In 2016, the School of Engineering is celebrating 30 years of developing engineering talent through its co-op program. The program started in 1986 with a handful of students and has grown to include over 300 junior- and senior-level participants this year.
The co-op program is a partnership between Grand Valley and businesses around the world to provide a full year of paid intern work. The school has accumulated approximately 250 industry partners and has amassed more than 2.4 million hours of student experience since the program’s induction.
Students have had opportunities with a variety of companies, from NASA in Virginia to CERN, the world’s largest particle physics lab, in Switzerland. After gaining that valuable experience, 83% of alumni of the School of Engineering keep their talents in Michigan. This highly successful program has a 100% job placement rate.
Mark Harburg, a senior majoring in product design and manufacturing engineering, had the opportunity to work with the Spectrum Health co-op program in Grand Rapids. “Our job was to come up with a functional prototype to help patients who can’t sit up on their own,” he said. “Grand Valley has provided me with an education that goes far beyond the classroom. I’ve received hands-on experience in what I’ll be doing once I graduate, and now I’ve got a head start.”
The economy also benefits from this relationship – employers have access to a rich source of technical talent with a generation of new concepts and fresh ideas, which helps to spur continued progress within the field.
Since its inception, the School of Engineering has been named an “Exemplar of Real World Engineering Education” by the National Academy of Engineering and was ranked one of the best undergraduate engineering programs in the country by U.S. News & World Report.
These achievements would not be possible without the generosity of our donors. Private gifts to the Engineering Co-Op Endowment Fund enable Grand Valley engineering students to have access to top-notch facilities, and that level of experience ensures continued relationships with our industry partners, who have come to expect the best from Lakers. Join us as we celebrate this incredible milestone for the School of Engineering!