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LOWELL, Mass. ߝ UMass Lowell will receive $200,000 to strengthen undergraduate and graduate cooperative education under a congressional appropriations bill finalized this week.
Commonly known as “co-ops,” such programs provide opportunities for experiential learning and professional growth in the workplace. This learning through practice, integrated with learning in the classroom and in laboratory settings, produces graduates who are better prepared for their careers. In many ways, co-ops enhance the development of skills that are essential for success in the workplace, such as teamwork and project leadership.
“Combining academics with related work experience is a proven way to enhance student learning and career placement,” said Chancellor Marty Meehan. “We are pleased that Senators John Kerry and Paul G. Kirk Jr. and Congresswoman Niki Tsongas have recognized that a co-op program is something UMass Lowell students need.”
“UMass Lowell graduates have been cited in a survey by Payscale.com as earning the top mid-career pay among all public universities in New England. Cooperative education is a key component our strategy to further enhance the competitive standing of these graduates,” said Provost Ahmed Abdelal.
“For years UMass Lowell's co-op education program has given students the practical and academic experience to succeed in the workplace and compete on a global level. This sound investment will allow the school to expand and continue the extraordinary work that Chancellor Meehan is doing every day to enlarge the university's mission and presence,” said Senator John Kerry.
“I’m pleased we were able to obtain funds for the co-op program at UMass Lowell,” said Senator Paul G. Kirk Jr. “It means unique opportunities for its students to enhance their education by combing learning in the classroom and learning in the workplace. Such opportunities are more important than ever in our modern economy.”
“By enhancing workforce training for in-demand and emerging industries and business, UMass Lowell’s co-op program is providing students with the resources and skills necessary to be competitive in the 21st century,” said Congresswoman Niki Tsongas. “Chancellor Meehan should be recognized for pursuing these federal funds which will create additional professional opportunities for students.”
In addition to co-ops in undergraduate education, UMass Lowell has incorporated co-ops in Professional Science Master’s (PSM) programs. These programs, recently advocated by the National Academy of Sciences, combine disciplinary training with business fundamentals, teamwork and effective communication. All PSM degree programs include a co-op requirement, and are designed for workforce preparation in various economic sectors.
Federal funding will be used to strengthen the infrastructure needed to expand and formalize department-specific co-op programs already in place, as well as initiate a campus-wide program. Priorities emphasize industry in the Massachusetts technology corridor that is in close proximity to the University.
“This will strengthen our partnerships with industry and help us to enhance economic development in the region.” said John Ting, dean of UMass Lowell’s College of Engineering.
Earlier this week, Congress finalized the so-called Omnibus Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2010 that includes funding for the U.S. Department of Education. The Omnibus bill has passed the House and is expected to clear the Senate soon.
UMass Lowell, with a national reputation in science, engineering and technology, is committed to educating students for lifelong success in a diverse world and conducting research and outreach activities that sustain the economic, environmental and social health of the region. UML offers its 13,000 students more than 120 degree choices, internships, five-year combined bachelor’s to master’s programs and doctoral studies in the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Management, the School of Health and Environment, and the Graduate School of Education. www.uml.edu.