Peter Pu Advances from Co-op to Full-Time Employee

by Laura Merrill, Manager of Cooperative Education

If you’ve ever wondered about the benefits of having a co-op experience, ask Peter Pu. During his co-op work at Colgate-Palmolive, his work ethic and skills attracted the attention of the company’s management—so much so that the company offered him a full-time position when he graduated in December 2003. Of course, his GPA also helped (3.1 cumulative; 3.5 in CIS). Now, he’s earning more than $45,000 a year.

So why did Colgate-Palmolive take notice? According to Frank Lynch, associate director for the Americas technical infrastructure team at Colgate, Peter demonstrated, as a co-op, technical know-how, a solid work ethic, a desire to learn, and an eagerness to improve.

Says Lynch, “He came in here and held two different types of co-op positions—two very different areas of support. His work ethic and his willingness to learn prompted Colgate to offer him a full-time position.”

Getting a full-time position at Colgate is much easier if you’ve first done a co-op with the company. Lynch says 80 percent of its full-time employees started out as co-ops. Over almost 15 years, Colgate has hired approximately 140 co-ops from U of L and IUS. Currently, the company hires approximately 15 co-op students a year.

Of his co-op experience, Peter says: “Colgate gave me a chance to prove my skills. I had more confidence to do real-life projects instead of just school projects.”

Colgate, along with UPS and GE, are among the companies that groom co-op students for possible full-time positions. So, although Colgate-Palmolive has relocated, you can still find other companies that transition students from co-ops to full-time employees.

And CIS students are not alone in reaping the benefits of cooperative education. Brad Conrad, a marketing major who did a co-op with Current Marketing, was hired full-time, just in time for his December 2004 graduation.

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