Getting from college to a paycheck is a big worry for young adults; in 2011, only 18% of college grads had job offers by the end of April before graduation, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers.
That’s lending new appeal to a century-old college program long disdained by elite schools as “vocational education” – the co-op plan.
Students in co-op programs alternate classroom courses with several months’ paid or unpaid work related to their major, earning college credit from the experience. Students often need five years to graduate from co-op programs, but universities that offer them say co-op grads get job offers at a rate well above average, and applicants are beating a path to their doors. Such programs are especially hot in a tight job market where employers are less likely to take a chance on inexperienced graduates or to offer on-the-job training.