Co-Op Program

Watch the Co-Op Video

The Cal Poly Construction Management Department's Cooperative Education (Co-Op) Program is a collaborative effort between students, construction industry businesses, and the Cal Poly Construction Management Department. The Co-Op program allows students to work in a full time paid position while receiving credit towards completion of a Construction Management Degree.

Co-op circle image

Additionally a Co-Op Experience can provide the following student benefits:

  • Opportunity to earn required curriculum academic course credit (topics course) while working.
  • Ability to construct a customizable enhanced work experience for the student.
  • Enables students to retain (part) or full time student status while working full time.
  • Assist in integrating and incorporating academic theory with work experience.
  • Adding further relevance to prior classroom education and future course work.
  • Improved industry contacts and working relationships through purposeful efforts.
  • Increased likelihood of a quality field experienced with continuous communication between the Co-Op Director, the employer, and the student.
  • Engaged-learning occurs through assignments which encourage academic reflection which increase educational and professional relevance.
  • Possible completion and linkage of a curriculum required senior project with work experience.
  • Provides a means of earning income to help cover increasing college expenses.
  • Develops maturity and leadership which will enhance both professional and social skills.
  • Confirms (or redirects) student career decisions as way to “test-drive” career choices.
  • Improves employment prospects at graduation with transferable work experience skills.
  • Often leads to higher starting salaries than others with similar educational
  • Professional confidence is increased with proven successful performance in the
  • Avoids a student from simply getting thrown onto a jobsite with no plan or support structure.
  • Provides a mechanism which allows for a “neutral third-party” feedback loop to both the employer and the student.
Students interested in participating in the program should contact:

Phil Barlow, Co-Op Director
Phone: 805.756.2797

Roles of Co-Op Members

CM Co-Op Director

  • Supervise and evaluate your overall Co-Op experience.
  • Assist (as a student advocate) with preliminary co-op activities.
  • Enhance potential engaged-learning experiences.
  • Monitor your progress during your work assignment.
  • Provide technical assistance and support as needed.
  • Respond to work related problems or student concerns.
  • Grade your Co-Op work assignment.

Industry Co-Op Supervisor

  • Provide an initial orientation and assign work projects.
  • Provide training and resources needed to complete the job.
  • Oversee and/or supervise your work assignments.
  • Respond to work related questions.
  • Evaluate your overall work performance.

Cal Poly Co-Op Student

  • Complete all academic requirements for the Co-Op program.
  • Actively communicate with the CM Co-Op Director through progress reporting.
  • Provide feedback to ensure the quality and meaningfulness of the work assignment.
  • Represent Cal Poly in a professional manner.
CEA Logo

Partial Funding for the Cooperative Education Program is provided by:

The Construction Employer's Association,


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