Putting Education to Work!
At Steel Center we believe that continuous exposure to actual work environments is imperative to the career planning and development process. Therefore, a number of work-based learning(WBL) options are available to students. Some activities are integral to the training program while others are developed based on a student's interests, preparedness, and eligibility.
Cooperative Education, commonly known as "CO-OP", is a unique plan of education that combines classroom instruction with on-the-job training. By partnering with local employers, paid employment opportunities are established for students. They are placed in these approved training sites when the job directly relates to their career-technical program. Students are required to attend Steel Center on a regularly scheduled basis to continue related instruction and participate in school activities. The program is under the supervision of a certified Cooperative Education Coordinator who monitors students' progress and evaluates work performance through work-site visits and grading reports.
Objectives and Benefits of Cooperative Education:
For the Student:
- Learning experience under real working conditions
- Gaining actual work experience in occupational area for which the student is being trained
- Building self-concept and good work habits such as punctuality, appearance, reliability and responsibility
- Stimulates interest in classroom work
- Encourages student to remain in the community and become a participating citizen
- Paid employment and possible future placement
For the Employer:
- Source of qualified, mature employees available for part-time employment
- Opportunity to train potential full-time employees in their own environment
- Receive more direct return for tax dollars
- Opportunity to take an active part in a community service
- Opportunity to provide input on course content of Career and Technical programs
For the School:
- More realistic training facilities
- Better curriculum focused toward actual employer needs
- Training and direction by actual practitioner in the field to supplement classroom instructions
- Promote cooperation between the community and the school
Internship (unpaid) - A work-based learning experience in which a student makes scheduled visits to an approved work-site to learn about a particular industry or occupation. Under the supervision of a work-site mentor(s), the student learns about a profession(s) through observation, personal discussion and hands-on applications. The length of an actual internship is limited to no more than 120 hours per placement. A training agreement must be developed with the host and approved before student placement.
Objectives and Benefits of an Internship
- Learn in a “real-life” environment.
- Acquire new techniques or use equipment not available in the classroom to enhance knowledge and skills.
- Supervised instruction and practice as transition to independent employment.
- Develop resources in the community
- Make informed decisions about careers and training options.
- Network with career professionals.
Job Shadowing provides students with the opportunity to visit a career professional during a “typical workday” to experience the work involved in a potential career area. Visiting a work site allows students to get a well-rounded view of a profession through observation and personal discussion. Job Shadowing is a non-paid experience and actual hands-on activities are limited.
Objectives and Benefits of Job Shadowing for Students:
- Experience a real work setting.
- Observe new techniques or equipment not available at the technical school.
- Learn about career options.
- Develop communication skills with professionals.
- Acquire resources in the community.
- Opportunity to gain a Certificate of Participation for student portfolio.
- Provides the program with updated information and professional input from the business community.
- Develop presentation skills.
Becoming a CO-OP Training Site
Pennsylvania requires that companies entering into co-op or internship agreements have one adult in the workplace (with volunteer clearances) who will be designated as the supervisor of the student (clearances are needed if the student learner is a minor; no clearances are required for those supervisors working with students at or over age 18).
The designated supervisor shall be the one responsible for the student's welfare while at work. This supervisor must be in the "immediate vicinity" (an area in which he/she is physically present with the student and can see, hear, direct and assess the activities of the student) at regular intervals with the student.
Clearances are in effect for 60 months (5 years). The designated supervisor must have the following clearances:
Act 114: Federal Criminal History Record (Fingerprinting)
Act 34: Pennsylvania State Criminal Record Check
Act 151: Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance
Act 24: Arrest/Conviction Report and Certification Form (only if clearances were previously acquired)