World’s co-op leaders to sign new global charter at UC

The Global Charter for Co-op and Work-Integrated Education will increase the number and quality of international co-op opportunities for post-secondary students

Executives and officials representing more than 50 universities, governments and educational associations will gather at the University of Cincinnati to sign a new agreement that will drive the growth and quality of international co-op and work-integrated learning opportunities available to students.

The President’s Summit at the World Association for Cooperative and Work-Integrated Education (WACE) 21st Global Conference, which will be held at UC’s 1819 Innovation Hub on Monday, Aug. 5, will culminate in the signing of the Global Charter for Co-op and Work-Integrated Education. The inaugural signatory organizations formalize a commitment to grow the number and quality of international co-op and work-integrated education opportunities for students around the world. 

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UC President Neville Pinto

“It’s truly an honor for the University of Cincinnati, as the birthplace of cooperative education, to be the first signatory on the Global Charter for Co-op and Work-Integrated Education,” said UC President Neville Pinto. “This charter will help create what’s next in global work-integrated education. It aligns with our university’s own strategic direction and our promise to re-imagine co-op.”

Next Lives Here, UC’s strategic direction, calls for the university to unleash its vision to lead public urban universities into a new era of inclusion and impact. Along with the 1819 Innovation Hub, Inclusive Excellence and Co-op 2.0 are key components of the university’s Innovation Agenda outlined in Next Lives Here. 

The UC Board of Trustees approved the creation of the first-ever cooperative education program in 1906. Since then, co-op has spread around the globe. 

"Cooperative education has inspired additional models of work-integrated education that reflect the changing needs and opportunities of today and the future," said Nancy Johnston, president of WACE, "With technology making the world smaller and cultural fluency more important than ever, the Global Charter addresses a rapidly growing need of the global economy."

A woman points at a white board while speaking to a man.

Yixuan Zhang came from China to Cincinnati via the Joint Co-op Institute, a partnership between UC and Chongqing University that gives students the opportunity to work and study abroad. The organizations that will sign the Global Charter for Co-op and Work-Integrated Education on Aug. 5 will commit to creating more international co-op experiences. Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Creative Services

By engaging and uniting with their employer partners to provide more international work-based experiences for their students, UC and its fellow charter organizations — in 14 countries across five continents — will more effectively prepare students for productive and rewarding employment anywhere in the world. 

Charter organizations agree to answer three calls to action: 

  1. Create a significant number of new opportunities for students of charter supporters to obtain meaningful, international, work-integrated experiences, with a focus on scaling up;

  2. Develop and deliver educational offerings specifically designed to enhance student intercultural fluency and resilience with focus on equity, diversity and inclusion;

  3. Facilitate conversations between higher education and business to determine what constitutes “global work readiness”, and embedding these attributes in a global quality assurance framework.

UC hosts the WACE 21st Global Conference Aug. 5-7. WACE drove the effort to organize and build consensus around the Global Charter, which is the first of its kind to bring the educational, business, industrial, not for profit and governmental sectors together through an international commitment to the model of Work Integrated Learning in an effort to ensure access for all to effective preparation for productive and fulfilling work in an increasingly borderless world.

The signing ceremony for the Global Charter, which will include remarks from Pinto and WACE President Nancy Johnston, will be live streamed on UC’s YouTube channel. The event will begin at 2 p.m. EST.

Innovation Lives Here

The University of Cincinnati is classified as a Research 1 institution by the Carnegie Commission, is ranked in the National Science Foundation's Top-40 public research universities and secured a spot on Reuter’s World’s Most Innovative Universities list. UC's students and faculty investigate problems and innovate solutions with real-world impact. Next Lives Here.