Cooperative Education Programs at Hershey Foods Corporation

Document Sample
Cooperative Education Programs at Hershey Foods Corporation Powered By Docstoc
					Cooperative Education Programs at Hershey Foods Corporation
                                                                                  L A R R Y B. C A M P B E L L
                                                                                  Dairy Products Research
                                                                           Hershey Foods Technical Center
                                                                                        Hershey, PA 17033

                   ABSTRACT                           to those individuals employed in the Corporate
     Students selected for co-op programs             Technical Center and specifically the Research,
  in dairy products research are usually in           Development, and Engineering Groups.
  dairy-oriented programs. They may or
  may not come from universities with                                    DEFINITIONS
  formal co-op programs. The major                        For administrative policy, Hershey Foods
  advantages of the program to the industry           Corporation categorizes technical center em-
  is that it provides trained candidates of           ployees in one of four categories: full-time,
  proven performance to fill future staff             part-time, summer, and co-op. This paper will
  positions as well as a pool of semi-                deal only with the latter two categories.
  professional talent to assist the current              Co-op students are hired for a specific time
  permanent staff on regular and special              into a position requiring a regularly scheduled
  projects. Major disadvantages include the           work week of 35 h or more. They are enrolled
  amount of time required to recruit and              in an education program permitting work and
  train new individuals as well as the                study at alternating periods normally 6 mo at a
  proprietary nature of research and                  time. This need not be restricted to a formal
   development work. Co-op programs at                co-op program established by the college or
   Hershey Foods are successful and growing.          university. In fact, several of the universities do
                                                      not have formal co-op programs in food science
                 INTRODUCTION
                                                      or dairy science. However, an agreement is
   The Hershey Foods Corporation historically         worked out with the department whereby
has hired college students to work for short          individual students may take a leave of absence
times. However, our use of students in specific       for one or more semesters. In this case, the
curriculums for internships or cooperative            student receives no college credit for co-op
education programs has been a fairly recent           experience.
development. In fact, this practice developed
during and after the rapid growth phase of our                C O M P E N S A T I O N A N D BENEFITS
technical staff in the late 1970's and continues         Co-op students and summer employees
to the present.                                       performing technical or professional work are
   The move into a new corporate technical            salaried. Other temporary employees generally
center in late 1979 corresponded with the             are paid hourly. Compensation is determined
greatest expansion of our corporate technical         for an individual employee by the nature of the
staff. This also was the 1st yr we hired a signifi-   position, previous experience, academic at-
cant number of college co-op employees. The           tainment, curriculum, and current job market
reasons were varied and will be listed in the         rates. Generally, student employees are paid a
next section. However, the program developed          comparable and competitive salary within the
informally in individual departments and varied       industry. Co-op students are paid for holidays
greatly according to individual needs of each         and inclement weather days~ If they work for
manager. Today, even though our administration        1,000 h or more in any year, they are eligible
of the program is more defined, it still varies       for the company paid retirement pension plan.
widely in specifics between various departments       If a co-op student later is offered full-time
and especially between disciplines. Therefore,        employment, previous periods of co-op em-
remarks and opinions in this paper relate only        ployment are included in establishing the
                                                      "length of service date" for benefit purposes.
   Received October 18, 1982.                            F o r co-op employees, preemployment inter-


1983 J Dairy Sci 66:1803-1806                    1803
1804                                            CAMPBELL

views are paid by the company. Additionally,            3. A position documentation form must be
the student's initial trip to the job location and         completed on the proposed position.
final trip back to campus also are covered.             4. A student co-op position is not a guarantee
                                                           of eventual permanent employment.
                    SELECTION                           5. The initial hiring of a co-op student may
   The school's selection is based on accredita-           require more planning than the normal
tion of the curriculum, strength of the co-op              recruiting assignment; therefore, adequate
                                                           time must be allowed for selection of
program, and student availability. The student's
                                                           shool, student, semester dates, and
selection is based on affirmative action goals,
                                                           housing.
potential for success, academic staff recom-
                                                        6. Each co-op student will be given an exit
mendations, grades, applicability of credentials
                                                           interview after each work period by the
toward specific requirements and qualifications
                                                           employing manager to evaluate the co-op
for the job, and interview. Recurring selection
depends on demonstrated job performance and                student's experience with us.
                                                        7. Students required by their school to
academic criteria. Selection is the responsibility
                                                           submit a "paper" concerning their work
of the employing manager with the support and
assistance of the manager of employee relations.           experience must have the data screened
                                                           by their department for confidentiality or
                G E N E R A L PURPOSE
                                                           proprietary information.
                                                        8. The employing manager and the manager
    Some of the purposes of the co-op program              of employee relations will help the
at Hershey Foods Corporation are: 1) to                    student locate appropriate lodging. How-
develop an available pool of talent in selected            ever, the student will pay for lodging.
disciplines; 2) to provide stimulus to a de-
partment concerning the latest techniques                         SCOPE OF THE CO-OP
within the department's field of endeavor; 3)                    AND SUMMER PROGRAM
to facilitate recruitment of employees who have
                                                        Because each department has great control
a skill not always readily available on the job
                                                     over its individual program, and because the
market; 4) to provide temporary staffing
                                                     overall corporate policies only recently have
for special projects, either on-site or on campus;
                                                     been formalized, it was difficult to verify exact
and 5) to experiment with new positions              numbers of students. The following tables,
without making long-range employment com-
                                                     although not necessarily complete, reflect the
mitment.
                                                     scope and general direction of the two programs
    Some of the purposes of the summer em-           of the Hershey Foods Corporate Technical
ployment program are: 1) to provide vacation         Center.
relief for full-time employees during the summer
                                                        This comparison of the total students
months; 2) to enable students who are de-
                                                     involved in both the co-op and summer pro-
pendents of full-time employees an opportunity
                                                     grams during the period 1979 to 1982 reflects
to earn extra income to defray the expenses of
                                                     the increasing interest and need for these
attaining an undergraduate degree, and 3) to
                                                     programs.
enable the employer to observe the full-time
employment potential of summer employees.
                                                           ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES
                 ADMINISTRATION                                  OF CO-OP P R O G R A M S

   Certain administration policies are outlined          The co-op program at Hershey Foods is
by the Corporate Human Resources Department          strictly voluntary on the part of the managers.
and include the following:                           Some managers are enthusiastic about it;
                                                     others are not interested.
   1. Co-op positions must be supported                  Advantages to the individual manager
      financially by the employing department.       include the availability of a semi-professional
   2. A personnel requisition will be submitted      individual for assistance on regular projects
      by the employing manager to the manager        or to conduct special projects that might not
      of employee relations.                         have been completed by the permanent staff. In

Journal of Dairy Science Vol. 66, No. 8, 1983
                 SYMPOSIUM: INTERNSHIPS AND COOPERATIVE EDUCATION PROGRAMS                                1805


filling new staff positions or replacement                 addition, they know what we expect, our work
positions, a unique talent pool exists. A review           environment, and whether they will like working
of former co-op students provides several                  for us. In essence, the usual risk involved when
candidates who are basically already trained.              hiring new professional staff members is reduced
They have proven work records. We know how                 drastically for both parties.
they interact with other staff members. We                     Advantages to the student also include a way
know their communications skills, their cre-               to finance an education, an opportunity to
ativity, and how they conduct a project. In                accumulate work experience that will provide
                                                           an advantage for entering the job market, and
                                                           an opportunity to plan a career based on
                                                           experiences. The decision of whether to go on
TABLE 1. Numbers of students in co-op education            to graduate school is often easier after a co-op
positions at Hershey Foods Corporate Technical             experience. Additionally, co-op students some-
Center, 1 9 7 9 - 1 9 8 2 .                                times experience a new outlook in relation to
                                                           course work material with a resultant im-
                   1982 a    1981    1980        1979      provement in grades.
                                                               The major disadvantage of the program to
Total co-op       8          10     8            7         the manager is its short nature. Every 3 to 9 mo
  Food science    3           4     5            5         a new individual must be recruited and trained.
  Engineering     3           4     3            3
  Other           2           2     0            0         Initial training is usually time consuming, and if
                                                           the co-op period is relatively short may result
   a1982 Figures are incomplete and include only
                                                           actually in a decrease of overall productivity
those students hired January 1 thru June 1.                rather than the expected increase. This is why
                                                           most employers expect a co-op student to be
                                                           available for a minimum of 6 mo and prefer an
                                                           individual who can work for 12 mo total.
TABLE 2. Numbers of college students employed                  Another disadvantage to the employer is the
as summer employees in the Hershey Foods Corporate         proprietary nature of research and development
Technical Center, 1 9 7 9 - 1 9 8 2 .                      work. Most of our co-op students are involved
                                                           in all phases of product development and must
                  1982 a    1981    1980         1979      sign legal confidentiality agreements before
                                                           beginning work. This creates problems when
Total students    7         29       13          14        reports are required by the Univers?ty. The
  Food science    2          2        4           3
                                                           possibility that a former co-op student may
  Engineering     0          5        1           3
  Others          5         22        8           8        accept a position with a direct competitor is
                                                           also a potential disadvantage.
    ai982 Figures include only those students hired            A disadvantage to the student is the dis-
prior to June 1.                                           ruption of the normal academic process.



TABLE 3. Universities represented by food science/dairy science students at Hershey Foods Corporation,
1979-1982.


                                          Co-op students                      Summer                     Total

Penn State University                     10 a                                7a                         17 a
Purdue University                          3                                  0                           3
Rutgers University                         2a                                 la                          2a
Drexel University                          2                                  0                           2
University of Minnesota                    1                                  0                           1

    aNumbers reflect duplication where a student has been employed in both a summer and a co-op Position
at different times.


                                                                   Journal of Dairy Science Vol. 66, No. 8, 1983
1806                                               CAMPBELL


Interview, searching for housing, and rearranging          We now have five professionals on our staff
course schedules and timing are often major             who are "graduates" of either our co-op or
inconveniences. Additionally, the co-op students        summer programs. Four have been promoted at
will graduate a year later than the original class.     least one time, and all are performing above
                                                        average. This is proof that the programs work
   SPECIFIC CO-OP EXPERIENCES IN D A I R Y              for Hershey Foods Corporation.
   A N D F O O D SCIENCE P R O D U C T RESEARCH            The following direct quote is an exerpt from
       A T H E R S H E Y FOODS C O R P O R A T I O N    a final report from a past co-op student to his
   The type of student selected for dairy               co-op advisor at the University:
product research is usually an individual with
proven dairy interest. Normally only students              To briefly summarize what I have learned: food
in dairy-oriented programs are considered. A               product formulation and improvement tech-
                                                           niques; the general procedure from benchtop to
junior usually is preferred, because course work           full scale plant production; the complete
in dairy chemistry, food chemistry, food                   analytical and sensory evaluation and how to
microbiology, food engineering, and bio-                   apply this toward further improvement; the
chemistry is expected. Other food science or               thorough recording and reporting of data and
dairy science courses are considered advantages.           observations. Throughout my experience I have
                                                           also made some important personal gains. There
   Choosing an individual out of a number of               has been an improvement in my ability to
qualified candidates is not always easy. Usually,          communicate in writing and verbally, I now
a telephone interview narrows the list down to             have a more thorough understanding of the
three or four who are interviewed in person.               food industry, specifically in research and
Previous work experience of any kind is a plus,            development, and an increased appreciation of
                                                           my course work. Probably most important, I
because the student has at least a basic under-            have gained much insight into choosing the
standing of what is involved in a full-time job.           future direction of nay career plans and goals.
Interpersonal skills weigh heavily in the final            It has been by far the most productive and
decision. Additionally, the successful candidate           rewarding experience of my college career.
must convince us of a genuine interest in dairy            In summary, the co-op and summer em-
product research. We also expect the candidate
                                                        ployment programs at Hershey Foods are
to have a driver's license and be able to perform
                                                        successful and growing. They appear to be
some physical work. Because pilot plant work is
                                                        meeting our objectives as listed in the beginning
involved, some mechanical aptitude is also
                                                        of this paper. Advantages outweigh disad-
necessary.
                                                        vantages to both the employer and student.
    These requirements may sound restrictive,
                                                        Hershey Foods Corporation is identifying and
but we have found there are many qualified
                                                        developing the pool of talented professionals
students available. Overall, we have experi-
                                                        necessary for continued growth and success of
enced few disappointments and have found
                                                        our technical programs.
many pleasant surprises.
    The type of work to be done in product
                                                                      ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
research involves applied research and develop-
ment of new food prototypes from bench-                    The assistance of the Human Resources
top to production. A unique combination of              Department personnel at Hershey Foods
benchtop, pilot plant, and plant production             Corporation was appreciated greatly. Thanks
 experiences is often available. We have found          to Tom Tracy, Bryon Lundell, and Steve
many of the co-op students are creative, and            Desjardins for their advice and editing assistance.
some actually are given project responsibility          Also, thanks to Helen Brinser for assisting
for lower-priority short projects.                      data collection.




Journal of Dairy Science Vol. 66, No. 8, ~1983