3 University of Waterloo co-op student working at St. Joseph's Hospital

The Work-Learn Institute (WxL) is the only institute in the world dedicated to research on co-operative education and other forms of work-integrated learning. WxL is a living lab based on decades of future-proven experience as leaders in work-integrated learning.

Goal: Advance research for global impact

Illustration of a checkboxQuality standards

The Work-Learn Institute (WxL) establishes quality standards for meaningful, high-quality co-operative education and work-integrated learning programs.

Illustration of a magnifying glass over a documentResearch

Waterloo has the largest co-operative education program in the world, giving WxL access to the largest dataset of student and employer data to study the future of work.

Illustration of a light bulbInnovation

WxL is an incubator for WIL innovation, testing new models and ideas to continue to evolve the practice of co-op and work-integrated learning to meet the changing demands of the labour market.

Our Work-Learn Institute conducts, facilitates, and shares the results of research into co-operative education and work-integrated learning using data from one of the world’s largest databases of student talent and a network of over 7,000 employers globally. The research reveals insight and is applied throughout CEE’s programming to ensure relevance to the future world of work and the information needs of policy-makers and government.


We also tap into our vast co-operative education recruitment database to discover how we should evolve. We share our research with: 

  • our faculty partners to integrate our learnings with the academic curriculum,
  • our colleagues across CEE to improve our career and professional development programs for students,
  • our employers to enable them to manage the entire talent pipeline through resources in our supervisor’s toolkit, and
  • the global WIL community.

What makes us unique:

Illustration of a group of peopleWaterloo has one of the largest talent databases in the world of students ages 17 to 22.

The database stores millions of job descriptions and employer profiles, millions of job applications and applicant profiles and millions of interactions between employers and students.

Illustration of researchOur research and analysis

Our research and data teams tap into this deep data and derive insight based on behaviours, trends and predictive analysis.


  • Develop signature longitudinal research programs that investigate outcomes for our students and our alumni
  • Equip our employers with insight from our data and resources to enhance their ability to attract and manage the talent of the future
  • Reach new audiences (e.g. government, employers, community partners) with new strategies of knowledge mobilization
  • Respond to WIL-related research interests and needs as CEE and the University embark on the five-year strategic plan
  • Develop an international visiting scholar program
  • Engage in research collaboration with international partners

"Academic institutions can benefit tremendously through strong relationships with industry and community partners. Not only can those relationships lead to high quality co-op or work-integrated learning experiences for students, but also provide insight on the evolving realities of work so that academic institutions can equip learners with what they need to be successful."

Dr. Judene Pretti, Director, Work-Learn Institute.