Posted by: Samantha Wasserman
Here at Northeastern, it seems like everyone is familiar with the school’s signature cooperative education program. Most have heard the facts about the program’s success with job placement after graduation and for many students, the co-op program was the reason why they chose to come here. Although most people know about how the program can help with their own professional education, few know the interesting history of the legendary program.
The Fall 2011 issue of the Cooperative Education and Internship Association’s Experience magazine features the fascinating history of Northeastern’s cooperative education program with the help of Northeastern University Libraries Archives and Special Collections Department, which provided the photos, document images, book excerpts, and stories included in the magazine.
The featured article in the magazine, “Reflections of a Perplexed Practitioner” by Michelle Clare, highlights university co-op programs during the Great Depression. The spread features documents and photos from Northeastern Libraries’ own Archives and Special Collections Department, and contains excerpts from “Second to None: Seventy-five Years of Leadership in the Cooperative Education Movement” by Joseph Barbeau, a professor emeritus of Northeastern.
The piece consists of remarkable information on the history of Northeastern’s cooperative education program in the period of the Great Depression, including co-op placement statistics from 1929-1932. The photos from the Northeastern’s Archives and Special Collections Department are unique snapshots documenting the life of a Northeastern co-op student during the Depression-era, showing co-ops from the 1930s working at companies such as the American Trust Company and General Radio. The article includes a quote from William C. White, Northeastern’s Executive Vice President until 1968, who said that during this time the co-op program proved its “capacity to endure the rigors of the worst industrial depression we have ever known.”
So, although the current economic recession may seem like a challenge to the co-op program, fear not. In Northeastern’s cooperative education’s 100 year-plus history, the program has gotten through times of hardship before, namely the worst economic crisis of all time: the Great Depression. If the co-op program was able to weather that storm, then without a doubt the innovative program will survive this national recession and will hopefully be around for the next century too.
Read the publication and learn more about the Cooperative Education & Internship Association (CEIA) here: CEIA website.