Co-op Employers

Partner with PennWest California to Meet Temporary Employment Needs

PennWest California's Cooperative Education (Co-op) program provides employers with qualified students to meet temporary employment needs.

Undergraduate and graduate students in all majors and degree programs can gain paid, career-related experience, while employers like you can hire motivated employees who are eager to work and learn more about their chosen fields.

Employer Benefits

Over the years, area employers have found many advantages to participating in PennWest California's co-op program:

  • Employers gain motivated employees to meet short-term employment needs.
  • Co-ops simplify the recruitment process for employers.
  • Co-ops are an effective way to recruit future full-time employees.
  • Co-ops are a great way to form a relationship with PennWest California for future employment needs.
  • Employers gain satisfaction by helping students better understand future careers.
  • Co-op is a flexible program. Employers can hire co-op students for both part-time and full-time positions.


PennWest California enables employers to easily participate in our co-op program through Handshake, our online resource that connects you to all employment-related activities and opportunities. Learn more about using Handshake.

For more information about the co-op program, contact the Career & Professional Development Center at (724) 938-4413 or email

Frequently Asked Questions

To get started as a co-op employer with PennWest California, review the following Q&A for basic information.  The Career & Professional Development Center can also provide more information and help.

Do employers have to pay co-op students?

Yes, all co-op positions must be paid.


What's the difference between a co-op and an internship?

  • Internships are coordinated and supervised by PennWest California's academic departments; co-ops are coordinated and supervised by the Career & Professional Development Center.
  • Internships can be paid or unpaid; co-ops are always paid positions.
  • Internships offer students for-credit experiences. Co-op students do not receive credit for their experiences.


Can I advertise job openings that are both a co-op and an internship?

Yes, an employer can post co-op and internship job opportunities on Handshake, our online career resource for employers and students.


Is there a fee to post my position?

No, you can post positions on Handshake-and for free.


How long do co-ops last?

The majority of co-ops run on PennWest California's semester schedule. Co-ops can be either full-time or part-time.


Can I interview potential co-op students at PennWest California?

Yes, Career & Professional Development Services can provide interview rooms for employers.


What are my responsibilities as a co-op employer?

  • Contact PennWest California to indicate an interest in the program.
  • Posts position on Handshake.
  • Hire a qualified student and assign a supervisor.
  • Provide the student with an orientation to the company and to the job.
  • Assign the student with relevant career-related tasks or projects, and provides appropriate supervision.
  • Complete a brief written evaluation form.
  • Participate in an on-site visit from a PennWest California staff member.
  • Contact PennWest California's CPDC for additional students as needed.