MILWAUKEE _ Foxconn Technology Group, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Chung Yuan Christian University signed an agreement Thursday to create an international co-op program in which UWM engineering students will study at the university in Taiwan and work at a Foxconn facility there before returning to UWM to complete their degrees.
The co-op program will introduce engineering students to liquid crystal display fabrication technology and processes. LCD panels are used in a variety of high-tech consumer electronics products, such as smartphones. The co-op program eventually could be expanded to other colleges and universities in Wisconsin and the Midwest.
“We are delighted to host Foxconn’s first international co-op program in Wisconsin and be a model for other universities in the state,” UWM Chancellor Dr. Mark Mone said. “Many of us in higher education have talked for years about the need to collaborate more closely with each other and with our business partners, and Foxconn has encouraged us to accelerate that work to benefit our students and our state. Companies throughout Wisconsin need the well-trained engineers that programs like this will provide.”
Recruitment for the new co-op program will begin this fall. UWM will send five students from its College of Engineering & Applied Science to Taiwan in February 2019. The students will spend time in the new Foxconn facility in Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin, before going overseas. After arriving in Taiwan, they will take classes in culture and language at Chung Yuan Christian University (CYCU), work on practically oriented applied research projects in preparation for their upcoming co-op with Foxconn and meet with Foxconn employees. They will continue work on their projects at one of the Foxconn facilities in Taiwan through June 2019.
“This program will give students in Wisconsin a valuable hands-on international working experience and apply their learning in a real-world, global environment,” said Dr. Louis Woo, special assistant to Foxconn Founder and CEO Terry Gou. “We are committed to supporting Wisconsin in expanding the existing strong talent pool and nurturing knowledge workers in the state. This will not only make Wisconsin more attractive to other companies but also contribute to its transformation as a global technology hub. The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is an ideal Foxconn partner for this program because of its strong engineering program, diverse student body and experience with international educational partnerships.”
UWM attracts students from around Wisconsin and, as the state’s second-largest university, is a major provider of skilled workers. Eighty percent of UWM graduates live and work in Wisconsin.
Work experience is a key feature of the school’s engineering program, with 89 percent of its students completing at least one internship or co-op before graduation.
“The UWM College of Engineering & Applied Science is proud to provide this unique opportunity to our students and to be a key player in supplying the talent needed to meet Foxconn’s sophisticated requirements,” said Dr. Brett Peters, the college’s dean. “Advanced manufacturing is an area of expertise for our college. This program builds on a strong tradition of partnership between our college and industry in support of Wisconsin’s economic growth and development.”
The new international co-op program with Foxconn will be the second international internship/co-op program at the UWM College of Engineering & Applied Science. Rockwell Automation established an internship program with the college in 2016 in which engineering students work at its facility in Shanghai, China, in partnership with Shanghai Jiao Tong University.
UWM also has an existing study abroad program for engineering students with CYCU in Taiwan. Thirty-one students have participated in the UWM-CYCU study abroad program since it started in 2009. A key feature of the program is that students from UWM and other universities in the United States collaborate with those from CYCU and Southeast University in China on engineering projects, including some sponsored by Taiwanese industrial companies.