Southco Offers College Students Real World Work Experience

Southco Engineering Co-op student

For over 60 years, Southco has been providing college students with valuable work experience within a fast-paced, global manufacturing and engineering environment through its Cooperative education program.

Students participating in Southco’s Co-Op program experience six months of in-depth learning and hands-on training that proves invaluable in the post-graduation job search. Each term, Southco offers a variety of positions for students to apply to, from engineering to human resources opportunities.

“Being at Southco for more than just a summer has allowed me to do more than just get coffee and organize files. I’m able to take a project from start to finish and learn from what I’ve done,” said Spencer Unangst, Southco Product Management Co-Op.

The terms of the program are aligned with Drexel University’s (Philadelphia, PA) Co-Op Program, where students apply classroom knowledge to the real world by completing three, 6 month internships – either with separate employers or all with the same company.

“Drexel’s Co-Op program gives students three opportunities to work in three different departments here at Southco,” said Al Frattarola, Director of Global Engineering and Technology at Southco. “It gives them a chance to really get a feel for the company and often puts them at the top of the list when we are looking to fill an open position.”

Al has been with Southco for over 32 years – including the first 3 as a Co-Op student. Throughout the history of Southco, many Co-Ops have been hired after graduating college, most notably William J. Friel, CEO of Southco from 1982 – 1991.

Hiring Co-Ops to full-time positions is not only beneficial for the company but for new Co-Ops as well.
“Working with former Co-Ops is great because they have been in my shoes,” said Damien Kahmer, Engineering Co-Op for Southco’s Electronic Access Solutions unit. “They know what types of problems I could run into and I can rely on them to teach me the right way to do things.”

When asked if their experience at Southco was what they thought it would be, both Damien and Spencer agreed – it was more than they could have imagined.

*Americas Marketing Co-Op Michael Umbenhauer contributed to this post.

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