emoment with carl
How do young people get started on careers? Even more important, what makes it more likely that they will quickly become adept in their first jobs, and continue to be successful? Traditionally, companies have recruited from college campuses, along with posting openings and interviewing those who actively applied. On-the-job training after one was hired could mean months of training and numerous career changes if either party realized the job was not a good fit. Co-op programs where college students combine work and study can bring young people up to speed more quickly, help employers identify the right type of employees, and bring classroom education and real world learning together.

Helped by advice from business professionals on its Corporate Partners Advisory Board, Elizabethtown College’s Department of Business has created a range of co-op relationships with companies such as The Hershey Company, Campbell Soup, Armstrong World Industries, and Johnson and Johnson. Students take six months off from school and work full-time for one of these firms. Since Hershey's is only nine miles from the College, it has been the largest co-op opportunity for students (It also helps that Hershey's has always been one of the biggest employers of Blue Jays, with at least 50 alumni working there or having worked there).

Of the 18 co-op students so far, three have graduated and currently work for The Hershey Company, while two are graduating this year and have accepted employment offers from Hershey's. Another graduating student of 2018 accepted a position with McCormick & Company. As Professor Sylvester Williams of the Business department, who has helped create many of the co-ops, said, “Without question, she would not have gotten this job if she hadn’t worked with Hershey.” Williams says our E-town students develop skills in data analysis and Microsoft Excel, which has been one of their strongest selling points, some even helping interns from other colleges with such tasks. “Also, we work on soft skills, so they are very well versed in how to work in a team environment. Hershey's has never said that they would not want to hire one of our students.” Real world learning = success in a career.

By working for The Hershey Company and other co-op programs, Elizabethtown College students are developing sweet skills in professionalism and business.

Enjoy the moment,

Carl J. Strikwerda,

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Elizabethtown College
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Elizabethtown, PA 17022-2298
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