For the past several years, Lam Research has supported and participated in the Multiple Engineering Cooperative Program (MECOP), a unique and highly effective internship program. Started at Oregon State University in 1978, MECOP helps students who are pursuing an undergraduate degree in chemical, mechanical, or industrial engineering gain a full year of high-technology work experience before they graduate. University participants currently include Oregon State University, Portland State University, the Oregon Institute of Technology, and the University of Portland. Interns work for two different technology companies that have operations in Oregon, spending six months at each company in a full-time paid position. In 2013, the program provided internships to more than 500 students at more than 100 participating companies.
MECOP is not your typical internship program. In fact, the selection process for a MECOP internship is as unusual as it is rigorous. In addition to meeting academic requirements and being screened through a series of interviews and with references, each candidate’s qualifications are reviewed by the MECOP sponsoring companies. Company representatives each choose their top five applicants, whose names are added to a pool of candidates. The MECOP interns are then randomly selected and assigned to the companies for their internships. As a result, neither the interns nor the companies decide who receives any of the job assignments.
The benefits of MECOP are many. Interns receive hands-on engineering experience and have the opportunity to meet hiring managers, work in technology environments, and learn first-hand about some of Oregon’s technology companies. Perhaps one indirect benefit of the program is its apparent influence on engineering students – about 75% of MECOP interns become successfully employed in their field of study after graduating. For participating companies like Lam, the program provides access to a pool of well-trained potential employees. In the words of Mo, an engineering manager at our Tualatin, Oregon, campus, “Lam gets a chance through MECOP to evaluate highly qualified candidates for possible future employment.” Mo is one Lam employee who can personally vouch for the program’s benefits, having hired three MECOP graduates who “all are excellent engineers at Lam.”
For more information about MECOP, please visit their website.