Delivering co-op opportunities during COVID-19 times
The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly changed the work environment. Co-operative Education is built on the foundation of providing hands-on learning experiences for students, but what do you do when that economically-stable rock is eroded by a world-wide pandemic?
The Co-operative Education department has been working tirelessly to provide students with invaluable work experiences related to their programs of study and developing new and creative ways to offer supports and services. Some of changes they have had to make as a result of the public health crisis include instruction via virtual classrooms, procuring employment opportunities that adhere to safety mandates, and developing in-house co-op work-term alternatives.
A new option for co-op students during the pandemic, is a virtual Entrepreneurship Co-op (eCo-op). Working in partnership with SURGE, students are provided with the opportunity to learn how to turn an idea into a business. During an e-Co-op work term:
- students perform market research;
- learn how to prototype;
- launch a product/service; and
- pitch an idea to potential customers or investors.
Students are also matched with a mentor, attend virtual entrepreneurship events and workshops, and connect with community partners, including: Innovation Factory, the City of Hamilton, TechPlace and IBM.
The realities of learning - and working - have changed very quickly in the past few months and the Co-operative Education department has shifted its approach to deliver career-related employment opportunities for Mohawk College students and graduates.
Note: The photo above was taken prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic when physical distancing measures were not in place.