Internal Co-op vs. External Co-op: Is There a Difference?

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Internal Co-op vs. External Co-op: Is There a Difference?

Paul Ethier, a 20-year-old middler entrepreneurship major at Northeastern University, stands at the Information Center in the Curry Student Center on a busy Friday afternoon. In freshly pressed khakis and a slate blue button down shirt, he smiles as he chats casually with one of his employees.

Two floors above, Frank Grajales, a middler entrepreneurship and MIS major, sits at the scheduling desk, beside his employees, booking reservations for the student center meeting rooms.

Besides the obvious, what do these students have in common? They both are co-op students employed by Northeastern University. The co-op department places students in co-ops with outside companies as well as in positions within Northeastern.

According to Doreen Hodgkin, Senior Associate Dean for Administration in the Division of Cooperative Education, the university offers a variety of co-op jobs in most on campus departments. They range from jobs in the Registrar’s Office to the Admissions Office and Public Relations Department. There are also jobs in the Career Services Department as well as managerial positions and a co-op at WRBB, the campus radio station. There are only a few locations on campus, such as Lane Health Center, who do not hire co-op students for confidentiality purposes, Hodgkin said.

Ethier manages the Information Center and Game Room in the student center. He oversees 26 work-study employees and his tasks range from hiring and scheduling employees to running staff meetings to managing game room revenues and organizing tournaments. He makes decisions on what games and programs to provide in the game room.

Ethier said he was first attracted to the job because he enjoys arcade games and was looking for a managerial position. He thought the job would be a great way to combine his interests and to build his resume and did not think he could find a similar experience anywhere else.

Grajales manages the scheduling desk in the Curry Student Center, which is a busy hub responsible for all activities going on in the student center.

Grajales’ tasks include managing a work-study staff of 11, hiring and scheduling new employees, taking reservations for rooms and database entry. He also deals with and resolves conflicts with room reservations.

“To some people, I’m sort of a figurehead,” said Grajales.

Grajales first interviewed for a different position within the student center, but was offered the scheduling desk job instead. After speaking with his future manager he thought it seemed like a fun environment to work in, which proved true when he began working there.

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