June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
Cooperative & Experiential Education
12.705.1 - 12.705.6
Expanding a Successful Industry-based Partnership Beyond the Traditional Cooperative Education Experience I. Abstract
Hands-on experience allows students to better comprehend the theory discussed in the classroom. This comprehension of the integration of theory and practice is particularly important in engineering and technology. Cooperative education is an excellent method of providing students with this critical real-world experience. Students with cooperative education experience are typically more successful in obtaining that all-important first job after college. Successful cooperative education programs also benefit the sponsoring organization by providing a pool of familiar, well-trained employees. One university engineering and technology department has expanded a successful industry-based partnership beyond the traditional cooperative education experience. Department faculty and industry representative interact throughout the entire cooperative education process from initial selection to placement of students to placement of students to enhance their personal abilities and build on classroom topics. Besides providing real- world experience for the students, this partnership has expanded to participation on the department’s Industrial Advisory Council, assisting in the development of curriculum, and new student recruiting. This paper will describe the development and benefits of this expanded cooperative education partnership.
Historically the economy of the southeastern region of the U.S. has been heavily influenced by manufacturing. Most of this manufacturing, however, was considered low-tech and labor intensive; textile manufacturing serves as a classic example. In recent years, the region has become increasingly dependent on high technology manufacturing with the automotive industry leading the way. Recognizing the importance of manufacturing, one university engineering and technology department has offered degree programs supporting the needs of regional industry. This department worked to establish a strong partnership with the largest automotive manufacturers in the region. The department is a nationally accredited industrial technology and engineering department that serves approximately 250 students in four different undergraduate academic majors: electronics, occupational safety and health, industrial management, and computer-integrated manufacturing. The department offers Bachelor of Science degrees in each of these four areas and a Master of Science degree in manufacturing management.
One of the successful areas of this industry-based partnership is in cooperative education. Cooperative education is an excellent method of enhancing student learning by providing real world experience. The need for better integration of theory and practice, particularly in engineering and technology, has been an issue in education since the first cooperative education program was established in 1906 . The value of cooperative education is well documented. A recent survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers reported that 29% of interns were “converted” to full-time employees and 55% of new employees hired by manufacturers have coop-type experience . A 2004 survey of college graduates conducted by Monster TRAK indicated that 74% thought relevant work experience was the most important factor in securing employment and that 52% of employers agreed . The same survey indicated
Godbey, J., & Marbut, T., & Broyles, D. (2007, June), Expanding A Successful Industry Based Partnership Beyond The Traditional Cooperative Education Experience Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1627
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