Engineering students at a variety of Colleges and Universities often have the opportunity to participate in a co-op program. To borrow from the University of Houston's well written description, a co-op program is, "a type of internship program that enables college students to receive career training with pay as they work with professionals in their major fields of study. Work experience in government, business, industry, and human services enhances the students’ academic training. This valuable work and educational experience is documented on their official college transcripts."
As an engineer, I can attest to the value that a co-op program brings to the student during school and after they graduate. During school, a co-op opens up your perspective to the working world and practical application of the skills and knowledge you've gained during the semester. After you graduate, it serves a launching point for careers in or outside of that particular industry.
The key to the co-op that can be translated to other fields is practical work experience that can be rewarded as college credit or meaningful pay. This credit could help students on track to graduation and the pay can go towards the cost of their education.
What would a co-op experience look like for a fashion design major looking to get real experience in a studio? Or for an Economics major deciding between working for a large firm, Wall Street, or the government?