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CSU Engineering’s Fenn Co-Op Program Honored for Excellence

Ohio Cooperative Education Association presents its highest award for career pipeline program

The Ohio Cooperative Education Association (OCEA) recently honored the Fenn Cooperative Education (co-op) Program in CSU’s Washkewicz College of Engineering with the E. Sam Sovilla Award of Excellence, the organization’s highest honor presented for maintaining exceptional co-op and internship programs. 

OCEA is a nonprofit professional association founded in 1971 that is comprised of employers and educators who are engaged in cooperative education and internships. Previous award winners include the University of Akron, Case Western Reserve University and the University of Cincinnati.

Currently, more than 20 percent of CSU’s engineering students participate in the program, and the College has a goal of increasing involvement to 50 percent within five years. In recent years the co-op program has seen a 100 percent increase in student participation that has included gains in the number of minority and women students.

CSU Engineering leaders credit strong relationships with employers and engagement from faculty in each Engineering department for providing meaningful development opportunities for students.

"Northeast Ohio continues to have strong demand for engineering talent and we are very proud to be recognized for our work to prepare students to excel in these careers," said Anette Karlsson, dean of CSU's Washkewicz College of Engineering.

Students who enter the Fenn Co-op Program are committed to a 5-year academic curriculum that includes up to a full year of practical engineering experience. Students receive credit for their co-op semesters and a certificate of completion upon graduation.

The program offers students support from faculty and a peer mentoring program, as well as scholarship support. In addition, a Fenn Co-Op Advisory Council comprised of co-op alumni, faculty and industry representatives was established to provide ongoing opportunities to enhance the program.

The College is also coordinating with employers to develop a pipeline program to increase interest among high school students for studying engineering at the college level and to connect them with opportunities to gain work experience.