Goals of the Co-op Program
The Co-op Program has the following dual goals for the students:
Real-World Work Experience
The first goal of the Co-op Program is to help students understand an engineer's role in the technical world. The program gives them an opportunity to apply some of their knowledge of fundamental theory to practical problem-solving. In most cases, it helps students select a direction in the broad field of engineering and thus influences their selection of elective courses during their last two years as a college student. The experience motivates students to plan and successfully complete their academic program.
Improve Professional Writing
The second and equally important goal is to improve students' writing. Students take online, writing-based courses during their work periods.
The main academic assignments for the first two work periods are to summarize and critique a technical journal article, prepare a topic/design proposal, write the preliminary report, and revise the preliminary report after receiving rigorous feedback from the Co-op Facilitator. The reports are nearly always based on some aspect of the student's job experience.
During the optional third work period the student creates PowerPoint summary of the previous semester's report; the Co-op Director, the Co-op Facilitators, and student peers attend this presentation.
Thus, the Co-op Program is more than an internship; students receive academic credit that is based solely on their academic performance. It follows that work performance cannot be considered when determining grades.
Benefits of the Co-op Program
- Access to students before they enter the job market as a graduate engineer.
- The opportunity to observe students as a Co-op employee before making the commitment of a permanent hire.
- The convenience of an organized, university-based Co-op Program to line up student engineers to interview.
- The opportunity to train individuals in your particular methods.
- Advertisement for your company to all ME, ISyE, EE, and CompE students.
- The opportunity to be involved in the educational process of future engineers.
- Development of technical writing skills through the Co-op coursework.
- Valuable major-related experience in their field of interest.
- Application of classroom theory.
- Exploration of career goals and options.
- Networking within the company and industry in general.
- Development of maturity and social skills.
- Financial support for their college education.