What is Cooperative Education?

...a 90-year-old tradition at Speed School, and a key requirement of the academic experience for Speed engineering students


What Is the Cooperative Education Program?

Cooperative Education is a planned and supervised program alternating periods of classroom instruction with work assignments that are related to the student's academic program. It is a concept through which employers and Speed School combine their resources to promote career education and training. Co-op students integrate the academic classroom experience with "real world" work experience with employers from business, industry, and government.

The Speed School of Engineering cooperative education program really works! Speed has 250 students in “on-the-job” experiential education every semester. Each year 550 students receive over 750 semesters of training with over 200 employers. And we’ve been doing it for 85 years with hundreds of companies all over the country!

Students work alternating semesters, starting at the end of their sophomore year.

For the student: the Co-op program provides students an opportunity to:

  • Obtain hands-on engineering experience as part of their formal education.
  • Become workforce ready.
  • Defray college expenses. Students are classified temporary, hourly employees, and earn about $15-$16 an hour.

For the employer: the Co-op program provides the following benefits:

  • Access to a skilled, short-term cost-effective workforce.
  • Opportunity to evaluate potential full-time employees.
  • Reduced recruiting and training costs.

Examples of companies where Speed School students’ co-op:

Current Companies with Speed School students.


The Cooperative Education Program in Speed School consists of three semesters of full-time work related to the students' engineering major. Upon completion of the co-op requirements, students have accumulated a full year of professional work experience.

Because of their academic training and 50 weeks of real-world engineering experience, Speed School graduates are in demand by employers. Nearly one-third of Speed School graduates accept employment offers from their co-op employer!

Speed School's Cooperative Education Program helps employers meet their need for a highly-skilled, knowledgeable workforce. Co-op provides students exposure to the latest technology, team-based problem solving and flexibility in adapting to a continually changing global environment.


Interested in hiring a Speed School a Co-op student or graduate for employment?


Students normally co-op with the same employer for the three alternating semesters and there is neither a contract for the employer nor a fee to participate. The employer’s role is to:

  • Interview Co-op candidates and select a student.
  • Provide full-time work that is relevant to the student’s major, appropriate for the level of student, and appropriate for a semester time period.
  • Provide increasingly challenging work assignments over the course of the three co-ops.
  • Identify an engineering supervisor willing and able to mentor the student.
  • Provide a competitive hourly wage (amount set by employer).
  • Complete a short performance evaluation of the student’s performance.
  • Review the student’s Co-op report.

The Career Develop and Co-operative Education Office will help through the co-op hiring process by providing candidate resumes, setting up interview schedules, and assisting with all logistical needs. Please contact Mary Andrade at (502) 852-3196.

Download the current co-operative education brochure now. (PDF)