Are you thinking of creating a new position or hiring an entry-level employee? Are you looking for an energetic young person to assist with a special project or support you during a busy season? Making a position available for an Antioch co-op student or convincing a colleague to do so is a great way to become involved in our academic community as well as to contribute to a young person’s education. It is also a cost-effective way to infuse youthful energy into an organization and gain the advantages that come with diversifying the perspectives of your team.
Like most institutions of higher learning today, Antioch College’s student body is diversifying. As of our 2016 fall census, approximately 35% of currently enrolled students identify as people of color, 27% of our young adults are first generation students, and a full 67% of our first-year cohort are Pell-grant eligible. Antioch’s cooperative education program faculty are excited to serve a new generation of students, as future gainful employment is an important consideration for this new demographic.
Antioch College prides itself on its efforts to help students establish themselves in careers and communities of practice that are informed by their co-op engagement. Studies of the impact of cooperative education suggest that programs that involve students in the world of work have a significant impact on the development of professionals that are more entrepreneurial, nationally connected, and acquainted with problem-focused approaches to work.
In reviewing the career development of Antioch alumni, for example, Linn and Ferguson (1999) reported a high rate of self-employment—a fact that should be closely considered as our graduates set out to find a place for themselves in a world where high unemployment and slow economic growth is sometimes regarded as the ‘new normal’. Anecdotal evidence offered by other alumni in various settings further suggests that the co-op experience affords students a competitive advantage as they seek employment after graduation or opportunities for further study. Not only do they acquire the kind of experience that helps fill out a resume, they are exposed to the culture of the workplace, which provides a significant perspective on what it means to live a productive life. We believe that the self-efficacy afforded by real-world experience is one of the clear benefits affecting post-graduation employment in the humanities.