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History of Co-op and Steinbright

Drexel Institute faculty sharing information about the Co-op program in Retail Management, 1938.
Drexel Institute faculty sharing information about the Co-op program in Retail Management, 1938.

Co-op in the Past

Stemming from A.J. Drexel's founding belief that Drexel University should be an institution committed to prepare its men and women for successful careers through an education that balanced classroom theory with real world practicality, the Drexel four-year co-op program launched in the College of Engineering in 1919 with the participation of just three academic majors. Then, in 1925, the five-year co-op program took hold in the chemical engineering department which would later become the foundation of Drexel's cooperative education difference, which now supports the participation of students across over 75 different disciplines.

Co-op Today

Since 1965, with some 650 co-op employers in 20 states and the District of Columbia participating, the program has continued to meet the demands of an increasingly global economy. Now with over 1,400 co-op employers and students working in 43 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and 53 countries between 2007 and 2011, Drexel has positioned itself as a world leader in cooperative education. Moreover, the Drexel co-op program has afforded students the opportunity to build their professional skill set as it relates to job searching, interviewing, networking, and professional development. The Drexel commitment to cooperative education is at the foundation of the Drexel community with over 90 percent of full-time undergraduate students opting to participate in at least one 6-month co-op experience.

The Steinbright Career Development Center

Since its inception, the Steinbright Career Development Center, formerly known as both the Department of Industrial Coordination and the Career Management Center, has emphasized the value of experiential education for its undergraduate students, allowing them to alternate periods of time in the classroom with meaningful co-op experiences in their fields of study. The ability for students to spend six months in the workplace instead of the more traditional three month internships has allowed them the opportunity to integrate themselves more fully into their work environments and increase contributions to their employers.

While the Steinbright Career Development Center was founded around the Drexel Co-op program, the offered services have expanded considerably over the decades to meet the needs of the Drexel community. These include employment services for graduating students and alumni, hosting some of the largest college career fairs in the Philadelphia region, pre-professional advising for students interested in medical and legal professions, a graduate co-op program, extensive career counseling services, and a growing international co-op program – all of which are available to Drexel's growing community of students and alumni. Additionally, the Steinbright Career Development Center prepares undergraduate students for the co-op experiences with a 10-week course, Career Management and Professional Development (COOP 101). While the course has gone through many iterations over the years, the current format was introduced in the fall term of 2005.