ME students are usually considered for the co-op program in their junior year. In the first semester they register in ME 310 for additive credit and receive a pass or fail grade. In the second semester, they register in ME 410 which counts toward an ME elective and are given a letter grade. A co-op student can take up to two additional courses while participating in the co-op program, and the sponsor company compensates him or her. Graduate students can also participate in the co-op program through ME-590 courses.
The experiences of co-op students cover a whole gamut of responsibilities and training from equipment testing to solving difficult design problems. Recently, we have placed students at a variety of companies such as Universal Valve Co., Cooper Wiring Devices, Boston Scientific, Merck, Datascope and Stryker Howmedica Osteonics. At many of these companies, the supervisors were impressed by our students and wished to hire them after graduation.
The co-op program is a win-win situation. On one hand the sponsoring companies get the opportunity to work directly with a pool of potential employees, as well as benefit from the students’ energy and fresh ideas. On the other hand students get to represent NJIT, they begin to establish contacts in the professional world, and see first hand what it is all about. They get to apply what they learned in the classroom, while at the same time they learn new skills, not only technical, but also soft skills such as team work, interaction at meetings, communication skills, prioritization of tasks, and so on. In today’s competitive market, this type of experience is essential.