The Engineering Cooperative Education Program at The University of Michigan-Dearborn is a way to close the gap between the role of student and the role of practicing engineer. The idea is to learn about the practice of engineering while you are still in school, not wait until school is over.
During the junior and senior years students will alternate semesters of full-time classes and full-time engineering work in a company or an organization that they have selected. At the end of the senior year students will have had at least three semesters - one full year of professional experience. In addition to the year of experience they will also have earned a year's wages.
The engineering student begins the co-op plan by coming to the School of Engineering usually as a freshman just out of high school. Your first two years of studies follow the usual type of college schedule, with classes from September to May. During these two years as a student of engineering, you will be learning the basic tools that all engineering students need to know. By the end of your sophomore year you will have learned a great deal and will be ready to begin your co-op under the supervision of practicing engineers. You will continue to be our student, but you will have the experience of working before you graduate.
During your sophomore year you will be admitted to the Engineering Cooperative Education Program. You will work with a co-op coordinator, a professional in the school who will assess your qualifications and interests. The coordinator, who is aware of the needs and preferences of prospective employers, refers you to a cooperative employer who closely matches your interests. Through a personal interview, usually held at the company, you and the employer make your own decisions about a job offer and acceptance of an offer. Throughout this placement process the Coordinator is available to help you make decisions about career possibilities and various cooperative training assignments.
No Student is ever guaranteed a co-op job, however, careful coordination is exercised by the university to ensure a good match between interests and capabilities of the student and the requisites of the participating company. The successive work assignments of the company are expected to utilize the increase in knowledge a student experiences following each academic term. If this progression is extended by a company, the probability of hiring the student upon graduation is greatly enhanced. The program has proven to be an excellent recruiting device to companies who run a good program.