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Co-op Policies

Job description

Each co-op job requires a job description. Since co-op must be related to a student’s major, the job description is critical in assessing its relevance and needs to be comprehensive.  A co-op needs to provide sufficient learning for a student so academic rigor is important.

Mentoring and supervision

Wentworth students are known for hitting the ground running when they enter the workplace. However, that does not imply that they are completely self-sufficient. Just as any employee needs supervision, direction, and mentoring, a co-op student requires that same attention.  Wentworth requires that co-op supervisors are content matter experts.  Engineering students need to be supervised by Engineers.  Computer Science students must be supervised by computer experts. 

Manage Performance

It’s important to manage the student’s job performance:

  • · Define initial performance expectation and job duties.
  • · Provide frequent, timely, specific feedback and coaching about specific behaviors.
  • · Point out activities that will help the student develop.
  • · Provide increasing responsibility as student is ready.
  • · Provide performance feedback.

Performance Management

About one or two weeks into the assignment, help your student with the goal-setting process.  About three weeks after your student’s start date, identify and discuss “well-dones” and “opportunities for improvement.”

Near the end of your student’s assignment, Wentworth Institute of Technology ask you to complete an on-line assessment for your student. This evaluation should be reviewed with your student prior to the student’s departure. This form is a critical component of the student’s grade and must be completed within the time frame requested on the form.

The Employer and Wentworth Partnership

Wentworth Institute of Technology has offered co-ops since 1975.  The staff of the Center for Cooperative Education and Career Development (Co-ops + Careers) is knowledgeable about experiential education, student development, our curriculum and industry and employment trends.  Let us help you to source our students as co-op candidates and provide guidance throughout the selection and employment periods. 

On occasion, students may not meet an employer's expectations. We are here to partner with you should you need to discuss performance.  We can coach our students to help them successfully complete their co-op.  Any student who is unsuccessful receives a failing grade and must repeat the experience so they may graduate.

Employment law

Employers must adhere to federal and state employment law. Two areas often questioned relate to paying co-op students.

First is the question of paying or not paying a co-op student. In April 2010, the Wage and Hour Division of the U. S. Department of Labor published at factsheet to help determine whether interns/co-ops must be paid the minimum wage and overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act—Fact Sheet #71: Internship Programs Under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Second is the question of the student being an employee or independent contractor.

A 1099 is used to pay independent contractors. Based on the federal government’s definition of an independent contractor, it is unlikely that a co-op student could be classified as an independent contractor.

The U. S. Department of Labor published an informative report on determining independent contractor status.

Students frequently do not understand what it means to work as an independent contractor and be paid through a 1099. They are often caught unaware that their tax liability increases under a 1099.

Performance evaluations

The co-op curriculum requires feedback from the student’s supervisor. Two evaluations of the student’s work are requested. The first is a brief mid-term evaluation. The second is a more detailed evaluation at the end of the student’s co-op.

Notification of layoff or discharge

Since students are enrolled as a full-time student at Wentworth during their co-op, it is critical to know of any changes to their employment status. While the student themselves typically notify us of a layoff or discharge, we ask that the employer also notify us of this change.

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