German companies in Alabama offer internship, co-op, and apprenticeship opportunities.
Internships typically offer flexibility for students and can be paid or unpaid, and they are generally completed in the course of a summer or semester. The student will gain work experience, allowing them to experience a couple of different fields or positions and compare them to see which one the student likes the best. They can also use an internship to determine if they have an interest in a particular career, create a network of contacts, or gain school credit. Some interns also find permanent, paid employment with the companies in which they interned.
Cooperative education is a structured method of combining classroom-based education with practical work experience. A cooperative education experience, commonly known as a “co-op”, provides academic credit for structured job experience. It can be paid or unpaid. A co-op term is regulated by an educational institution (high school, college or university) and lasts anywhere from 3 to 12 months and can take students out of class while they work at the co-op. Students might take classes in the fall and then work for the company during the spring semester. This rotation can sometimes go on for more than one year.
Apprenticeship is a system of on-the-job-training accompanied with related classroom instruction. Most of the training is done while working for an employer who helps the apprentices learn their trade or profession. The employer agrees to ‘sponsor’ and train you as an apprentice for a specific skilled trade. This allows apprentices to earn while they learn. In Germany, apprenticeships have existed since the Middle Ages, and the apprenticeship/dual system is firmly established in the German education system. It is a close alliance between the German government, the federal states (the ‘Länder’) and the companies.