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Cooperative Education Program

Experiential Education That Engages You in the World

Antioch College is a place where new and better ways of living are discovered through intentional linkages between classroom and experiential learning. For more than 90 years, Cooperative Education (Co-op) has been the College's flagship experiential program and our signature means of ensuring that a rigorous liberal arts education gains traction in the world. Carrying on this proud tradition within a global economy in which high unemployment and slow economic growth are considered the “new normal” in many regions presents a number of challenges as well as significant opportunities. We are grateful to all of the courageous students, loyal employers, creative researchers, talented artists, committed activists and forward-looking entrepreneurs who have become our partners in negotiating the uncertainties of the world of work in the 21st century.

The central component of the Cooperative Education Program is employment—meaningful work in real-world settings. Every Antioch student has the responsibility of completing four full-time work experiences during their tenure at the College. Our rigorous liberal arts curriculum encourages students to continually expand their skills through focused coursework, community engagement, research, and involvement in a variety of extracurricular activities. During their cooperative work terms, students then have the opportunity to put these skills to use while building their confidence and developing competencies in new areas.

The responsibility of the Co-op Program is to develop relationships with employers, to advise students on opportunities that might be available, and to understand students’ abilities and aspirations so that we can cultivate future jobs. Our commitment is to do our best to help students present themselves as viable candidates for the jobs they most desire. We are all aware that the current job market is competitive. It is ultimately up to an employer to decide whether or not they will offer a job to a student. Our role is to help them develop skills, position themselves for opportunities, and prepare for the job application process so that they have the best possible chance of success. 

The Co-op Program is committed to broadening its conception of the co-op experience in response to changes in the economy globally. It is understood that a significant number of students hope to use co-op to explore entrepreneurial opportunities with start-up firms, position themselves for graduate study through research related to their majors, become involved in artistic ventures, or experiment with their own ideas. It is also clear that some students are interested in proposing a co-op job of their own design. For these reasons, as explained in our Curriculum Catalog, "students may seek approval to substitute one or more cooperative education job(s) with self-selected major-related paid or unpaid internship(s); research appointment(s); or other academically or professionally significant experience(s)” that fulfill their ambitions for learning off-campus as well as the College's work requirement.

The impact of the program remains its ability to engage students in the world. Antioch College students graduate with a healthy resume, solid professional experience, a fascinating story of adventure, and an ability to apply what they've learned in a real-world context. This website is intended to document the richness of those evolving experiences and broaden dialogue on co-op overall.