Every semester, millions of college students nationwide look to gain valuable work experience through a co-op assignment with a nearby company. Most seek out positions that align with their major, hoping to get a jump on their peers when it comes time to search for a job post-graduation. Unfortunately, many find out that they’re looked upon as the eager student who will go on coffee runs, file papers or complete minor tasks that no full time employee wants to do. Perhaps the company benefits but what value does the student receive?
Crown places significant emphasis on its co-op program with approximately 200 students participating each year. Many return for multiple semesters, moving to different assignments throughout the company to help them see what they will be able to do with their degree.
A co-op at Crown receives the experience of being a valued employee, as they should be. They receive much of the same training. They are included in department meetings. Most importantly, they experience real-world responsibility. This may seem intimidating and sound like a lot to expect from a co-op, but isn’t that the point? Co-ops and internships are meant to prepare students for a regular position. They should provide students with a great understanding of what it would be like to work at a company for more than a few months.
“We aren’t really treated differently than the other employees,” said Olivia Slagle, a co-op in the marketing communications department. “We have actual projects that require work and collaboration.”
She is exactly right. Crown offers a lot of resources and pushes to train and educate co-ops just like regular employees. However, the Crown co-op program also provides broad exposure to the company. Throughout the semester, co-ops are invited to supervisor lunches, communication days, plant tours, trainings and various other activities. These events are all scheduled to make sure co-ops have a valuable experience, learn a lot about the company and are able to network with other employees. Co-ops are given the freedom to create their own ideas, think for themselves and make a lasting impact on the company.
Throughout the semester, each co-op produces a presentation that showcases the various projects they were involved in and the type of work they have completed. This information is presented to both peers and management and provides the co-ops with one last opportunity to network and learn from one another before heading back to college.
A semester as a co-op proves to be a great experience for students and their fellow employees. Here are some tips provided by recent Crown co-ops, for ensuring a successful experience:
- Ask a lot of questions
- Be willing to try anything
- Stay calm and be comfortable with your colleagues
- Take the initiative to ask for challenging projects
- Always work hard
- The more work you put in, the more you will learn
For more information about co-op opportunities at Crown, please visit our Careers page and select Intern Co-op as the Job Type in the search criteria.