COOPERATIVE EDUCATION

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Cooperative education is a method of instruction where technical classroom instruction is combined with paid employment that is directly related to the classroom instruction. The two experiences must be planned and supervised by the school and the employer so that each contributes to the student's career objective/major and employability. Written cooperative agreements showing the instruction to be provided are developed by the school and employer providing the training. School credit is received for both the on-the-job training and the classroom components.


RATIONALE FOR COOPERATIVE EDUCATION

The purpose of cooperative education is the development of occupational competence reinforced by a job training experience. The cooperative method of instruction provides students enrolled in career and technical courses an opportunity to extend their employment preparation beyond the classroom. When students have career objectives that are specific and definite, they can often prepare themselves better for the workplace by being in the workplace.

Frequently schools find that they cannot afford to continuously equip and update labs with state-of-the-art equipment. Schools can build partnerships with local employers to offer training that is specifically designed for a given student using state-of-the-art equipment and requiring the student to perform up to industry standards as they meet the needs of clients on a daily basis.

Critical to the philosophy of the cooperative method is that students must have classroom instruction and on-the-job training directly related to one another. Both the school and businesses assume responsibility for helping a student attain competencies required for a course that utilizes the cooperative method. The school provides related technical instruction in the classroom, and the on-the-job training is provided at the job site. The two experiences must be planned and supervised by the school and employers so that each contributes to the student's education and to his or her employability. Work periods and school attendance is planned on alternate half days, full days, weeks, or other periods of time in fulfilling the cooperative program.


COURSE NUMBERS AND CREDIT

A fifth digit of "6" in the course number indicates that the course is being taught using the Cooperative Education method.

The two credits for the classroom instruction and the jobsite work must be taken within the same academic year. Both parts must be completed before a grade can be assigned.


REQUIREMENTS

CTED-003 State School Board Policy for Academic Credit for Work-based Learning.
This document outlines the number of work hours that are required to receive credit.

Connecting Activities

Coordinator File Management

Student File Management


DOCUMENTS AND FORMS

Contact Record
The Contact Record lists all contacts made with the training station regarding that student. This helps to document the use of coordination time. Coordinators should keep a Contact Record in the coordinator’s notebook as a reference prior to making coordination visits. It is also a good idea to keep notes on individual employers or training stations that may be helpful in the future.

Cumulative Wage and Hour Record
Cooperative education students should use this form monthly to record their wages and hours worked at their training site. Students should be required to update the form each month, prior to turning in wage and hour report. This will help to monitor progress on completing the required hours.

Looking for a Job
These are forms to be used by students to document job search activities while unemployed. Instructors should monitor student progress in getting a job, document removal from the program if necessary, and finally, file all job search forms in a safe place.

Orientation to the Workplace
Students need to be oriented to the workplace. The orientation can help students understand the differences between the workplace and school. In addition the orientation can help students make a good first impression with an employer.

  • Orientation to the Workplace
    (doc, 29kb)
  • Sample interview form for students to use to interview an employer
    (doc, 30kb)

Placement Report
The placement report is a form that may be required by your LEA to document student placement. Use the contact record to help in completing the report and complete it when requested by your LEA (usually in mid-October)

  • Placement Report
    (doc, 46kb)
  • Internship Worksite Confirmation Notice - shared by the Catawba Technology Education Consortium, Catawba County, North Carolina.
    (doc, 25kb)

Request for a Job Change
This form should be completed by a student who wants to change a job. Coordinators should make sure that students are aware that the form must be completed and approved prior to giving notice at current job. The form also may be used in discussions with students and/or parents about a potential job change.

Student Wage and Hour Record
A student wage and hour record documents the hours worked and wages earned on a monthly basis. Students should be required to complete a form on a monthly basis and maintain a running total of wages and hours throughout the year. Coordinators should file completed wage and hour records in a secure place at schools.

Tips to ensure that wage and hour records are completed by students:

  1. Set a due date for the wage and hour form. Suggested date is no later than the 5th of each month.
  2. Give a grade for completing the wage and hour form.
  3. Verify continued student employment by employer signature on Wage and Hour Record, or by periodically checking students' pay stubs.
  4. Simplify your job by maintaining wage and hour totals using a spreadsheet or database program.

Training Agreements/Parent Permissions
Training agreements outline the rules and responsibilities of students, parents, employers, teacher-coordinators and school administration. Coordinators should obtain signatures of all parties involved in cooperative education before the end-of -schedule change period. In addition, students should be required to obtain signatures of parents and employers to ensure that all parties are aware of their involvement in the program. Once all signatures have been obtained, students and employers should receive a signed copy and a signed copy should be kept on file at a student’s school.

  • Parental Permission Agreement - shared by the Job Ready Work Based Learning Guide
    (doc, 34kb)
  • Cooperative Education Training Agreement
    (doc, 34kb)
  • Apprenticeship Training Agreement - shared by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
    (pdf, 440kb)

Training Needed Before Working
Certification from the employer that the student has received certain training prior to beginning a work program. Coordinators should talk to the employer to find out what training is necessary and ensure that a student is prepared for work.

  • Verification of Safety Training shared from the Southern Regional Education Board.
    (doc, 23kb)

Training Plans
Training plans provide a list of competencies that a student is expected to demonstrate (learn) while in the workplace. Connecting activities may be used to create a training plan. Coordinators should follow the process outlined below when creating training plans for students:

  1. Obtain samples from local school district for your subject area.
  2. Develop a plan for each student.
  3. Discuss with employer, make necessary adjustments and obtain signature.
  4. Discuss with student and obtain signature.
  5. At end of grading period, have employer review plan, evaluate student, and update plan for next grading period.
  • Work-Based Learner's Personal Goals -shared from McHenry County, South Carolina
    (doc, 23kb)
  • Work-Based Learning - Educational Plan and Progress Report - shared from the South Carolina Department of Education.
    (doc, 48kb)
  • Project at Job Site - shared by the Southern Regional Education Board.
    (doc, 23kb)