Promoting and assisting cooperative education and internship programs

In 1965, Fenn College, a private institution which had one of the earliest cooperative education programs in the country, merged with Cleveland State University. The college’s remaining assets were used to form the Fenn Educational Foundation, a private foundation dedicated to carrying out the mission of Fenn College and its role in cooperative education. In 1971, the foundation was transformed into the Fenn Educational Fund of the Cleveland Foundation.

Today, the Fenn Fund continues to concentrate its resources on promoting and assisting cooperative education and internship programs at institutions of higher education in Greater Cleveland.

Eligibility: Institutions of higher education located in Greater Cleveland. Please review the RFP.

Next Available Funding Period: 8/1/21 – 7/31/22 (12 mos. grants) or 8/1/21 – 7/31/23 (24 mos. grants)

Next Application Deadline: 5/28/21

How to Apply: Login to the Grants Gateway and complete the Fenn Educational Fund application (eligible institutions only). You will be asked to enter a passcode before you can access the application.

For questions about eligibility or the application process, contact: 
Grants Management


Recent Projects

Baldwin-Wallace University (BW)

2019: Continuing and Expanding Career Communities and Career Treks | 24 mos. | The aim of Career Communities is to encourage students to think broadly about the work world and pursue internships they may not have considered (i.e., not necessarily directly aligned to a specific major or area of study). This grant supports: (1) expansion of Career Treks in which groups of up to 20 students visit employers to learn more about their companies, industries, and careers; (2) increased student outreach through peer-to-peer guidance and the continued recruitment of Faculty Champions; and (3) integration of Career Communities into BW culture, particularly in the recruitment of students who are underrepresented, first-generation, under-resourced, and/or undeclared majors.

Case Western Reserve University (CWRU)

2019: Career Year | 24 mos. | Career Year is a 12-month program that will provide professional development for first- and/or second-year students during the academic year, match students with alumni mentors, and will culminate in a paid summer internship with a local company. CWRU has established partnerships with several local corporations representing diverse industries for this pilot, with plans for growing and expanding partnerships.

Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA)

2020: Creativity Works Experiential Learning Program | 24 mos. | Creativity Works allows CIA students to develop self-directed experiential internships in which they hone their craft, develop professional skills, and learn the business aspects of art, thus preparing them for future careers that will likely be characterized by self-employment.

2018: Pursuing sustainability for Creativity Works experiential learning program | 24 mos.

Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM)

2020: Center for Innovative Musicianship (CIM2) | 24 mos. | Through CIM2, CIM has built partnerships with local and international partners to help students’ professional development and prepare them for future music careers.

2019: Center for Innovative Musicianship (CIM2) | 12 mos.

2018: Center for Innovative Musicianship experiential learning and career development training | 12 mos.

Cleveland State University (CSU)

2020: Reimagining Cooperative Learning and Working in the COVID-19 Era | 24 mos. | The Fenn Co-op is nationally recognized for its success at matching under-represented first-generation students and students of color in high-demand engineering fields. This builds on regional partnerships in the high-demand field of chemical engineering to establish a virtual co-op experience. Over the next two years, CSU plans to adapt the standard program to the COVID-19 era, recalibrating methods of learning and working to create an adaptable and resilient workforce.

2018: Supporting underrepresented students in obtaining and completing cooperative education/internships in engineering | 24 mos.

Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C)

2019: Career-Focused Internships in Manufacturing | 24 mos. | Given the pressing need for workers with manufacturing skills, Tri-C has taken a special interest in developing its manufacturing programs, and this internship program is a logical extension of this work. The internships will focus on hands-on training and align with classroom instruction to expedite workforce entry or advancement.

John Carroll University (JCU)

2020: WAYFINDERS Program | 24 mos. | The WAYFINDERS Program aims to match under-represented (first-generation, racial minority, low-income, disabled, LGBTQ+) college students with micro-internships aligned to the needs of the local economy. In addition to micro-internships, WAYFINDERS runs professional development workshops, provides access to professional conferences, and supplies a resource closet with work-appropriate clothing.

2018: Creating a culture of faculty involvement in internship and career-preparation activities | 12 mos.

Lake Erie College (LEC)

2018: Preparing for long-term sustainability of LEC’s new college-to-career approach to experiential learning/internships | 12 mos.

Lakeland Community College

2020: Lakeland Community College Virtual Internship Program (VIP) | 24 mos. | As the nature of work is changing to a more online environment—particularly in light of COVID-19—businesses have expressed a critical need for a workforce trained to function in a remote setting. This is especially important for community college students, many whose school and work schedules prohibit them from holding a typical internship. The first year of the VIP will primarily focus on developing the program’s framework and the institutional infrastructure, with the aim to offer internships to the first cohort of 15 students in 2021-2022.

2018: Develop and pilot a new experiential learning track in cybersecurity | 24 mos.

Notre Dame College (NDC)

2019: Notre Dame College Nonprofit Internship Program | 24 mos. |NDC’s Nonprofit Internship Program will provide real-world, hands-on learning opportunities for all low-income, first-generation, minority and learning-disabled students to help in starting, scaling, and/or sustaining local nonprofit organizations—and to develop the skills and professional networks students need to seamlessly transition from college to career. NDC plans to utilize Cleveland Leadership Center’s programming for students’ personal and professional development opportunities.

Ursuline College

2018: Collaborative initiative to increase the number of small- and mid-size companies offering internships and prepare internship sites to better serve underserved students | 24 mos.