A Century of Crafting Careers
100 years of co-op
Aug. 6, 2012
by Mindy Mozer
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Salvatore Di Schino finished college during the Great Depression, when few companies were hiring. Nicholas Langswager graduated in May, when new graduates were facing similar challenges of finding jobs in their field. But Di Schino and Langswager landed immediate full-time work after graduation—76 years apart—because of RIT’s cooperative education program.
The co-op 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 typical co-op student who graduates is far more experienced, far more savvy, far more in tune with what they like and don’t like,” says Manny Contomanolis, associate vice president and director of the Office of Cooperative Education and Career Services. “They are more seasoned. They are more capable. That’s what employers want on top of their core skills and abilities.”
Today, more than 3,500 students a year complete 5,500 work assignments with 2,000 companies worldwide. About 60 percent of those students are offered jobs after graduation, Contomanolis says.
Di Schino ’36 (mechanical engineering) started his 41-year career at Eastman Kodak Co. as a co-op student. Langswager ’12 (graphic design) was offered a full-time position in March at Fisher-Price designing toy packages and instruction pamphlets after completing a work assignment.
Read their stories and those of graduates in the years in between to see why a 100-year-old program is still relevant today.
- Co-op launches 41 years at Kodak
- Hopping into the brewery business
- State justice ruled out retail
- War turns lab worker into pilot
- Live from the Red Carpet
- Making a Living at Martha Stewart
- Engineer gets hooked on sustainability
- Prison riot cleanup cements career path
- Experience weaves safety net for grad
- International experience
- It's all fun and games for designer
- Alumna helps keep sailors, Marines safe
- Good things come from small packaging circles
- RIT roots strong and growing at JPMorgan Chase