March 17-21 is National Co-operative Education Week, a time set aside by Canadian colleges and universities which provide co-op education opportunities to highlight the value of co-op to students, educational institutions and employers. It is also a time for these institutions and for co-op students to express appreciation to the many employers who make co-op work.
Accordingly, Conestoga College will host an appreciation reception for its many co-op employment partners and students on Thursday, March 20. In attendance will be a number of these employers, College officials and co-op staff, and many of the students who benefit so richly from the co-op experience.
The wine-and-cheese reception is set for 3-5 p.m. in the Blue Room at Conestoga=s Doon campus in Kitchener.
Within its School of Business and Hospitality and School of Engineering Technology, Conestoga currently offers 18 programs of study featuring a co-op component. The College will be expanding the number of co-op programs in the future. In addition, every Conestoga applied degree program will be fully co-op; the first three applied degree programs begin at the College in the fall of 2003.
As a special feature of the reception, three co-op students will be singled out for awards which will recognize their exemplary performance in both college-based and employer-based components of their programs, and their realization of the educational potential afforded by the co-op experience. Receiving awards will be Laurie Dedels (Computer Programmer/Analyst), Lindsay Hemmerling (Civil Engineering Technology - Environmental) and Jean Pellegrini (Business Administration - Accounting). Their co-op experiences were with Mitra Imaging Inc., the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario and PricewaterhouseCoopers Inc. respectively.
One hundred eighteen Canadian colleges and universities have co-op education programs. Over the past 12 years, co-op enrolment nationally has grown by over 67 per cent.
The practical experience gained by co-op students frequently translates into better classroom performance, income to reduce or eliminate student loan indebtedness, development of high quality professional and human relations skills, and rapid employment upon graduation. A recent study by the University of Victoria indicates that approximately 60 per cent of graduating co-op students will accept a position with an employer with whom they completed a co-op work term.
Co-operative Education Week is co-ordinated by the Canadian Association for Co-operative Education (CAFCE), a national nonprofit organization comprising more than 500 educators, employers and government officials.
CAFCE President Anne Marie Coolen of Dalhousie University comments, "Co-operative education programs provide students with alternating study and paid work semesters, allowing them to accumulate experience in the workplace while obtaining their education. Through their co-op work terms, students become aware of the range of new qualifications today’s workplace requires, can develop their innate potential and will acquire essential employability skills."
CONTACT: Linda Hart, 519-748-5220, ext. 3216 or Sandra Cocco, 519-748-5220, ext. 3438