Co-Op and Internship Experiences
Iron Range Engineering offers an education that is centered on student experiences working directly in industry through co-op employment.
Entering students have completed their lower division studies at community colleges and universities from across the United States. They enter a one semester development called the “Bell Academy” where they polish the skills necessary to succeed at high levels both professionally and technically as self-directed learners, working as unpaid engineering interns as they acquire and prepare to enter their first paid co-op. Satisfactory competency achievement is necessary to move from the Bell Academy to paid co-op placement.
The current, traditional, model of engineering education could be labeled as an “indirect” learning experience where the learning about the profession is done in the abstract in a classroom. In contrast, the new program delivers a “direct” learning experience where the profession is experienced in person. The learning experience opens doors for greater access to engineering education. Aimed at community college graduates, it serves a more ethnically and gender diverse student body. It is also creating opportunities for place bound individuals to earn the majority of their education near their homes. Further, the financial model (students earn while on co-op) increases access to higher education without crippling student loan debt.