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Co-Op Partner ZF Lemforder Receives State Award

ZF Lemforder in Newton recently received the North Carolina Cooperative Education Association’s Outstanding Employer Award.
Nominated by Catawba Valley Community College, ZF Lemforder has partnered with the college for more than eight years providing relevant work-based learning opportunities for students while completing a degree. The company employs a number of cooperative education students pursuing an associate degree in a wide variety of areas, including Mechanical Engineering Technology, Industrial Engineering Technology, Accounting, Business Administration, and other technical programs.

ZF Lemforder compensates cooperative work students so the students are able to earn income while completing a degree. Most students obtain employment with the company after graduation.

Susanne Swinnie, Human Resource Director for ZF Lemforder, actively promotes work-based learning to other businesses. She champions the CVCC Cooperative Work Program and supports a strong and successful learning environment for students.

“The co-op program has been very successful for ZF,” said Swinnie. “A high percentage of co-op students have been hired as full-time employees. I would highly recommend it to any employer as the students bring a new perspective, energy and talent to the organization. The biggest student benefit is the experiential learning they cannot gain in a classroom.  The biggest benefit to the company is the ability to assign students projects that free up staff resources for other areas.”

ZF Lemforder also supports STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education by participating in plant tours for all Catawba County eighth graders during Education Matters’ STEM Tours. The tours help students learn more about STEM careers they can pursue in the area how CVCC can provide necessary training.

NCCEA is composed of higher education professionals at two- and four-year institutions who help students integrate education with real-life work experience.

CVCC’s Cooperative Education Program, coordinated by Jean Lane, provides work-based learning opportunities for approximately 150 students per year. A high percentage of those students obtain full-time employment after graduation with their co-op employer. For more information, contact Lane at CVCC, 828-327-7000, ext. 4812,

Pictured are Suzanne Swinnie (left), ZF Lemforder Human Resource Director; and Jean Lane, CVCC Cooperative Education Program Coordinator.


2550 US HIGHWAY 70 SE • HICKORY, NC • 28602-8302 • 828.327.7000
Updated 10.30.2008: Administrator