Congratulations! As a new student in the Alabama Co-op Program, you have made an important step in your educational and career development.
The purpose of the following information is to provide you with details of the University of Alabama Cooperative Education Program. It offers general information about the program and defines program policies, procedures, and guidelines. You will be provided with updated information on a regular basis.
The UA Co-op Tradition
Begun over fifty years ago as a division of the School of Engineering, the Cooperative Education Program has grown larger, including not only engineering students, but also those enrolled in Arts and Sciences, Commerce and Business Administration, College of Communication and Information Sciences, Human Environmental Sciences, Nursing, and Social Work. In addition, graduate students enrolled in these schools are now eligible to participate.
The Cooperative Education Program has experienced strong institutional support from The University of Alabama and has received federal funds aimed at strengthening and expanding the program. In addition, the co-op program has been recognized as a leader in the field of professional development, and federal sources awarded the program additional monies to administer the Southeastern Training Center for Cooperative Education for over twelve years (1982-1994).
The Co-op Staff
The staff members of the Cooperative Education Program are professionals with many years of cooperative education experience. Mrs. Amy Ratliff serves as Director and has been associated with the program for over 8 years. Mr. Neil Adams serves as the Assistant Director of the Co-op Program. Mrs. Lara Ellen Locke serves as the Coordinator. Mrs. Mandi Bitterman is our Administrative Secretary and Ms. Kristal Williams is our Office Associate. Each staff member has primary responsibility for coordinating co-op activities in a range of academic majors and degree programs.
You, The Co-op Student
University of Alabama co-op students fill positions with businesses throughout the United States. Students are employed in a wide range of organizations, including state and federal agencies, “Fortune 500” corporations, and locally owned companies.
You should be aware that several people are regularly updated concerning your progress in the co-op program. At the conclusion of each work period, a copy of your student work report is sent to your faculty advisor. Also, at the conclusion of each academic semester, a copy of your grade report is sent to your employer. This ensures that all parties are kept informed of your academic and professional progress.
UA Semester System and Calendar
The University of Alabama operates on a semester system, which allows three work or school periods during each calendar year. The fall and spring periods last approximately four months each, while the summer period lasts for slightly more than three months. You will receive a current “co-op calendar” at each pre-work meeting.
Helpful Information for UA Co-op Students
Now that you have become an Alabama co-op student you may be interested in some of the following items:
Housing: Most employers provide some assistance in locating suitable housing while you are at your co-op assignment. If you are unsure of housing opportunities at your employer’s location, contact your co-op coordinator for suggestions. During your school semesters, you are permitted to waive the University housing contract and are given priority in securing University housing for your return to campus.
Transportation: Almost all co-op assignments require that you provide your own transportation. Some employers provide reimbursement from your school/home to the work location. If you are unsure of your employer’s guidelines, check with either your employer coordinator or University coordinator. If you are working outside the state of Alabama, the co-op office will provide you with a motor vehicle reciprocity form at the pre-work meeting.
Insurance: Co-op employers provide various types of insurance. You should determine whether you need to maintain your University student insurance (for which you are still eligible) while at your co-op work assignment.
Emergency Loans: The Co-op office has a small fund to assist Co-op students with short-term financial problems. Contact your Coordinator for details.
I-9 Requirements: All employers must now verify your 1) identity and 2) eligibility to work within three days of your initial employment. A social security card and state-issued photo driver’s license will satisfy the “I-9” forms for most of you.