Retraining Program for Immigrant Engineers


The 2021 RPIE Fall term application will be available soon.

The Cooper Union Retraining Program for Immigrant Engineers (RPIE) is a free three-month program that supports immigrant and refugee engineers and those in related fields as they gain the tools, confidence, and community they need to succeed in building the career they want.

All classes are free. This term, all classes are held online using the platforms currently used in the industry sector and are taught by experienced professionals. Courses are held in the Fall and Spring semesters.

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About the RPIE

The RPIE program is designed to enhance the professional skills of participating immigrant engineers and scientists to prepare them for careers in New York City’s engineering workforce. Participants engage in technical coursework to advance digital skills and their engineering knowledge, two crucial components in the competitive NYC workforce. A communications and culture curriculum develops the job search and workforce writing, presentation and collaboration skills. The curriculum also helps program participants to identify their professional strengths and develop highly professional job materials as well as confidence in the interview process. We offer professional development workshops, panels, and networking opportunities to provide participants an understanding of New York City’s engineering labor market and the emerging opportunities and trends. The engineering faculty and communications teams work together to support RPIE participants’ success in their job search.

RPIE has two primary components: Technical courses in areas like structure & buildings, environmental engineering, data science, transportation, cybersecurity, and coding to help engineers keep up with the changing field; and a Communications and Culture curriculum designed to help engineers develop and practice the English language skills they need in both their job search and professional life. Increasingly, the engineering profession requires an ability to work in teams, collaborate to solve problems, or build-out project plans. We seek to prepare program participants for these workplace demands!

Finally, the program brings participants together as a supportive community and helps them to establish a professional engineering network.

Eligible participants include immigrants who were trained as engineers or technologists in their home countries, but find themselves unemployed, underemployed, or in positions unrelated to their degrees or training.

Participants benefit from:

  1. Coursework in emerging and established engineering and technology fields such as OSHA, Green Building, HVAC, Building Systems, Cost Estimating, AISC Steel, ACI Concrete, AutoCAD, Revit, Java, C#, Linux, SQA, SQL, and Cybersecurity.
  2. Workshops and one-on-one support for developing job application materials like resumes, cover letters, and portfolios
  3. Preparation for job interviews and establishing a professional presence online
  4. Practice working with digital tools for collaboration and presentations
  5. Professional networking opportunities
  6. Panel discussions with leaders in engineering and technology
  7. Personalized job placement support

Participation in RPIE does not impact immigration status.

The Fall 2021 program course blocks can be viewed here.  

Course List and Schedule for Spring 2021 term are available here.

Applying to The Cooper Union Retraining Program for Immigrant Engineers

Please complete the online application and provide: a digital image file of your university or college degree, a current resume, and proof of U.S. work authorization – for example, your EAD or Green Card.

The Cooper Union Retraining Program for Immigrant Engineers will not share these details with ANY other organization.

Download the RPIE PDF Flyer.

Program History

In 1987, Bnai Zion initiated a program under its Scientists Division to help scientists and engineers who immigrated to the United States from the former Soviet Union to find jobs. At first, classes were given at the Bnai Zion House, but the number of students soon outgrew the space. In 1991, Bnai Zion formed a partnership with Cooper Union to run the program on a larger scale. In 2015 the program moved entirely to The Cooper Union. In 2016 a partnership was formed with the Workforce Development Department at CAMBA and now serves over 225 students a year. For more about the past, present, and future of the program see,  A Foundational Commitment Continues.

About The Cooper Union

Committed to enhancing the lives of the immigrants and citizens of the Lower East Side, Peter Cooper, self-made inventor, and industrialist, established The Cooper Union in 1859. Through its three top-ranked schools - the School of Art, The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture, and the Albert Nerken School of Engineering - The Cooper Union has built an international reputation for excellence and innovative approaches to education.

The Albert Nerken School of Engineering is routinely cited among top ten undergraduate schools of engineering in America by U.S. News & World Report. The school offers bachelor's and master's degrees in chemical, civil, mechanical, and electrical engineering.

Our Sponsors

The Cooper Union Retraining Program for Immigrant Engineers is made possible through generous donations from the Robin Hood Foundation and Con Edison. The Cooper Union Retraining Program for Immigrant Engineers would also like to thank our individual donors for their support.

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  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.