NJCEIA Historical Overview

Planning for NJCEIA began in September 1973. In 1974, the NJCEIA Executive Council was elected and the Constitution was ratified.

Highlights of the first Presidency: Christopher Pratt, EdD “Being the first president was an honor and also allowed me to work with a number of the other founders to create the initial form and scope of the organization. Among other things I drafted the original bylaws, conducted research, provided training, published articles and other materials, and helped assess and maintain co-op programs in New Jersey. While at Seton Hall, I served as director of the federally funded Atlantic Cooperative Education Training & Resource Center for 13 years.”

Chris worked as part of a team effort to help the association gain recognition and respect for the concept of state and regional organizations in co-op both from within the field and outside the field. This was the biggest challenge the fledgling association faced.



  • Worked on building up membership, expanded and improved on the quality of professional programming, (i.e., workshops/training of our membership), and expanded the recognition of New Jersey’s cooperative education programs and initiatives, not only in NJ, but nationally as well.
  • Marked the heyday of the federal Title VIII Grants for Cooperative Education, and the officers and members of NJCEA worked diligently to assist the various colleges to form and grow their own cooperative education programs.

  • Worked very hard to educate college faculty, college administrators, and employers with regard to the viability of cooperative education as an educational program and the nature and significance of the partnership necessary (among students, faculty, and employers) to ensure that the potential benefits for all participants were maximized.

NJCEA Presidents

1974-1975 Dr. Christopher Pratt
1975-1976 Douglas Melegari
1976-1977 Wesley Daniels
1977-1978 Donald Roy
1978-1979 Dr. Maurice Hartley
1979-1980 Maxwell McDew Stevens


  • Established a committee structure and began a more formal approach to training and development of new members
  • Began to actively reach out to employers for membership

  • As a result of legislative work for NJCEA and working with the Title VIII grants, NJCEA became very active on the national scene which set the stage for others to participate. Specifically we were asked to give conference presentations, serve on national committees and become active in outreach to the larger education community:

  • First female president appointed in a predominately male organization

  • Member schools were busy promoting co-op programs with the administration at their schools to make them aware of NJCEA

  • The federal funding available at the time facilitated directors attending conferences and training programs all around the country; that certainly helped our programs develop and facilitated a feeling of being a part of a movement and profession.

  • Initiated state funding for co-op in New Jersey through Higher Education Chancellor and Department of Higher Education.

  • Governor Kean declared a statewide co-op day

  • Governor Kean laid groundwork to bring national co-op, CEA Association Conference to Atlantic City, NJ. That was the first and only time it was held in New Jersey.

  • In that year, cooperative education was included in the Department of Higher Education Report and meetings were held in Trenton to promote cooperative education and maintain visibility with legislators and the Department of Higher Education.

  • Networked with the employer members, training and political lobbying for funding from NJ.

NJCEA Presidents

1980-1981 Dr. Freyda C. Lazarus
1981-1982 Peter Gotlieb
1982-1983 Charles Edinger
1983-1984 Daniel McMahon
1984-1985 Dr. Jennifer Jones
1985-1986 Sarah Gage
1986-1987 Hollie Stephens
1987-1988 Dr. Dorothy Echols-Tobe
1988-1989 Carol Martin Rutgers
1989-1990 Carol Morrison


  • Improved communications, development of newsletter, consistent monthly meetings to bring people together more frequently
  • Initiation of the Student of the Year Award

  • Instituted a statewide ad campaign to publicize Co-op’s benefits to NJ employers and gained additional employer participation.

  • Reached out to state administrators for inclusion of Co-op in New Jersey in the National School-To-Work Opportunities Act of 1993

  • The listserv began during this time, as well as the website 

NJCEA Presidents

1990-1991 Al Foderaro
1991-1992 Kathleen Kennedy
1992-1993 Sue Zivi
1993-1994 Phyllis Roberts
1994-1995 Reesa Greenwald
1995-1996 Ray Ford
1996-1997 Greg Mass
1997-1998 Lee Melnik
1998-1999 Denise Schmidt
1999-2000 Phyllis Roberts



  • Broadened name to NJCEIA from NJCEA - Facilitating broader support for inclusion of Experiential Education Programs and Internships

  • Field of Cooperative Education was coming off of Title VIII funds, programs were being merged with other Career Centers and Experiential Education Programs; started seeing a decrease in employer participation; as well as in membership.

  • Continuation of moving the board forward and keeping the focus positive while overcoming the challenges of shrinking budgets, programming ideas

  • Worked diligently to expand representation within the organization to include more community colleges, four year colleges and universities particularly those located in the southern part of the state.

  • As with almost every presidency, the biggest challenge was coming up with programming that appealed to all constituents within NJCEIA. The challenge was to appeal to the professionals within the organization for 15+ years; but attract professionals new to the field.

  • Most recently, success has come in new ideas for programming, some not always widely accepted!; new faces on the executive board that brought a fresh perspective to an organization that is very structured and set in tradition; an energy that is infectious; exciting programming grounded in and focused on the Millennial generation.

NJCEIA Presidents

2000-2001 Jacquline Chaffin
2001-2002 Peggy Cohen
2002-2003 Peggy Cohen & Reesa Greenwald
2003-2004 Elaine Russo
2004-2005 Theresa Orosz
2005-2006 Sondra E. B. Riley
2006-2007 Victoria Nauta
2007-2008 Amy Bravo

The sentiment now as in the past is to see more students participating in experiential learning and understanding its value as it relates to their professional growth. The hope still is that more employers become active partners in this potential training ground for future employees. Our global society dictates awareness, exposure, and experience in an ever changing corporate culture.

2015 New Jersey Cooperative Education & Internship Association

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