Edwards student Kimberlee Litzenberger and Erica Schindel, communications specialist in the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy.

Co-op student success on campus

Since 2007, more than 700 students have participated in the co-op education program in the Edwards School of Business, with 95 per cent of students' placements located in Saskatoon.

“Co-op students gain a clearer idea of their career options and improve confidence in their capabilities,” said Kim Stranden, co-op coordinator and career advisor. “The strength of the co-op program is the positive relationships we have built with employers who come back year after year for their hiring needs.”

The Edwards School of Business Co-op Program is an option for third-year business students pursuing a Bachelor of Commerce degree or for those pursuing an MBA.

“The programs, supported by Federated Co-operatives Limited, allow students to alternate classroom learning with real-life work experience beginning each January,” said Stranden.

Those benefits to employee and employer are on full display on campus this year with four departments hosting placements anywhere between eight and 12 months for students, Stranden said.

Kimberlee Litzenberger, now in her third year in Edwards and majoring in marketing, is one such student who got a position in the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy. Working with Erica Schindel, a communications and marketing specialist in the school, Litzenberg gets hands-on experience working on a variety of projects for the school.

“The Edwards co-op program allowed our school to build capacity in a cost-effective way,” explained Schindel. “It also allowed us to focus on some of the projects we wish we had the time to do.”

Stranden said that each co-op intern must meet admission requirements showcasing their communication, interpersonal and academic skills, and more importantly, a sincere interest in succeeding. They also participate in professional development workshops to prepare them for their January start work terms.

“Our students are also able to inject creativity, new ideas, and enthusiasm into your department,” Stranden said. “They are highly engaged, overachieving and ready for work experience.”

“Kimberlee brought a variety of skills to the table,” said Schindel. “From her experience with social media, to shooting and editing videos, and working with students and faculty to profile their successes and research, she had a lot to offer. There is also the added value that she is a current student on campus, and could provide us with an inside perspective on how to reach and communicate with students to improve their Johnson Shoyama experience.”

The co-op program benefits are two-fold; supervisors become mentors and role models, while students are provided with meaningful, hands-on experience to help build future talent.

“The ability to share knowledge and experience, while taking on the supervision of a direct report has been valuable,” said Schindel.

“The Edwards co-op program is a great asset for me,” said Litzenberger. “I’m excited to go back to class in the fall because of this well-rounded experience. I have gained a different perspective from participating in the program, one that you can’t get from just attending class. I also feel that I have increased my confidence going into future interviews.”

For those departments on campus considering adding a co-op student to their portfolio, Schindel encourages investing in a co-op student.

“Talk to your senior leaders about this great campus resource,” said Schindel. “The Edwards Career Services team worked together with us to ensure a successful experience for Kimberlee and Johnson Shoyama.”

The Edwards School of Business will begin recruiting employers for January 2019 starting in late August until December. Third-year students will be available in six areas of undergraduate study including Accounting, Finance, Management, Marketing, Human Resources, and Operations Management; and our first year MBA students.

Campus partners are invited to the Co-op Open House at 3 pm, Sept. 7 at Prairieland Park to get more information on how to get started (RSVP is required), or visit edwardscoop.ca.

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