For Employers

Co-op Policies & Information

Before the Hire:

Job Description

Each co-op job requires a job description. Since students respond better to a concrete description of the responsibilities and desired skills, the job description is critical in assessing its relevance. We have provided a number of sample job descriptions within the Resource Library of CareerLINK.

Job Offers

We ask that you give students at least 3 business days to evaluate a job offer. This time is often used for students to consult their co-op advisor on the offer and its connection to their career goals.

If you have a student who accepts and then declines a job offer, please notify us. This student behavior is unacceptable and may result in the student being withdrawn from that terms co-op program.

Employment Law

Employers must adhere to federal and state employment law. Two areas often questioned relate to paying co-op students.

First is the question of paying or not paying a co-op student.

  • Not only is paying a co-op student the right thing to do; it can be the legal thing to do. In April 2010, the Wage and Hour Division of the U. S. Department of Labor published at factsheet to help determine whether interns/co-ops must be paid the minimum wage and overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act—Fact Sheet #71: Internship Programs Under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Second is the question of the student being an employee or independent contractor.

  • A 1099 is used to pay independent contractors. Based on the federal government’s definition of an independent contractor, it is unlikely that a co-op student could be classified as an independent contractor.
  • The U. S. Department of Labor published an informative report on determining independent contractor status.
  • Students frequently do not understand what it means to work as an independent contractor and be paid through a 1099. They are often caught unaware that their tax liability increases under a 1099.

Employer Statement of Understanding

Once an offer of co-op employment has been extended by an organization and then accepted by a UML student, all of the co-op partners including the University enter into an agreement that outlines the expectations and responsbilities for all parties.  It is the co-op student's responsbility to initation of the agreement on CareerLINK.  The Agreement must be electronically signed and on file before the UML student begins his/her co-op employment.

During the Co-op:

Mentoring and Supervision

UMass Lowell students are known for hitting the ground running when they enter the workplace. However, that does not imply that they are completely self-sufficient. Just as any employee needs supervision, direction, and mentoring, a co-op student requires that same attention. 

Performance Evaluations

The co-op curriculum requires feedback from the student’s supervisor. An evaluation of the student’s work is requested and sent via our CareerLINK system to the co-op manager's email. 

Notification of Layoff or Discharge

Since students are enrolled as a full-time student at UMass Lowell during their co-op, it is critical to know of any changes to their employment status. While the student themselves typically notify us of a layoff or discharge, we ask that the employer also notify us of this change