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University of Cincinnati Ties-Up with Aidea for Co-op Program
4 September 2008

Cooperative education (co-op) is the practice of alternating students' studies with paid, professional work related to their major. Co-op was invented at The University of Cincinnati (UC) in 1906. Now, 100 years and 43 countries later, generations of students worldwide have followed its lead.

Currently UC has 4,000 students in over 40 disciplines and more than 1,500 employers in 34 states and nine foreign countries participating in the program. The extension of classroom and laboratory teaching by practice in a chosen profession adds a unique dimension to student learning and preparation for entering a chosen career area.

Co-op, as the program is broadly known, exposes students to the real world of work and to provide career options. It not only promotes a sense of independence and professional maturity but also increases opportunities for career positions following graduation.

Aidea Philippines Inc. has been a UC co-op employer for two years now, having accepted UC masteral students in 2008 and 2009. Matthew Eckberg and Nicole Marie Fannin worked in Aidea in 2008, and Fern Marie Nafziger in 2009.

AIDEA President Abelardo Tolentino says that the company's objectives for participating in the program are: "to expose the Aidea staff to other cultures; to add a more international flavor to the workplace; and to provide benefits to both the foreigner-masteral students and the local architects as they are bound to learn from each other while working as a team." Aidea intends to continue engaging in the University of Cincinnati co-op program for these reasons.

One of the exchange students, Matthew Eckberg only has raves for his stint with the company. He talks about appreciating the mentorship he had received, the adequate exposure to the design process he got, learning about and appreciating Filipino design and construction, and being pleasantly surprised at the way Filipinos or Aidea employees, in particular, combined business with pleasure. He recounts office parties featuring local food, inter-office sports competitions, karaoke sessions, and even out-of-town trips he took with his Filipino friends.