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February 29, 2016

African-American History Month Spotlight: MEIOP

The Minority Engineers Industrial Opportunity Program (MEIOP) at Case Western Reserve University began in the summer of 1973 with 12 students. The idea was proposed in the Spring by Ray Bolz, Dean of Engineering. The students worked for their industrial sponsors and their tuition was partially supported by corporate funding. The program was part of a national effort to increase minority participation in the engineering fields tenfold within a decade.

An official description of the program explained, “The Program includes intensive recruiting of talented minority students for a modified cooperative education approach with major industrial companies as sponsors; a continuing grant-in-aid to the students; special academic work at Case for high school juniors and seniors before they enroll at Case; academic supportive services while the students are at Case; and counseling.”

The purpose of the approach was to ensure the highest possible student success and guarantee them financial support during their undergraduate careers. Minorities in the engineering fields were defined as Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians. The program was also open to qualified minority transfer students.

B. Samuel Tanenbaum, Professor of Engineering, was the first MEIOP director, and Reginald A. Owens served as Recruiter/Counselor. Recruitment was mainly in Greater Cleveland high schools.

During the first few years, exposure to engineering started the summer between junior and senior years for high school students. They would attend a 7 week program at CWRU. In their senior year of high school they would attend Saturday classes in math and physics in order to meet the entrance requirements for CWRU and be prepared to succeed in engineering. In 1975 the Saturday sessions expanded to include preparation for the SAT and ACT exams. Students had to meet the same admission requirements as any applicant. After 2 years, the program had increased minority enrollment in engineering at CWRU fourfold. While at the university, MEIOP staff and faculty assisted students with career development and summer job placement. In 1981-1982 a new phase was added to the pre-college program. A one-week pre-college program was held for 9th and 10th graders to give early exposure to engineering , hands-on experience in laboratories and counseling.

Students working in engineering labs, July 1988

By Fall of 1974, 23 companies supported the program with job commitments or financial support including: Alcoa, Bailey Meter, Borg Warner, Chi Corporation, Dalton-Dalton-Little and Newport, Diamond Shamrock, Eastman-Kodak, Ford, General Electric, B.F. Goodrich, Gulf Oil, Industrial First, Lubrizol, Lincoln Electric, Ohio Bell, Republic Steel, Sherwin Williams, TRW, Turner Construction, U.S. Steel, Union Carbide, and Warner and Swasey. Some of these companies also granted unrestricted funds for the program. The John Huntington Fund for Education granted $15,000 for the first Summer School.

During the 1974-1975 academic year 27 undergraduate students participated in MEIOP. In the 1978-1979 year 40 undergraduate students participated. In 1982-1983, the tenth year, MEIOP enrollment was 74, or 5% of the engineering student body. Ninety-two percent were Black and 8% were Hispanic. The retention rate from 1981/1982 to 1982/1983 was 89%. (In 1972-1973 minority student enrollment in engineering was 16.)

The program continued to evolve over the last 40 years. Today MEIOP is part of the Office of Multicultural Affairs.

Records of the MEIOP program are available for use in the University Archives.

You can read past blog entries about African-American history at Case Western Reserve University from 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2011.

Posted by hxy2 at February 29, 2016 06:50 PM

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