The College of Engineering and Computing Sciences is launching the university’s first cooperative education (co-op) track for students in two undergraduate programs: computer science and information technology. Additionally, Peter Goldsmith, M.B.A., an industry veteran and founder of the Long Island Software & Technology Network (LISTnet), a nonprofit organization that builds a strong ecosystem for software and technology, has joined New York Tech and will lead this effort as co-op coordinator and adjunct assistant professor.
A cooperative education experience, commonly known as a “co-op,” provides academic credit for a structured job experience. Cooperative learning falls under the umbrella of work-integrated learning (alongside internships, service learning, and clinical placements). However, a co-op track alternates a school term with a work term in a structured manner, involves a partnership between an academic institution and an employer, and is paid and intended to advance the student’s education.
“In keeping with New York Tech’s mission to provide career-oriented professional education and access to opportunity for all qualified students, our co-op offering provides another way to enable students to prepare for the job market while pursuing their undergraduate degrees,” said Babak D. Beheshti, Ph.D., dean of the College of Engineering and Computing Sciences. Over time, the college expects to extend co-op offerings to students in all of its undergraduate programs.
As co-op coordinator, Goldsmith is working to secure participation from employers to provide a learning environment where the student is assigned projects that provide a variety of experiences and a progression of skill development and responsibilities. “A key benefit for employers is to gain access to a secure and stable pool of highly qualified and talented student workers who have the potential to transition to permanent employment after graduation,” he said, adding that co-ops can be a very effective way for employers to build their talent pipelines.
Goldsmith has secured commitments from several regional tech companies to participate in the first cohort, which begins this summer and will be capped at 15 students. Students participating in the co-op will work for at least 24 weeks through the fall 2022 semester. New York Tech’s Office of Career Success and Experiential Education is working with Goldsmith to secure other employers in and around New York City.
“In partnership with our network of industry and business organizations, our co-op students can prepare for the culture and professional conduct required to be productive in the work environment, learn about and engage in successful job search practices, gain invaluable work experience in their fields of study, and earn income while employed in their co-op positions,” Beheshti said.