Queen’s trails the rest

It’s time for Queen’s to meet the new university standard and look further into implementing a co-op program at the school.

Co-op programs, which offer work placements for academic credit, have become increasingly popular at post-secondary schools in the country. There are 37 of these programs in place in Ontario alone.

They equip students with invaluable interview and practical skills which are crucial for this generation, especially given that a university degree alone is often not enough to secure employment for students post graduation.

Universities such as Waterloo provide leading examples of successful co-op programs, offering students paid or unpaid placements at major organizations in their given field of study.

While a co-op program could bring benefits to Queen’s students and Kingston, it’s undeniable that it would cost the school more money.

Waterloo employs over 135 staff to oversee their program and has to employ them full-time in the summer to stay in line with the co-op schedule — something that is surely a costly endeavour.

Queens’ doesn’t necessarily need to create a program as extensive as the one at Waterloo though. The University could pool its existing resources, such as Career Services and the Queen’s University International Centre, to come up with a program uniquely tailored to this school.

A co-op program would benefit not only Queen’s students, but also the larger Kingston community.

As The Kingston Economic Development Corporation outlined in a recent report, the City often laments the fact that Queen’s students rarely stay in Kingston upon graduating. Creating co-op placements in local companies could help retain talent for future employment opportunities.

Co-ops don’t need to be available in every department or every faculty at the school right off the bat. However, the introduction of such a program could allow students who would want to take advantage of co-op opportunities to receive credit for employment.

Co-op programs are increasingly becoming the standard to meet at many colleges and universities; it’s time for Queen’s to join the trend.

— Journal Editorial Board

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