Co-ops and Professional Development

Employer Responsibilities

Cleveland State University’s Washkewicz College of Engineering and its students value the relationship with all employers of Co-op students. In this role, companies are partners in the education of our students. For this reason, it is important that students have technically challenging, meaningful work assignments, closely related to their chosen field. The success of this program depends upon the student graduating as a well-trained engineer with valuable experience. Equally, success entails the employer developing a group of qualified graduates, ready to accept positions of responsibility.

The following guidelines will help in developing the company/college co-op program :

  • Consider the objectives of the company’s Co-op Program.
  • Begin planning your co-op needs one year in advance. This will help the CEEL Office to identify available student numbers.
  • Each employer interested in participating in Washkewicz’s Co-op Program should submit a detailed job description by contacting the CEEL Office at (216) 687-6970, or by submitting one on HandShake if already registered.  If you need registration assistance, feel free to contact the CEEL Office.
  • To assist the CEEL Office Staff in preparing students for interviews, any materials providing company history, products, plants and public information are welcome. This information will be shared with students in presenting positions and in preparation for interviews with the organization.
  • Upon receiving resumes, the employer should contact a member of the CEEL Office Staff to discuss the interview process. The staff can assist in this process by providing accommodations for on-campus interviewing. Please call the CEEL Co-op Manager at (216) 687-6968 to schedule on-campus recruiting.
  • It is important that the employer contact the Engineering Co-op Manager regarding the student's response to all communication and interview performance. The Engineering Co-op Manager makes every effort to ensure students are properly prepared and know how to respond appropriately during the interview process.
  • Employers should notify the Engineering Co-op Manager when an offer is made to the student. This allows the office to ensure all requirements are completed prior to the beginning of the co-op experience.
  • Negotiation of salary and benefits is between the employer and the student. Cleveland State University will, in no way, attempt to influence negotiations.
  • Employers are asked to contact the Engineering Co-op Manager if they require co-op students to sign non-compete or nondisclosure agreements.

Once the student begins their Co-op experience, the employer is encouraged to:

  • Provide an orientation for the co-op student covering the following areas:
    • Facility tour
    • Work site policies and procedures
    • Provide work site safety orientation
    • The organizational structure
    • The corporate culture
    • Introduction to supervisor and team mates
    • Define employee measurements and expectations
  • Provide the co-op student with defined workspace and all necessary equipment.
  • Maintain communications with the co-op student. Ensure the student understands assignments, is being challenged, and is confident in being successful.
  • Make sure the co-op student has a mentor or supervisor to provide guidance and who likes to teach.
  • Communication is the most important aspect of the relationship between the employer, the student, and the University. The Engineering Co-op Manager requests early notification from the employer should the following situations occur:
    • Co-op student communication and/or language issues
    • Failure of a co-op student to report for the assignment
    • Excessive absenteeism and/or unexplained or continual tardiness
    • Co-op student is unable to work effectively in a team environment
    • Dress becomes improper
    • Uncooperative attitude
    • Insubordination or any other disciplinary issues
  • The Engineering Co-op Manager will meet with the student to address any issues and follow up with the employer.

The Washkewicz College of Engineering is responsible for the following:

  • Assisting the employer in communicating co-op opportunities to Washkewicz College students.
  • Providing a faculty mentor to the co-op student.
  • A member of the CEEL Staff, the Associate Dean or a Faculty member will meet with the student and employer approximately half way through the work period. If an in person meeting is not possible, they will establish phone contact with the student and employer. The purpose will be to review the student's progress against his/her objectives, the student's evaluation of the position and the employer's evaluation of the student's performance to date. The meeting will be in three segments: one with the student, one with the employer and a meeting with all three parties. The goal is to resolve any issues and ensure that the co-op position is a learning experience for the student.

Problem Resolution:

Our objective is to prevent the need for early conclusion of the co-op experience.  Prior to dismissing a student from her/his assignment, we ask that the following procedure be observed (or the employer may feel free to supply the Engineering Co-op Manager with a copy of the company procedure):

  • As early as possible, notify the Engineering Co-op Manager of the difficulties the student has in his/her assignment.  Washkewicz College of Engineering would hope this is well in advance of a final decision.
  • The Engineering Co-op Manager (and if appropriate, the Faculty Mentor) will meet with the employer and the student separately, then together if necessary.  The objective is to make this a learning experience for the student.
  • The employer should provide documentation of the student’s actions leading to the possible dismissal. This is important in terms of the student’s evaluation and in providing career guidance.
  • If it is determined that the issue cannot be resolved, an effort will be made to provide the employer with another co-op student. Washkewicz College of Engineering will follow up and address the issues with the student in a manner intended to help the student constructively.

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