The federal government announced $73 million in funding over four years to increase co-op placements in both the public and private sectors March 22. </p>
“The [Post-Secondary Industry Partnership and Co-operative Placement Initiative] will support partnerships between employers and willing post-secondary educational institutions to better align what is taught with the needs of employers,” the 2016 budget read.
“The initiative will also support new co-op placements and work-integrated learning opportunities … with a focus on high-demand fields, such as science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and business.”
The federal government cited co-op placements as a boon factor in spurring economic growth.
Feds VP education Stephane Hamade said he was “proud to have been the first student group to have advocated for this,” in a post made on his personal Facebook timeline and said that more co-op opportunities would be available for UW students as a result of this initiative.
“We expect to see an increase in the number of co-op positions, through incentives made to industry employers. Many employers have stated that lack of funds is a barrier to hiring/paying co-op students; we hope that this [federal funding] will begin to address this issue,” Hamade said in an interview with Imprint.
The Co-operative Education and Career Action Centre operates UW’s co-op program. Currently, there are 19,000 co-op students enrolled in over 120 programs at UW with a co-op student employment rate of 97 per cent according to their website.