SUNY Oswego is taking part in phase two of the statewide SUNY Works program, which is designed to bring together prospective employers and students through paying jobs for the students.
SUNY Oswego President Deborah Stanley says the college has already had a co-op employment program in place for several years, but says SUNY Works enhances the existing program. Stanley also says by providing students with an opportunity to make money, college becomes more affordable.
"Most students who are traditional college age will find a job to help defray some of those costs. Here, we're kind of harnessing that and moving it to the workplace, somewhere where the student actually intends to work eventually," she said.
Stanley says by offering students a place to work and gain valuable experience, they can apply lessons learned in the classroom to the real world. She also says it may slow down what Gov. Andrew Cuomo previously called New York state's "brain drain."
"Once students attach to a position in the state, they often make a network of contacts. They often, also, are offered employment from the employer that has employed them during the co-operative education experience," Stanley said.
Onondaga Community College was selected during the program's first phase launched last year. OCC Internship Coordinator Rosemarie Martens says as SUNY Works continues to grow, more opportunities may be added.
"They're trying to partner with companies like Motorola, Chevron, the bigger companies, IBM, to kind of set up co-op agreements and affiliations with them so that SUNY students would have more opportunities."
SUNY Works is on 18 campuses statewide and has plans to expand further. The experience-driven program is part of SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher's declared mission to provide students with as much real-world experience as possible. Also in development is the SUNY Plus Diploma, which includes outside work experience as part of the diploma.