What Is a Cooperative Education Internship?
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Cooperative Education (Co-Op) internships create educational partnerships among Montana
State University Billings, the business community, and students.
This unique academic program allows students to earn academic credit, and often a wage, while combining classroom learning with practical work experience. In 2013-14, 196 students earned 811 CE credits; paid interns earned $13.48/hr, on average.
What Do Co-Op Interns Do?
Local, state and national employers are matched with MSU Billings students who bring fresh perspectives and enthusiasm to the workplace. Interns can be assigned to a variety of special projects and duties that blend academic requirements with company goals.
Employers develop a job description which outlines duties and responsibilities to determine the role an intern will play within an organization.
Cooperative Education is first and foremost an educational program. Work environments that provide a relevant learning experience are win/win for both employers and students. [No more than 20% of the intern's responsibilities may be administrative/clerical in nature.]
Why Should I Participate in Co-Op Internships?
Employers give back to the community while creating a local workforce.
Interns provide a fresh source of ideas, talent, energy, and enthusiasm.
Hosting an intern saves on the costs of recruitment and improves personnel selection by using actual on-the-job performance as a basis for permanent hiring decisions.
Participating in Co-Op Ed Internships builds employers' hiring pool.
Paying Co-Op Interns
Under the U.S. Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), “Internships in the 'for-profit' private sector will most often be viewed as employment and interns typically must be paid at least the minimum wage and overtime compensation for hours worked over 40 in a workweek.”
Employers who pay interns benefit by attracting the best applicants and maintaining a sense of accountability. The more one looks like an employee, the more one will think and act like one.
The amount of compensation is established by the employer in accordance with Montana Wage & Hour guidelines. Certain charitable non-profit organizations may be exempt from the FLSA. Please contact the Cooperative Education office for details.
How Many Hours Do Co-Op Ed Interns Usually Work?
Our students are committed to both their academic responsibilities and the work they do at their internship site; balance and flexibility is the key to success in both. Students are required to work a minimum of 45 hours to receive one academic credit.
On average, students complete a 3-credit internship during a semester; this averages to working approximately 10-12 hours per week during a 15-week semester.
MONTANA STATE UNIVERSITY BILLINGS IS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY/AFFIRMATIVE ACTION/ADA EMPLOYER
Pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, Title IX of the Education Amendments, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, Executive Order 11246 as amended, Vietnam era and Disabled Veterans Act, as amended, and the Montana State Human Rights Act—Montana State University Billings has a policy of nondiscrimination in employment practices and in admissions, access to and conduct of educational programs and activities.
Discrimination is prohibited on the basis of race, sex, color, national origin, religion, age, disability, or marital status. Any student, employee, applicant for admission or employment may file a discrimination grievance. Inquiries or grievances should be directed to the Human Resources/EEO-AA Director in McMullen Hall Room 310, phone 406-657-2278.