UWM, Foxconn Technology Group 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, preparing them to help launch Foxconn’s new facility in Wisconsin, which will be the first of its kind outside of Asia. LCD panels are used in a variety of high-tech consumer electronics products, such as smartphones.
“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 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.”
The first five interns will be selected this fall and spend time working in a Mount Pleasant complex leased by Foxconn before going overseas in February. They will take classes in culture and language at CYCU, meet with Foxconn employees and work on applied research projects in preparation for their upcoming co-op. They will continue work on their research projects at one of Foxconn’s facilities in Taiwan through June 2019.
The Foxconn co-op program eventually could be expanded to other colleges and universities in Wisconsin and the Midwest.
“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 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.”
The co-op program builds on 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.
“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,” Dean Brett Peters said. “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. The first two students in that program have been hired by Rockwell, and two more are participating in the internship this summer.