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100 Years of Co-op

RIT's cooperative education program, which kicked off in 1912 with 32 students at a dozen local companies, turns 100 years old this academic year! Although it has transformed from providing the local economy with skilled workers to a global initiative, the goal of getting students solid jobs after graduation remains the same. The Rochester Institute of Technology's co-op program is recognized as one of the oldest and largest in the world.


1 100th Anniversary Celebration
2 Cooperative Education

3 Special Report
4 Employers are Saying
5 Student Co-op Story Winners
6 RSVP for Celebration

100th Anniversary Celebration of Cooperative Education and Experiential Learning

Thursday, October 18, 2012, 3:00-5:00 Ingle Auditorium (Reception 5:00-6:30 pm SAU Davis Room/cafeteria) LIVE STREAMING AVAILABLE


Lindsey Pollak, a career and workplace expert and
spokesperson for LinkedIn

Join the Office of Cooperative Education & Career Services, co-op employers, students and fellow alumni as we celebrate 100 years of cooperative education and experiential learning here at RIT!  We’ll recognize past achievements and the importance of co-op to the success of our graduates, and look ahead to remaining a global leader in cooperative education and experiential learning. 

"2020 Vision: 7 Career Trends of the Future" Our keynote speaker will be Lindsey Pollak, a career and workplace expert and spokesperson for LinkedIn.

A reception immediately follows the program.

100 Years of Co-op Celebration RSVP

Employer partners, complete and submit the form below by October 11, 2012. Thank you!

Cooperative Education (Co-op)

Co-op is a full-time, paid work experience directly related to each student's course of study and career interests. "Co-op is the jewel in the crown in the experiential learning programs, which include internships and apprenticeships," says Manny Contomanolis, Associate Vice President and Director of the Office of Cooperative Education and Career Services.

The original 12 companies that participated in the first Cooperative Education program at RIT:
(Still in existence)
Eastman Kodak Company
Gleason Works
Rochester Stampings, Inc
City Engineers Office (now part of the the City of Rochester)
Stromberg Carlson (now operating as Siemens Information and Communications Networks, Inc in Boca Raton, FL)
Rochester Railway and Light Co.(consolidated under RG&E, and now operating as a subsidiary of Iberdola USA)
New York State Railways (became Rochester Transit Authority, and since 1971 has operated as the Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority)

No longer in existence:
Taylor Instrument Companies(merged with Combustion Engineering, which later merged with ABB technologies; Taylor’s technical expertise continues to be used by ABB today)
Morgan Machine Company, Inc.
Ingle Machine Company
German American Button Company

Special Report

Read RIT's University Magazine's Special Report 100 Years of Cooperative Education A Century of Crafting Careers

Employers are Saying

Below our messages from our employer partners, if you would like to share your comments and well-wishes with us, please do so via an email to: 100years@rit.edu or Twitter use hashtag #RITCoop100yrs

"Cannon Design has had an engineering co-op relationship with RIT for over 40 mutually rewarding years.  We have found the students attentive, refreshing, and technically well prepared in support of our production effort as they learn about engineering design responsibilities in the building construction industry.  Many have found the business rewarding as Professional Engineers and have made careers with the firm, seeing it grow from a local WNY firm to an international practice with 17 offices.  We are one of the industry leaders in innovative sustainable and high performance design solutions, one being RIT's Fieldhouse.  We currently have four alumni which are officers of the firm and other past co-ops whom continue to take advantage of our mentoring and training programs.  Our firm's vision and values promote a "fight to join and love to stay attitude" offering a creative as well has highly technical environment.  We look forward to continuing the integrated learning spirit together with RIT."

ELO TOUCH SOLUTIONS, INC., Craig Schwarz, Dir of Engineering, Custom & Medical Systems:
"As a former RIT grad and co-op student, I understand the value of gaining real-world experience in my chosen field prior to graduation.  Years later as an employer, I now understand the value that this program brings to industry.  Here at Elo Touch Solutions, our co-op students have provided a bright, energized, can-do resource pool to work alongside our seasoned new product development engineers to get the job done.  Participating in the RIT co-op program has also been a great way to “try before you buy”.  Many of our co-ops have returned to become highly valued full-time employees after graduation.  Our thanks go out RIT for providing this very successful and productive program."

"We have been extremely pleased with the co-op students we have hired from RIT. The knowledge, skills, and particularly the hands-on experiences they bring from RIT have been a tremendous asset to our organization. The students are assigned real-life job responsibilities – a definite win-win!"

MKS/ENI PRODUCTS, Lori Anastasi, HR Generalist:
"MKS has been hiring co-op engineering students from RIT for many years.  We have found the students to be enthusiastic, knowledgeable and unafraid of working hard or trying something new.  In fact, many of our current Electronic, Software, Reliability, RF and Compliance engineers are former co-op students. Congratulations to the past and present RIT students who have made this program so effective to us as an employer.  I wish we could hire every co-op who comes through the door!"

NORTHROP GRUMMAN ELECTRONIC SYSTEMS, Bob Raybits, CCP, Univ. Relations & Recruitment Lead, Talent Acquisition:
"RIT has been one of only two universities that have consistently supplied us with the high caliber of talent that we seek in our co-op program. As our co-op opportunities are limited in number, we tend to require exceptional students with specific skill sets to satisfy our hiring manager’s needs. One of the things that truly stands out is the sense of urgency with which members of the RIT office of cooperative education and career services address our co-op inquiries. Almost immediately, resumes are provided that closely match our requirements, thus making the recruiter’s efforts appear quite admirable in the eyes of the hiring managers. Congratulations RIT on the continuation of a world class effort in the nurturing and placement of thousands of co-op students both domestically and abroad! Here’s to another 100 years of excellence!"

RETROTECH, Donna L. Balmer, HR Assistant:
"We have had a very solid relationship with the RIT Co-op program and the number of full time employees that currently work for us that started out as RIT Co-op's is testament to that fact.  We currently have Co-op's in Mechanical Engineering, Marketing, Strategy, IT and Software and hope there will be more than one future Retrotech employee in the group.  It's a great opportunity for both the students and the employer to assess each other. 
Congratulations and here's to 100 more!"

Co-op Student Story Winners

We asked our co-op students to share their co-op experience -- the winners of the Co-op Story Contest are Claire McKenna
(Information Security and Forensics major) and Nicholas J. Conn (Electrical Engineering major). Read their entries.

RSVP for Celebration | Employers

Name of the person attending the event

Company you are representing

100 Year Logo

Send your well wishes and stories via Twitter to #RITCoop100yrs!

Did You Know...

The original 12 companies that started the co-op program were:
Eastman Kodak Co.
Gleason Works, Morgan Machine Co.
Ingle Machine Co.
Stromberg Carlson
Rochester Railway and Light Co.
Rochester Electric Motor Co.
City Engineers Office
New York State Railways
Rochester Stamping Co.
Taylor Instrument Companies
German American Button Co.

Today, companies hiring RIT students include Apple Inc., Toyota Motor Sales, Google Inc., NASA, Microsoft Corp., Boeing -- and original partners Kodak and Gleason.