Rowan College at Gloucester County (RCGC) can be found within the pages of South Jersey Biz magazine yet again – this time for their Cooperative Education program. The program has been voted the top cooperative education program in the South Jersey region by the magazine's readership for the third, consecutive year.
RCGC's Cooperative Education program was designed to provide both academic and career readiness opportunities for students within the College's Business Studies division. Students who qualify to participate in the program attend a 3-credit course and are placed in a paid work experience within a field related to their career pathway. Mutually-beneficial, personalized goals are established at the outset of every placement and students are provided with in-depth training to allow them to work independently and provide a true "working world" experience. Since the program's inception in 2013, it has provided more than 150 students with real world, hands-on work experience that has served to prepare them for their future careers.
"Although the program does not guarantee job placement, many of our students have been hired by their sponsoring employers at the conclusion of their experiences," said the Cooperative Education program's coordinator and Business Studies Instructor, Dr. Candice Racite. "In fact, approximately 40 percent of participants have been offered continued employment, which is something we are very proud of."
The key to the program's success can be found in the College's strong partnerships with the surrounding business community. The Cooperative Education program has had more than 60 participating employer partners, and that number continues to grow. Long-standing partners including Bellia Workspace Solutions, Hoffler-Smith Financial Services, Liberty Tax and Newfield National Bank continue to place students in work experiences every semester since the program was first launched. 2017 has seen opportunities for Cooperative Education students continue to expand with the addition of partners including Farmers Insurance, Inspira Health Network, MBB Management, PCH Technologies, South Jersey Federal Credit Union and UBS Financial Services.
The opportunities that Cooperative Education provides are not your run-of-the-mill internships. Students are mentored by employer partners and encouraged to work as autonomously as their individual situations allow. They are not fetching coffee or completing busy work. Last semester one Cooperative Education student had the opportunity to assist in the menu redesign for a popular chain restaurant while another worked behind the scenes on a CBS production set.
"The Cooperative Education program works because it benefits both students and employers," remarked Racite. "Students learn about the expectations of the workforce and are given the opportunity to strengthen their resumes with invaluable, real-world experience. Employers have the chance to assist in the development of the future workforce and many discover their own future employees through the program. Cooperative Education provides the key to both a student's marketability and an employer's staffing needs."
To learn more about the RCGC's award-winning Cooperative Education program, visit RCGC.edu/Coop.
Rowan College at Gloucester County's 250-acre campus is located on Tanyard Road in Deptford, just off Exit 56 of Route 55.