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For Co-op Employers

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Every year employers come to Ithaca, NY to interview and hire Co-op students from among the College of Engineering’s talented and creative undergraduates. At Cornell University, an interdisciplinary environment that fosters creativity and innovation, they find the students for whom they are looking. Employers who hire students from the Cornell Engineering Cooperative Education Program gain more than outstanding apprentices—they have a chance to observe and groom prospective employees. Cornell Engineering students are self-reliant, ready, confident of their abilities, and eager to learn. In the short-term, these students can breathe new life into an existing project. In the long-term, these students gain the experience they need to bring even more skills and confidence to the table as employees after graduation.

The students in the Engineering Cooperative Education Program are high-achieving undergraduates whose outlook and skills reflect Cornell’s rigorous standards, outstanding faculty, and first-rate facilities. Students applying for Co-op positions may already have had experiences working on one of the approximately 20+ applied project teams in the College of Engineering, such as the Formula SAE, Cornell University Sustainable Design, Design, Build, Fly, and CUSat Nanosatellite team.

Program Basics

Cornell University’s Engineering Cooperative Education Program provides educational opportunities to integrate students’ academic and career interests with paid, productive work experiences at cooperating organizations throughout the world. A unique feature of Cornell’s Co-op program is that participating students are available for full-time employment after four years of study, a full year earlier than co-op students at most other universities. Our Co-op students are required to complete 28 weeks of work, ideally with the same employer.  

Co-op students work full-time during their junior year of college for one semester, usually fall, and one summer. Some students have flexible schedules, so you can discuss your scheduling needs with them to determine the optimal work terms.  

Employers are expected to assign work with the students’ educational goals and background in mind. Because Co-op is an academic program, students work with their mentors to develop individual learning outcomes that are reviewed at the end of each work term. Cornell staff and faculty members visit Co-op work sites to ensure that both students and employers are profiting from the experience. Students earn a notation on their transcript upon completion of the program.

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Which Students Participate in Co-op?
What Employers have to say about Cornell Co-op

"The Cornell Co-op Program provides a unique opportunity for employers to engage with some of the brightest young minds in the industry. Workday got involved with the Co-op Program four years ago, and we never looked back. Without exception, the students are smart, ambitious, and hungry for a challenge. Their Cornell education provides them with a solid foundation for solving the technical problems, and the work experience we provide solidifies that knowledge into real-world applications. The Co-op commitment allows us to invest in these students and gain measurable business value during their term, while providing the benefits of a fast-paced, technically challenging, and rewarding work experience that students will carry with them throughout their careers. As a testament to the mutually beneficial experience, I have personally maintained relationships with many of our former Co-op students even after they leave the program. I would recommend the Co-op Program to both employers who want highly engaged young talent, and students who are serious about adding real value in a practical workplace environment."
Doug Timpe
Workday

"Cornell's Co-op Program has been a great resource for Tangibl. Eric, who is now a Project Engineer at our firm, was an outstanding Co-op, taking a leadership role and performing at a level we expect from people with much more experience. We value the program as a source of potential career team members as well as support for our design/drafting and Tangibl's other consulting functions. We plan to continue utilizing Cornell's Co-op Program as part of Tangibl's recruitment strategy."
Mark Brozina
Tangibl, LLC

"I've been associated with the Co-op Program for nearly 30 years and recruiting for Air Products for more than 20 years. I continue to find Cornell Co-op the most valuable program of its kind I have ever seen. From my personal perspective, it literally determined my professional career path and I can truthfully say I would not be where I am today without it. As a recruiter, I can point to dozens of employees that we've brought into the company who continue to provide extraordinary value. The students seem to get better every year and the program along with them. That this program remains so valuable and effective after all this time speaks volumes about its value and effectiveness."
Keith Holtermann
Air Products and Chemicals, Inc.

"Before the start of the coop experience, the student who was assigned to work withTony, Mary, Mark
Momentive Performance Materials was motivated to do background reading for his project and contacted me about some references. From the start of the project, it was clear that his classroom work in Materials Science at Cornell prepared him well. The Co-op Program also prepared him well for workplace practices and we began to tackle the scientific work immediately. He began contributing useful information from his laboratory work almost immediately. The project included thorough data analysis, documentation in an internal report presentation and a speaker slot at a scientific meeting. His maturity and drive were on par with that of a graduate student. His curiosity regarding other activities in research as well as in manufacturing allowed the student to see how his project fit in with Momentive's global business objectives, expected product performance and our commitment to excellent science."
Dr. Mary Krenceski
Momentive Performance Materials

“Cornell Co-op program students become great Microsoft employees. They leave school with a solid academic foundation and real-world project experience. This combination of academic and industry experience allows them to contribute and learn quickly in a fast-paced environment. Microsoft applauds Cornell for recognizing the importance of complementing course work with relevant practical experience. They are providing their students a real advantage in the marketplace.”
Ginny Cheng
Microsoft 

“At Cornell you get to see an exceptional bunch of students, and the Co-op program runs very smoothly. One thing I’ve heard from a lot of other recruiters is that it’s difficult to choose among the Cornell students at interviews: they all stand out. Co-op program staff members are very helpful; they answer any questions I have, are helpful in getting things set up, and have all the materials I need waiting for me when I recruit on campus.”
Sal Bhimji
Intel Corporation 

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Tammy Freeman, Turner Construction, Millford CT

"The Engineering Co-op program is a great opportunity for employers to interview, hire and train Cornell's top engineering students. We have found the program to be very well organized and the students to be intelligent, enthusiastic and eager to learn."
Gillian Kaeyer
Turner Construction Company  

“The Cornell Engineering Co-op program is a WIN- WIN for both the students and Kraft..... the students get terrific work experience, exposure to corporate culture, access to corporate leaders and in return it gives Kraft an opportunity to get a peak under the tent at the talent pool available from school, establish relationships with the students and invest in them for the future!”
Marlene Quijano
Kraft Foods 

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Daniel Choi, Hospital for Special Surgery, New York NY

“Dan’s performance has been more at the level of a pre-doctoral student than that of an undergraduate. He was given the arduous task of resurrecting a testing apparatus, the shoulder table, essential to a broad range of sports medicine and biomechanics research projects. Dan took the initiative to learn the anatomy and biomechanics of the shoulder, to survey and organize the somewhat sparse documentations, to document the limitations of the table, and to present me with a detailed plan and timeline for his redesign. His plan was innovative-complete the design requirements during his fall semester with us, so that our machine shop could make the necessary parts, having them ready for his return this summer to complete the improvements. Dan’s leadership in driving this project has been outstanding.”
Dr. Timothy Wright
Hospital for Special Surgery  

“The value for companies like IBM is that we gain the educational and technical knowledge of the student and, in my experience, students with experience have a faster rate at which they become valued and contributing members of our technical team.”
Skip Scianna
IBM Server Group  

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Whitney Cooper, GE Aviation, Cincinnati OH

“Whitney has been supporting a CF6 engine hardware cooling analysis where she had to extract data from customer supplied mission profiles, coordinate with engineering performance to determine the engine cycle conditions at these points, and then work with the fuel systems group to conduct an oil cooling analysis, the results of which she presented at a technical review. Overall, Whitney is sharp, intelligent, and very professional; she asks a lot of good questions and is valued by all the mechanical systems engineers with whom she is working. Without question, Whitney is within the top two of the entire Co-op population who have worked on this group assignment over the past few years.”
Kenneth Willgoose
GE Aviation

“I’ve recruited more than twenty-five Cornell Co-op students over the years - they’re the world’s best engineers. Oh, I’m a little biased - I was a [Cornell] Co-op student in 1987. But it’s a pipeline; you get the best students early.We see a tremendous advance on projects we don’t normally staff, so we’re not only getting a lot of work done, but we also get a chance to check out the students and check out the future fit.When they start here full-time after graduation, they hit the ground running because they have seven months of experience.They tend to advance faster, and make more contributions to our business.”
David Biedermann
Procter & Gamble

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Typical Co-op Recruiting Timeline

November  

  • Employers receive invitations to participate in the Co-op recruiting process 

Those who accept the invitation make reservations online for preferred recruiting dates and post job descriptions shortly thereafter.  

January  

  • Employers receive resumes from students and choose candidates to interview 

February  

  • Employers attend a Networking Reception on the Wednesday evening prior to their interviews to meet the students they are interviewing as well as additional candidates.
  • Employers interview their pre-selected students on Cornell University’s campus, typically on Thursdays and Fridays 

March  

  • Employers notify Engineering Co-op staff of their hiring choices in priority order
  • Students accept or decline employment offers

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Typical Co-op Work Timeline

May-August Students stay on campus and complete the first semester of their junior year.

September-January Students work on-site with their Co-op employers.

January-May Students return to campus to complete their junior year of college.

May-August Students return to complete their Co-op assignments, and then return to campus in August to complete their senior year of college.

Alternative work time-lines are possible as long as they consist of one semester and one summer for a minimum of 28 weeks. (fall/summer or spring/summer)

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Where Co-op Students Work

Co-op Students work for many different employers. The companies range from small entrepreneurial start-ups to large manufacturing firms, as well as several government agencies. Although the vast majority of employers are located in the continental United States, companies as far away as Japan, Singapore, and Belgium have hired Cornell students.

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Co-op FAQ's

Networking Reception

These are held Wednesday evenings on campus during Co-op recruiting weeks and take the place of information sessions.This is a chance to chat informally with Co-op students about your organization and the projects they could be working on. Most employers have us hold a few interview slots on their schedule for students they meet at a networking reception and want to interview the following day. Some also find it helpful to have former Cornell Co-op students from their organization come to the reception to share their experiences and help answer questions.

How much are Co-op students paid?

This varies by industry and location. For monetary salaries click here. Housing and relocation allowances also affect salaries. Employers cover the cost of transportation to/from the work site at the start and end of each work term. About 25% of Co-op employers subsidize housing for students.

Can a Co-op Student work 7 months in a row?

Yes, some students are able to work January-August or June-December. Students are not able to work a seven month length that occurs between September and May. Please see the typical student work timeline listed above. You may want to consult with the Co-op Coordinator to discuss possibilities.Individual work terms should be arranged directly with the student(s).

How does the offer process work?

Co-op offers are submitted directly to our office and not to the students. On a set date in early March we distribute all offers to the students and ask that they accept and decline through our office. Once the offer acceptance deadline has passed in late March, we follow-up via e-mail to notify employers of acceptances.

Co-op Recruiting Policies

Tips for Co-op Employers - successful strategies used by current Co-op employers to ensure a positive Co-op experience for everyone involved.

Number of students interested in Co-op this year (by major) 

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Cornell Co-ops in the News

Co-op: Taking the real world for a test drive - Cornell Chronicle (12/5/2006)

2015 Co-op Student of the Year and Co-op Supervisor/Mentor of the Year Awards recipients announced! Click here for press release!

Care to share newsworthy information about a Cornell Engineering Co-op student? Please contact engr_coop@cornell.edu with an update!

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