At the Beaver County CTC, learning is not confined to the four walls of a classroom. Through a program called Work-based Learning, students have the chance to learn firsthand about various jobs and careers. The program includes three components: Cooperative Education, Job Shadowing, and Clinical Experience. Each of these opportunities enables students to learn about work environments and job responsibilities.
Cooperative education, or co-op, is a unique plan of education that integrates classroom learning with related supervised work experience. Eligibility to participate in co-op is determined by meeting the criteria based on grades, attendance, and a recommendation from the Beaver County CTC instructor.
Students benefit from participation in cooperative education by getting a head start on their careers while they are still enrolled in school. Supported and guided by their instructor and the co-op coordinator, students work in approved training sites and earn a fair wage for their efforts. They apply the skills and knowledge they have learned at the Beaver County CTC to actual job responsibilities, and at the same time, develop important interpersonal skills, teamwork strategies, and work ethics that are necessary for success in the workplace. Co-op bridges the gap between education and the world of work.
Employers also benefit from their participation in cooperative education. The program allows local companies to hire students with good technical skills who can then be molded to meet the current demands of the industry. Although many students become permanent employees after graduation, employers are not obligated to retain students for any reason.
Ongoing communication is encouraged among all participants throughout the process to ensure the success of each student’s experience. The employer works with the co-op coordinator to provide feedback regarding the student’s progress. Credit toward a high school diploma is earned for satisfactory work experience, and grades are assigned based on the employer’s evaluation and the student’s performance at the Beaver County CTC.
Clinical experience is available to students enrolled in the Health Occupations program. Intended to provide valuable on-the-job training and insights, clinical experience takes students into the workplace for a period of time, during which they become involved in day-to-day operations and job functions. Clinical experience allows students to be exposed to the particular fields they are considering.
Job shadowing is a short-term experience during which students accompany workers as they go about their day performing duties in their everyday work environment. Students benefit from seeing work as it is performed in actual employment situations and enjoy learning firsthand from adults who have careers in fields that interest them. The program is designed to give students a better understanding of the career and what is needed to help them in their decision-making process.