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Prestigious State Grant Will Expand Co-op and Internship Opportunities for Students

A nearly $1 million grant to UC and southern Ohio partner institutions will boost cooperative education and internship opportunities in key industries.

Date: 3/11/2014 12:05:00 PM
By: Erin Cohen
Phone: (513) 556-4535

UC ingot   The University of Cincinnati and partnering institutions received an OMIC II (Ohio Means Co-op and Internships) grant of $892,049 from the Ohio Board of Regents. The award includes $112,698 in roll over funds from the $1.8 million OMIC I grant received by the same consortium in 2012. The grant scored well, ranking in the top 10 percent of all applications.

The OMIC II grant builds on where OMIC I left off. Whereas the previous grant focused on job creation, the new grant aims at building structures that can be sustained over decades to come. The OMIC II consortium includes Cincinnati USA Chamber of Commerce, the Ohio Aerospace Institute, the College of Mt. St. Joseph, Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, University of Rio Grande / Rio Grande Community College, Shawnee State University, and Xavier University. Xavier joining the OMIC II grant this year will allow the consortium to meet an even wider array of employer demand.

During the execution of this grant, UC and its partners will prepare students to be work ready when they graduate, engage businesses in the higher education system as “talent investors,” and assist institutions of higher education to be responsive to the needs of students and businesses.
A UC co-op student at work.
A UC co-op student at work.

The grant is structured in three focal areas: business relations, infrastructure development, and learning outcomes.

The goal of the business relations focal area is to create sustainable partnerships through the development of more than two hundred jobs in conjunction with community partners.

According to Associate Provost Kettil Cedercreutz, director of the Division of Professional Practice and Experiential Learning at UC, “The grant relies on the development of jobs in cooperation with the Cincinnati USA Chamber of Commerce and the Ohio Aerospace Institute. Data generated by these institutions gives a glimpse into the future of high tech employment opportunities in Ohio.”

Job-development efforts will align with industry needs as shown by this data and will be in  these targeted industry clusters: (1) bio health, (2) finance, insurance, and IT, (3) advanced energy, (4) consumer products, brand development and creative services, (5) food processing and agriculture, (6) advanced manufacturing, polymers, automotive, and aerospace.  

Through the infrastructure development focal area the partners will significantly grow and enhance the quality of co-op and internship processes at each participating institution. “The infrastructure developed through the grant will benefit in excess of 3,000 students co-oping or interning in the southwest corner of Ohio annually. It will allow employers seamless access to a workforce that can literally hit the ground running,” says Cedercreutz.

Finally, the partners will strive to improve learning outcomes of all participating institutions. “We know employer assessments are an effective measure of how well we educate our students. The goal of this grant is to use this data to systematically enhance curricula across the campuses of participating institutions. It is wonderful to see faculty get excited about developing teaching methods, the benefits of which can be instantly applied in a industrial context.” says Cedercreutz.

In short, the grant supports the development of the southwest corner of Ohio to become an attractive relocation destination for high tech industries as well as a creative and productive work force.

UC students interested in finding out more about co-op and internship options can go online for more information, can e-mail or, or can call 513-556-2667.

UC’s cooperative education program, the largest mandatory co-op program in the nation, is also ranked in the nation’s top tier by U.S. News & World Report.

Between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2013:
  • UC students collectively earned $48 million through co-op, working in professional roles that integrate directly with their majors.
  • UC generated 5,008 full-time co-op and 248 academic internship positions. 
  • Student co-op earnings averaged $9,800 per semester.
  • The placement rate of the co-op program stood at 98 percent.