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Co-op Employers

Co-operative Education is a for-credit internship that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skills development in a professional setting. This type of experiential learning is a core value of the Career Center and an integral component of a student’s academic career. Guided by faculty and an on-site supervisor, co-op students work 10 – 20 hours per week for 15 weeks.

In order for an opportunity to be approved as an academic internship, the employer must provide a meaningful work experience related to the student’s major and/or career objective. The job description must show how the position builds on classroom or academic experience. We use the following criteria developed by NACE to ensure a legitimate, educational experience for our students.

NACE Internship Criteria

Benefits to Employers

Hiring a cooperative education student helps you develop a pipeline of talent while providing solutions to short-term, seasonal, or special projects. Guided by faculty and an on-site supervisor, co-op students work 10 – 20 hours per week for 15 weeks, freeing up professional staff to maximize their contributions to higher-level tasks. Our students bring creativity, innovation, and diversity of thought.

Participating employers must:

  • Comply with Ramapo College’s Cooperative Education Program guidelines and regulations
  • Provide meaningful work experiences related to the student’s major and/or career objective
  • Pay students the standard wage for the job they are performing
  • Supervise the work experience of Cooperative Education students
  • Provide on-the-job training
  • Complete Student Performance Evaluations at the middle and end of the semester
Frequently Asked Questions by Employers

Must I pay the intern?
Under the U.S. Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), “Internships in the ‘for profit’ private sector will most often be viewed as employment and interns typically must be paid at least the minimum wage and overtime compensation for hours worked over 40 in a workweek.”

Employers who pay interns benefit by attracting the best applicants and maintaining a sense of accountability. The more one looks like an employee, the more one will think and act like one.

The amount of compensation is established by the employer in accordance with New Jersey Wage & Hour guidelines. Certain charitable non-profit organizations may be exempt from the FLSA. Please contact the Career Center for details (201-684-7444,

Under the Fair Labors Standards Act, if each of the following factors is met, the intern is not an “employee” and therefore the FLSA will not apply: This means that if all of the following hold true to the position you are looking to fill, the student need not be paid for their work with your company, although it is always preferred.

  1. The training is similar to what would be given in a vocational school or academic educational instruction
  2. The training is for the benefit of the intern
  3. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under their close observation
  4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded
  5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the training period
  6. The employer and intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in training.

Employers must be careful with unpaid internships and ensure that all six factors set forth by the DOL are met. Perhaps the most common factor that can cause an intern to become an “employee” is when the intern performs the same type of work as the company’s regular employees such that a regular employee is displaced and/or the employer derives a material benefit from the intern’s work. For a more detailed explanation:

Fact Sheet #71 Internship Programs under the Fair Labor Standards Act

Are we bound to a semester-long placement?
Yes. Employers agree to employ a student for the length of an academic semester.  Each co-op course is worth either two or four academic credits. See below for hour requirements:

4 credits: a position of a minimum of 240 hours per semester
Summer: ~22 hrs/wk for 11 weeks; Fall/Spring: ~16 hrs/wk for 15 weeks
2 credits: a position of a minimum of 120 hours per semester
Summer: ~11 hrs/wk for 11 weeks; Fall/Spring: ~8 hrs/wk for 15 weeks

What responsibilities must I provide the student?
Employers should provide work experience that expands the opportunity for significant learning. Co-op students are expected to apply knowledge gained from classroom experience as well as to develop new skills. Additional learning is achieved through academic requirements provided by co-op faculty advisor. However, if any concerns about the student or the job itself arise, contact the Career Center staff immediately.

Whom do I contact with any questions or concerns?
Contact The Career Center, 201-684- 7444,

May I change a student’s job description, hours, or placement?
If changing the initial agreement, please contact the Career Center staff, 201- 684-7444,

What are my obligations as a participant in the Cooperative Education Program?
The requirements are to: fill out and commit to the electronic Three Way Learning Agreement, evaluate student work during the co-op semester, provide a valid learning experience, provide appropriate training and supervision, and complete a student performance evaluation at the end of the semester.

How do I post a Cooperative Education position?
Please go to Handshake. If you are not already registered, register and if you have positions (internships and full-time), post them. Once your positions are approved, students can apply directly to you. If you have any questions, please contact the Career Center.

What is Ramapo college’s Equal Employment Opportunity Policy?
Ramapo College is an equal opportunity College. It does not discriminate in admission, access to its programs, activities, treatment, nor employment of individuals on the basis of race/color, creed/religion, national origin, handicap/disability, age, gender or sexual orientation. As a participant in the Cooperative Education Program, you are expected to adhere to Ramapo College’s Equal Employment Opportunity Policy in that all students referred to your company be judged and treated on a nondiscriminatory basis. Inquiries may be directed to the Office of Affirmative Action and Workplace Compliance, (201) 684-7514. The policy may be found at

The Agreement
By employing a student through Ramapo College’s Cooperative Education Program, the employer agrees in principle and practice to the conditions outlined in this document. The employer, the student, the co-op faculty advisor and the Career Center staff agree to work together to achieve the desired benefits for all parties participating in the relationship.

Every employer should take full advantage of Ramapo’s new online job database, Handshake, reserved, especially for Ramapo students and alumni. By registering your company, agency or firm with Handshake, you will be granted 24/7 access to student and alumni resumes. Whether your job openings are full time, part-time, internships, Cooperatives, or volunteer work, there is a member of the Ramapo community waiting to fill the position! Please go to Handshake and register if you are not already registered.