Cooperative Education

Co-op Highlight

The Ritz-Carlton Naples Experience

Courtney Baron '13 and Claire Maddocks '13 worked full-time at the Ritz Carlton Resort in Naples, Florida while also participating in weekly management seminars held on Widener's Main Campus.

The national award-winning Cooperative Education Program in the School of Hospitality Management is an integration of classroom learning and study-related employment. The guiding principle of co-op is to provide ultimate learning opportunity and industry leadership readiness by integrating periods of work experiences, classroom study, reflection, and experimentation.

The School of Hospitality Management prepares our future industry leaders with a required cooperative education program. This capstone program is a built-in, 15-credit component of the four-year undergraduate curriculum.

Graduation Requirement

All students must enroll in co-op as a part of the graduation requirement for the hospitality management program. Students enroll in the Cooperative Education Program as a second-semester junior or a first-semester senior.

Students in co-op work full-time hours for sixteen consecutive weeks during a semester. Each student must accumulate a minimum of 600 working hours to satisfy the co-op requirement. Students are also required to return to the classroom one day each week for a six-hour leadership development seminar.


Research, student comments, and employer reviews all indicate that co-op is a valuable experience for the student! Listed below are just some of the benefits that have been shared: 

  • Increases technical skills.
  • Networking opportunities abound.
  • Often provides post graduation career opportunities.
  • Great resume builder.
  • More marketable.
  • Experience job advancement more quickly.
  • Facilitates transition from school to career.
  • Learn about all segments of the industry from student peers.
  • Learn time management.
  • Learn organizational skills.
  • Gain a "taste of the real world."
  • Learn the importance of professional clubs and associations.
  • Learn the importance of customer service.
  • Increases interpersonal skill development.
  • Develop self-confidence.
  • Develop problem-solving skills.
  • Develop a sensitization for ethical concerns.
  • Develop tolerance and respect for others.
  • Develop critical thinking skills.
  • Realize the need for good business communication skills.