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

A nearly $2 million grant to UC and southern Ohio partner institutions will boost co-op and internship opportunities for students in key industries.

Date: 12/13/2012 1:00:00 PM
By: M.B. Reilly
Phone: (513) 556-1824
Photos By: Lisa Ventre

UC ingot   The University of Cincinnati and partnership institutions have received a $1.8 million grant that is expected to help place nearly 700 southern Ohio college students in cooperative education and internship jobs in the next year.

These co-ops and internships will strategically target key growth industry clusters – biohealth; finance, insurance and IT; advanced energy; consumer products, brand development and creative services; food processing and agricultural; and advanced manufacturing, polymers, automotive and aerospace.

The grant to UC and partner school in southern Ohio is part of a larger state-wide $11 million investment  from the Ohio Board of Regents with matching dollars from employers throughout the state. UC and its southern Ohio partners received the largest single award among the grants issued.
co-op at work
One-time business co-op student Shannon Weithofer at work in an information systems unit.


According to Kettil Cedercreutz, head of UC’s Division of Professional Practice and Experiential Learning (ProPEL), the grant to UC will encourage participation by employers new to co-op and internships, those who haven’t participated in co-op or internships since 2008, or will encourage existing partner employers to add to their existing co-op and internship positions.

“The grant we’ve received is a win win for everyone,” stated Cedercreutz, adding, “That includes employers in key industries where workforce development is needed. Also, the region as a whole will benefit, as key industries develop further, and finally, students will gain academic credit as well as valuable competitive, professional  experience and scholarship funding.”

The grant to UC will fund scholarships for participating students. Those scholarships will offset costs for employers paying a co-op or internship wage. Thus, participating co-op and internship employers will be able to offset all or some of those wage costs due to a scholarship going to the student. Because the scholarships will be integrated into an employer’s total compensation package to participating students, the grant helps reduce employers’ costs in recruiting, training and retaining talent.

Southern Ohio institutions sharing in this grant include the UC and its branch campuses, UC-Blue Ash College and Clermont College; Cincinnati State Technical and Community College; the College of Mount St. Joseph; University of Rio Grande/Rio Grande Community College and Shawnee State University. Closely cooperating in the effort are the Cincinnati USA Chamber of Commerce and TechSolve, an incubator which assists local small and mid-sized businesses to improve processes and efficiency.

In 2013, the grant will provide co-op and internship scholarships to approximately 600 UC students and about 70 students from partner institutions. Students in part-time placements will receive $1,500 scholarships, while those in full-time placements will receive $3,000 scholarships.

According to Cheryl Cates, director of the Center for Cooperative Education Research and Innovation at UC, the grant will help diminish a growing skills gap in the region, where select industries have increasing levels of opportunity but cannot always find potential employees with appropriate experience.

She explained, “This grant will help these employers to train for the skills they need. It’s also anticipated that participating employers new to co-op and internships will continue with the practice in the future. All of this benefits the economic development of the region as a whole.”
  • 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 Ten by U.S. News & World Report.
  • UC students currently earn a collective $44 million annually via co-op, working in professional roles that integrate directly with their majors. Those collective earnings average out to $7,540 per student per term.
  • Currently, UC’s co-op placement rate stands at 5,835 full-time work placements per year. That’s up 36 percent from 10 years ago.
  • Over the past two years, UC’s Division of Professional Practice and Experiential Learning (ProPEL) has piloted a part-time internship program, and these internships now stand at 245 placements per year. In accordance with experiential learning objectives outlined in the UC 2019 Academic Master Plan, the goal is to grow the internship program to 1,000 placements per year over the next four years.