Jeff Lareau, Co-op Coordinator x3450
The Cooperative Work Employment program at Smith Vocational functions within the scheduled program of instruction at the school. Students who qualify can participate in the cooperative work program during their shop week, alternating a week of employment with a week in academic classes. Co-op students earn wages while gaining valuable work experience. Offered to juniors and seniors, the cooperative work experience can serve as a reward to students who excel in both shop and academics and demonstrate a positive attitude in attendance and behavior. Cooperative work experience can also serve as an incentive tool to initiate within the students a desire to achieve a good scholastic average, show the value of good attendance, and demonstrate the benefits of good citizenship in both school and industry. Employment experience is matched as closely as possible to the needs of each student.
The Cooperative Work program serves a variety of purposes:
1. Augmenting the school curriculum in increasing the skill level of the student.
2. Providing additional social advancement in a work-place atmosphere.
3. Providing a wider variety of trade experiences than are available in the student's chosen shop.
4. Providing a different instructional atmosphere than is available in the traditional school shop program.
The cooperative work opportunity originates in each department where the student's eligibility and suitability will be determined based on grades, attendance, and a recommendation from the instructor. The final decision for co-op will be based on a composite picture of the recommendation of the instructor, Guidance Counselor, Administrator, and the Cooperative Placement Coordinator. Employers evaluate students and file reports that result in grades earned by students in their technical specialty. During past years the majority of our seniors were placed in cooperative employment positions prior to graduation.
The Guidance Counselor and the Co-op Coordinator work with our cooperative employers to evaluate students. The evaluation uses Work-based Learning Plans to ensure that we are preparing students for the full range of skills needed in 21st century workplaces.
"One of my favorite things about Smith School is the Co-op program because I can make money and get experience while earning credits toward graduation."