New co-op program helps Dayton firms gauge ‘next generation of business leaders’

Stratacache and Boom Crate Studios both have graduates of The Modern College of Design in Kettering working full-time jobs at their Dayton offices.

So each business had an idea what was coming when they agreed to partner with the college in its new co-op program, which launched this semester.

“The Modern has a great program for young creatives, and our experience with internships, externships, and hiring has been top-notch,” Boom Crate Owner and Creative Director Kelly Mercer, who has four MCOD grads as employees, said in an email.



Stratacache, Boom Crate, the University of Dayton Athletic Department and the Better Business Bureau are among 11 businesses taking part in the new program, a final requirement to earn a bachelor’s degree from the school, said Jessica Barry, president of The Modern.

Co-op students are required to work 420 hours with the businesses. The college has long offered an associate degree in design and internships requiring 135 hours in the workforce, Barry said.

The bachelor’s degree in design leadership started being offered about two years ago and this is the first semester in which students in the four-year program were ready for the co-op course, Barry said.

The goal is “for students to go out and start applying the knowledge they have learned in the bachelor’s program, specifically in the area of leadership,” she said.

ExploreWEATHER: Dayton area braces for bitter cold snap this weekend after snow blankets region

“Because it is a design leadership degree, we’re hoping that they get the opportunity to either lead a small team or be part of a team where they can have some leadership responsibilities where they are directing other junior designers or graphic designers,” Barry added.

For Angelica Weimer, who started at Stratacache earlier this month, her time is expected to be spent in various ways, said John Morrett, manager of programs in Dayton.

The plan is to “have her in a dual or a hybrid role…she works in a marketing-type position for branding and a lot of web-type work that we need,” he said.

“But we’re also going to work her in to our client services side of things where we develop customized solutions for actual end clients in the use of our software,” Morrett added.

ExplorePOPULAR: Fitness business opens second Ohio franchise in Centerville

At the BBB, student Kelsie Winans will create logos for its Women in Business Networking program as well as promotional and design elements for the 2021 Eclipse Integrity Awards, according to Sheri Sword, vice president of communications for the organization.

“The Modern students are an integral part of the BBB team,” she said in an email.

“We don’t have a graphic designer on staff so these students help take our publications, promotional materials…to the next level in regards to a professional look,” Sword added. “They help us understand what this next generation of business leaders are doing, expecting and desiring. They help us keep our organization relevant.”

The co-op program helps Stratacache gauge what to expect from potential employees fresh out of college, Morrett said.

ExploreEDUCATON: Kettering schools treasurer says if finances don’t improve he would recommend new tax levy

“What it does for us more than anything is it gives us visibility into how a student has been educated or trained — what their skills sets are after they come out,” he said.

“So we don’t have expectations set to high. But we also don’t have them too low,” Morrett said. “And it gives us a chance to understand the market here in Dayton, what’s available and what we can expect from a program.”


The Modern College of Design in Kettering has started a co-op program involving several businesses and organizations. They include:

•Better Business Bureau, Dayton.

•Boom Crate Studios, Dayton.

•Dragonfly, Dayton.

•Erica Fit Love Studios, Dayton.

•Jafe Decorating Inc., Greenville.

•Life Church, Oklahoma City.

•Olberding Brands, Cincinnati.

•Stratacache, Dayton.

•Theta Design Co., Dayton.

•University of Dayton Athletics, Dayton.

•YSI, a Xylem Brand, Yellow Springs.

SOURCE: The Modern College of Design.

About the Author