Employers participate in co-op for various reasons, but employers serious about making a long-term investment through their cooperative education relationships do so for the following advantages:
- Lower labor costs: Fringe benefits often consume 25 to 35 percent of personnel costs. These costs can be minimized by utilizing co-op students in appropriate positions.
- Improved employee retention and lower recruitment costs: When hired after graduation, co-op students generally remain with initial employers longer than traditional new hires. Job expectations of co-op students are more realistic because of exposure to the real work environment. A survey of 250 companies by University of Cincinnati and Mead Corporation revealed “The median organization in the report shows co-ops to be 73% more cost effective over the first 21 months of full-time employment, saving more than $24,000 per graduate co-op hire.” Knowledge gained by co-op students during their work assignments enable them to begin at a higher level of responsibility and productivity than inexperienced graduates.
- A source of innovation: Frequently, because of their professional innocence, co-ops bring enthusiasm, perspectives and suggestions that lead to significant contributions to the employer’s ongoing missions.