.
  • The organization needs to provide a supervisor who will be able to assist the student(s) with questions and concerns.
  • Training should be provided to the students.
  • Orientation to the company should be completed prior to or concurrently with the start of the co-op.  Orientation should include safety concerns or requirements, hours to be at work, appropriate attire, introduction to people in the company, and other items the company sees as important.
  • The supervisor should assist the student with the development of his or her learning contract by stating specifics of the job’s responsibilities.
  • The student should be included in meetings and other activities required by employees in the same department.
  • Employers should provide an evaluation of the student’s progress regularly and at the end of the internship.
  • Employers typically allow for on-site visits by the faculty coordinator. Employers should notify the faculty coordinator of any changes in employment (i.e. job description change, time commitment change, etc.)

Attributes of a Quality Internship or Co-op Job

  • The job assignment should be related to the student’s field of interest and level of study.
  • Internships and co-ops should be challenging. They should allow for the utilization of problem solving skills, time management skills, and organizational skills.
  • A progressive increase in responsibility should accompany a student’s demonstrated ability.
  • Flexibility is important for an internship or co-op because it allows for the student to explore different aspects of the job, the company, and the career.