Campaign strives to employ Kettering co-op students

Nov 2, 2001

Caron Wilson, cooperative education manager, is spearheading the effort.

Garth Motschenbacher has the unenviable task of teaching today's college students about a work ethic that seems dated in a technology driven world.

Motschenbacher is Kettering's director of Cooperative Education and Career Services, formerly called Corporate Relations. "Anyone 35 or older understands what I'm talking about when I say, 'If you work hard and keep your nose clean, doors of opportunity will open for you.'"

But today's college students didn't grow up in households where someone remembered the Depression. In fact, they weren't even born during the Jimmy Carter years of 18 percent inflation. Today's Kettering student tends to arrive on campus with a 30 ACT and no inclination to spend their free time on repairs.

"I guess what we're talking about," Motschenbacher said, "is having to teach today's kids how to get a little dirty at work. The notion of needing to get a foot in a company's door to make a career happen isn't the typical expectation these days."

So when the economy goes "soft," as it has in 2001, teaching "bootstrap" economics to engineering students seems a bit foreign. So Motschenbacher and his staff have created the "Everybody Works" campaign.

"Though many employers are continuing to hire our co-op students, we cannot predict when the economy will fully rebound," he said, noting his ultimate goal is to employ all of Kettering's 2,500 undergraduate co-op students.

The campaign has three priorities.


Motschenbacher's team is aggressively targeting employers that have either supported traditional co-op or haven't been approached in a while. Caron Wilson, cooperative education manager, is spearheading the effort. "We'll be targeting 28,000 alumni with a letter and a reply card," she said. "The mailing will go out before Thanksgiving. Then, we'll pick 30-50 prospects for one-on-one contact. We'll also be using faculty and staff to contact their colleagues in industry. If they'll give us the information, we'll pursue the lead.

"I keep telling my students the economy effects all of us," she added. "I tell my students good things come to those who work."

The second priority is the creation of Term-by-Term Co-op Agreements. This includes actively pursuing new employers for 12-week co-op jobs and asking current employers to hire additional students on a term-by-term basis. Carmon Liversedge, cooperative education manager, is in charge of priority #2. "We envision this initiative will be especially appealing to employers who have short duration, seasonal, temporary or "back burner" projects their full-time professional staff cannot accommodate," he noted.

The third leg of the campaign is establishing a Student Employment Office to assist students by listing any short-term jobs available in the marketplace. Bonnie Pennington, director of support operations, will coordinate the effort. "We'll be asking current co-op employers to hire our co-op candidates for any short-term need in any area," she explained. The office will also be establishing an enlarged pool of on-campus and student employment positions to fulfill needs at Kettering, she said.

Motschenbacher said the combined efforts - along with the support of the Kettering community - will ensure success during this time of uncertainty and economic struggle. "Rest assured," he added, "we stand committed to our students and will diligently pursue our goal that every Kettering student works."

Alumni, Hire a Bulldog (Caron Wilson):
Term-by-Term Co-op (Carmon Liversedge):
Short term,non co-op (Bonnie Pennington):

Written by Patricia Mroczek
(810) 762-9533