In 1906, the first Cooperative Education Program in the United States started at the University of Cincinnati. Dr. Herman Schneider, a visionary engineering professor, realized that his students' education was incomplete without the element of practical experience. Dr. Schneider made arrangements with 13 local employers to hire 27 students on an alternating work schedule! The cooperative education program or "co-op" was an immediate and resounding success. It was often labeled as the Cincinnati Plan. Within the next few years, the co-op program expanded to about one-third of the post-secondary education institutions in the United States. In recent years, the Co-op concept has spread to virtually all academic disciplines. Students find that Co-op employment allows them to gain skills and experience which give them a competitive edge after graduation.
The Valdosta State Cooperative Education Program began in 1984, when a five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education was obtained. During the course of the grant, the institution's share of the total expenses increased annually, to a point that Valdosta State assumed total fiscal responsibility for the program.
The Cooperative Education Program was a welcome addition to the services offered to Valdosta State students, giving them an opportunity to develop job skills and have experiential learning opportunities while working on their undergraduate degree.