Work-based Learning: 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 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.