UPS lures Kettering co-op students with housing

Feb 10, 2005

The Metro Philadelphia UPS district provides apartment leases for Kettering co-ops during their cooperative work term.

The Metro Philadelphia UPS district provides apartment leases for Kettering co-ops during their cooperative work term, which insures that students focus completely on their jobs without worrying about where they will live during their work terms.

For some students at Kettering, an exceptional cooperative work assignment far from home used to be out of the question. Why? Because most landlords do not want short-term leases of three months, especially in large metropolitan areas where there is an abundance of people willing to pay top dollar to live in nice places. In addition, Kettering students do not have much time to find a place to stay and start work, which could inhibit their on-the-job focus.

But one Kettering co-op partner proves that by making apartments available through leases to the company, some of the brightest and most talented Kettering co-op students may in fact shift their thinking and go to work in cities that are miles from their home towns.

The Metro Philadelphia UPS district currently employs four Kettering cooperative education students. Nationwide, UPS employs 57 Kettering co-op students and is one of the most active employers of students. Although many students may regard the company as a premier co-op opportunity, they might also find it difficult to accept positions at company branches far from home due to issues with locating suitable housing for three-months at a time.

In most cases, Kettering's cooperative education and corporate relations managers work hard to locate co-op positions for students close to their hometown, which allows them to stay at their parent's home and save money for their studies. But in some cases bright students may be hesitant to take on co-op assignments far from home, since they must secure housing and begin their work soon after the academic term in an area of the country they are unfamiliar with.

The Metro Philadelphia UPS district combats this situationby leasing apartments in the city for Kettering co-op students, who only need to pay the monthly rent. This, according to Keith Spicer, a corporate relations manager in Kettering's Enrollment Management Division, helps students who must often hustle to find a place to live for three months and begin working.

With UPS providing apartments to Kettering co-op students before they arrive to begin their assignments, students can better focus on their work, thus allowing them to perform at the highest level possible.

"Moving to an area you're unfamiliar with for three months, trying to find an apartment you can rent for that period, and starting a job that could lead to a great professional future a lot to undertake," Spicer said. "We hope that what the UPS Metro Philadelphia district is doing will rub off on other companies and serve as a model."

Albert Wright, vice president of Engineering for UPS as well as a member of Kettering's Board of Trustees, noted that this housing assistance would benefit both the company and the school in the long run. "In the true spirit of UPS, Dick Morse helped create an environment in which Kettering students can easily adapt to finding housing during their co-op assignments at UPS," he said. "I believe that this enables our co-ops to be much more productive in their daily assignments and applaud Dick and the Metro Philadelphia district for their efforts."

Morse, who is plant engineer at the Metro Philadelphia UPS district, along with several colleagues, furnished the apartments with items and necessities from their own homes. Additionally, Kaye Daly, Kettering's corporate relations manager for the UPS district in Philadelphia, works with Morse in placing highly qualified students at the company.

Morse also noted that in 1990 while at the Long Island, N.Y., UPS facility, the relationship between the company and Kettering/GMI began with students who"did a great job for us. At that time, it was clear housing was a concern for students and their parents."

A year later in Philadelphia, Morse said, "when we prepared to use Kettering co-ops, I knew we needed to secure housing for students outside of this area. I think that most of our Kettering co-ops appreciate the ease of having an apartment to move back into for their work session."

Spicer and Daly, as well as other Kettering officials, believe that with UPS offering apartments to Kettering co-ops before they arrive for work, other UPS facilities and districts might consider this option when seeking highly trained, skilled and educated cooperative education students from the University.

For students, this is yet another opportunity to work for a global leader and experience life in one of the nation's most exciting cities.

"I feel it's very important for co-op employers to offer housing for co-op students who would like a position far from home," said Brittany Murty, a Kettering Mechanical Engineering student who works at UPS in Philadelphia and is originally from Rochester, N.Y. "Knowing that there is a place for you to stay is much easier."

She also explained that she choose UPS in Philadelphia because housing was available, she enjoys big cities and because of the great reputation the company enjoys among other students and the opportunities the company offers.

Amy Yurkovic is a Kettering Electrical Engineering student from Rochester, Minn., and also co-ops at the UPS facility in Philadelphia. She said that when moving far away for a co-op assignment, housing availability is "very helpful. My office is only six miles from my apartment."

Staff members in Kettering's Corporate Relations Office feel that if more of the institution's 600 cooperative education partners emulated what the Metro Philadelphia UPS district is doing to resolve housing issues for co-op students, even more of the school's brightest students would consider co-op assignments miles from home.

"Kettering students would clearly prefer to accept co-op job opportunities based on the merits of the company and the job, without being influenced by the hassle of searching for housing and dealing with the cost each work term," said Bob Nichols '74, Kettering's vice president of the Corporate Relations and Enrollment Services. "By offering housing, UPS is able to attract some of Kettering's top students from all over the country instead of just within the company's local area."

To learn more about how companies can develop housing opportunities for Kettering co-op students, contact Keith Spicer at (800) 955-4464, or via e-mail at

By Gary J. Erwin
(810) 762-9538