Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Uldis Smiddiens

Second Advisor

Dr. David J. Cowden

Third Advisor

Dr. Betty Pritchard


Cooperative education has become an important component of education. The basis for cooperative education is that learning occurs outside the classroom as well as in the classroom. The shift in employment patterns from an industrial society to a knowledge and information based society means that many of the existing types of jobs will disappear. The value of cooperative education exists in its ability to provide a transition from school to work and its flexibility to respond to industries' needs and individuals' training needs.

The purpose of this study was to investigate the differences of the traditional cooperative education student and the non-traditional cooperative education student with respect to benefits perceived from the various dimensions of the cooperative education program. Students participating in the cooperative education program at Macomb Community College in Warren, Michigan were selected for this study.

A self-administered questionnaire was used to collect data regarding the various demographic characteristics (age, gender, marital status, prior work experience) and individual needs (primary objective, desired credential outcome, academic achievement, job placement) The chi-square test of independence at an alpha level of.05 was applied to determine differences between the traditional and non-traditional cooperative education students.

Findings of this study identified differences between the traditional cooperative education students and the non-traditional cooperative education students with regards to the primary objective for participating in the cooperative education program and the convenience of the geographical location of the job assignment. No differences were found with regards to the desired credential outcome, grade point average, or time availability of the job placement assignment.

The various aspects which influence the distinction between traditional and non-traditional students, the diversity in the cooperative education methods, and the cooperative relationship between the institution, the employer, and the student has increased the awareness of the complexity in the inter-relationships of the cooperative education program. Through this investigation, additional research is recommended to provide strategies in developing alternatives within the cooperative education program which will better serve the future population in the inter-relationship of academic and work experience.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access