Paid on-the-job-training

An Alfred University co-op experience is a credit-bearing, formally recognized program integrating classroom learning and productive paid work experiences in a field related to a student's academic and career goals. Co-op consists of full-time work in industry or with a research organization for a period of 6-8 months, integrating theory and practice.


Co-ops are always paid; a competitive salary is offered by the employing organization. The employing organization establishes compensation for co-op employment according to its own pay scale. The employing organization is not obligated to find or establish room and board for the student, although assistance in arranging lodging is welcomed.

Academic Credit

Co-op is considered a technical elective. Three (3) credits credits are awarded for the experience.


Co-op blocks run from 6 to 8 months, usually including the summer months. A typical block begins in May/June and runs through December, or begins in January and runs through August. Employers are asked to guarantee employment for a minimum of 5 months.

Financial Aid

Prior to accepting a co-op offer, request information and a determination from the Office of Student Financial Aid on how your anticipated co-op earnings may affect your individual financial aid package. We recommend that students on co-op keep detailed records and receipts for expenses incurred as a result of the co-op assignment.

Co-Op Resources

Start out by setting up a meeting with the Assistant Director for Experiential Education to learn more about the co-op process, previous co-op employers, and networking opportunities.

*Handshake is a great place to find and apply for a co-op position. Log into your account and search under "Jobs."

*Attend the annual career fairs organized by the CDC; many employers attend these events looking for co-op candidates. View up to date lists of employer representatives on Handshake.

"I thoroughly enjoyed my experience as a co-op at BorgWarner, and I believe that all engineers should go on a co-op. Not only does going on co-op give hands-on experience in the workforce, it also helps you figure out if you are on the right track for your major." - Anonymous

“It is an excellent way to get exposure to real world industry, learn new science, and network yourself to potential employers.” - Christopher Colbert

“The co-op gives invaluable work and life experience to every student that goes on one.” - Dustin Travis

"I learned that I am able to go outside my comfort zone personally and professionally and still remain confident in myself and my abilities." - Anonymous

"I learned that I am more easily able to adapt to new experiences than I had previously thought." - Anonymous

“I will remember the lessons I learned for the rest of my life and apply them in work and personal life.” - Charles Cespedes

“I believe a co-op will open any student’s eyes and help them realize if they really should or shouldn’t continue their education.” - Sean Benoit

"I know that before going on co-op I was worried that I wouldn’t like what I was going to do, but being a Manufacturing Engineer at BorgWarner I realized that I was on the right track and that I made the right decision on majoring in Mechanical Engineering. I also think that going on co-op is important because you realize that you do use some of the information that you learn in the courses that you take at school, so it’s motivation to do better in the courses. I would say that the most rewarding part of going on co-op is that you gain more knowledge that you would at school and you also gain many resources such as references in the future when you are looking for a job." - Anonymous

“It allowed me a deeper evaluation of my strengths and weaknesses, gain a broader perspective how industries separate their business sectors, and simply more time to research career paths.” - Michael Berardi

“I learned a great deal about the need for communication and time management in a professional setting.” - James Eddlestone

The work I have done on this co-op has proved invaluable. It has allowed me to gain knowledge and skills of materials characterization and practically implement relevant subjects." - Anonymous

“Overall, my co-op allowed me to meet new people, make new friends, and has taught me that I have chosen the correct career path that I now have more knowledge and background in.” - Josh Logan

"I learned that I have the ability to evoke change in a large company as a student. My willingness to learn new things and ask questions benefited in the problem-solving process when presented with a new project. Lastly, I learned that I have a deep desire to continue doing lab melts, running analysis, and working with the SEM." - Anonymous

“The opportunity to work alongside professionals in the field you’re studying, offers invaluable insight this early on, especially being a part of the particular team I worked with at Kohler.” - Shannon Rogers

“Having the ability to apply what I have learned from my classes at Alfred University to the work environment and what I have learned from the work environment to my classes will greatly improve my comprehension of difficult material.” - Zachary Young

Anonymous Co-Op Student Feedback

"Would I recommend a co-op experience to my fellow students? Absolutely, without a doubt. You gain a wealth of experience that can only be learned in the work place; experience that gives you a foot-up on your competition when it comes to applying for a job."

"It was great to be able to recognize and apply concepts learned in class to what is really used in the work environment. I have a new appreciation for the education I have completed and motivation to continue the path I am on."

"The lessons I learned are not lessons that can be learned in a classroom. Combining a co-op into my engineering education was one of the best choices I could have made for myself and my future."

"There is NO better way to see if you like something than to go out and do it. I think it's worth noting that I am not that great of a student and you don't have to be, you just have to be willing to learn. In short, go on a co-op. You'll come back to a place that looks the same and sounds the same, but you'll realize it is you that has changed."

"I learned more than I could've ever imagined and gained the skills needed to excel in a manufacturing setting. My communication, presentation, time management, and persuasion skills were few among many that were harnessed and refined while on co-op."

“Austin has definitely grown professionally during his experience at NYAB and has been involved in the testing and qualifications of various piece of hardware” - Jeffrey Gibson

“Good job in general, very good availability; task oriented, and follows directions. He was a key member of the team” - Armando Vazquez

“Marc has met all expectations and has gone above and beyond our expectations we have for him as a co-op position” - Daniel Mckay

“Taylor’s Performance her at BorgWarner shows that she is well prepared, her solid school background knowledge distinguishes her form her peer co-ops, which has also given her a noticeable advantage, helping her to be successful at their assignments” - Ray Lu

“Taylor exceeded our expectations in terms of both quantity and quality of her work” - Ray Lu

“James was one of the finest co-op students contributing a lot to our future product development. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful student with us. I hope that the school continues to fine such excellent students and feed to our engineering community” - Wes Park

*This is not a comprehensive list of participating co-op employers.

  • General Dynamics Electric Boat
  • Owens-Illinois
  • U.S Naval Research Labs
  • Alcoa, Inc.
  • Kohler Co.
  • Unifrax
  • New York Air Brake
  • Thomas Electric
  • CertainTeed Corp.
  • IEC Electronics
  • Kohler Co.
  • Wegmans
  • Rheonix, Inc.
  • L3 Technologies
  • BorgWarner
  • Rich Products
  • Alcoa Corporation
  • Alstom
  • Unifrax
  • Advance Testing Company
  • Rich Products
  • PCC Airfoils
  • Unifrax
  • Superior Tire & Rubber Corp
  • L3 GCS
  • Complete Work Agreement - this includes the work/study pattern to be used (summer/fall, fall only, spring only, spring/summer), the location(s), work activity within the organization, supervision of the student while on assignment, reporting system, etc. A brief company bio and co-op job description for each position is part of the Work Agreement which must be kept on file at the Career Development Center.
  • Notify the Career Development Center of candidates hired.
  • Complete mid-point and final evaluations of student performance (to be reviewed with the student and returned to the Career Development Center. The Assistant Director will provide these documents at the appropriate times.
  • The employer is responsible for making all candidate selection decisions, including selecting candidates to interview and choosing the successful candidate(s) for the co-op position(s) offered.
  • The employer should inform the student about the company, the position, the responsibilities of the co-op job, and the compensation package.
  • If problems arise on the job and cannot be resolved satisfactorily, the employer is asked to contact the Career Development Center.

Student Stories

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Getting Lost in the Woods

"I would get lost in the woods to find myself."

Nick Weikle, 2020
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