Program will give students an edge entering the workplace while saving local employers money on recruitment and retention

March 24, 2014

Mesa, Arizona ~ Employers and graduating college students face a dilemma. Employers need to find qualified candidates to fill openings and students need to standout among the crowd to convince these employers they can meet their needs.

Benedictine University at Mesa is offering a new program – the career-intensive Cooperative Education Program – to assist local businesses by helping them lower staff recruitment and turnover costs while improving worker engagement and performance by providing students with hands-on work experience to help them launch a successful career.

Benedictine students starting with their junior and senior year will take enhanced business courses while they are employed part time (up to 20 hours per week) at companies that have chosen to partner with the University. Through the employer/employee relationship, the student will continue to take coursework related to their career goals. Benedictine University will coordinate its Next Generation Learning curriculum with the company’s needs, tailoring coursework as necessary to job competencies.

“The new program enhances the professional development of the student/employee through ongoing communications between the company and Benedictine University faculty advisors,” said James B. Kenney, Ph.D., director of the Office of Cooperative Education. “Families and students will appreciate the cooperative nature of the program which will allow employers opportunities to implement their specific business’s competencies and responsibilities into the University’s curriculum by working collaboratively with faculty to define, identify and teach skills and outcomes necessary for both students and the employer.”

These skills will make cooperative education students more marketable, assist with career preparation, job skills and placement. The central difference between cooperative education and an internship is that cooperative education students are paid employees usually within their chosen career.

Cooperative education agreements between employers and universities can help launch successful careers, such as that of new General Motors CEO Mary Barra, who first became connected with GM as a student in a cooperative program.

Benedictine University at Mesa can also help build a talent pipeline of new hires for businesses and enhance employee contributions while providing a values-based, collaborative education designed to build the skills needed for today’s evolving workplace.

The Cooperative Education Program’s unique partnership between Benedictine and local employers creates a structured opportunity for top-performing students to gain enhanced experiential learning, allowing them to further develop critical career readiness and employability skills.

Employers who participate in the program will have access to a regular pool of potential candidates and leaders who are experienced and motivated to advance their careers, which allows for savings on expenses related to employee recruitment and retention.

In turn, employers play a major role in advancing the educational attainment and economic prosperity of those in their community by providing part-time opportunities to Benedictine students. These positions help students to offset educational expenses so they can further develop necessary work-specific skills. For more information on this program, please contact Kenney at (480) 878-7502 or
Providing a values-based education is part of the mission at Benedictine – named the fastest-growing university in the country by The Chronicle of Higher Education and among 10 universities in the nation on the cutting edge of tech for 2013 by education and technology blog edcetera. The University provides a private, values-based education grounded in history, heritage and Catholic tradition.
For more information about Benedictine, please visit or the Gregory Enrollment Center at 51 E. Main St., Suite 105 in downtown Mesa, or contact us at (602) 888-5533 or

The University is accepting applications for fall 2014 enrollment.


Benedictine University at Mesa is a branch campus of Benedictine University, an independent Roman Catholic institution located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago. Founded in 1887, Benedictine is ranked No. 1 among the country’s fastest-growing campuses between 2000-2010 in The Chronicle of Higher Education’s list of private nonprofit research institutions, and Forbes magazine named Benedictine among “America’s Top Colleges” for the third consecutive year in 2013. Education and technology blog edcetera named Benedictine University at Mesa among 10 universities in the nation on the cutting edge of tech for 2013.

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Gary Kohn
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