Cooperative Education for Employers

Cooperative Education is a term for an educational partnership between a Tech Center such as PAHCC, and an employer in the community.  In Coop settings, employers can start the process of attracting high-quality recruits to their businesses, and students can learn valuable information and habits for success in post-secondary education or the workplace.  Cooperative education generally falls into one of three types:

  • Job Shadows are short visits (usually two to eight hours) to a company in the career sector a student is interested in.  It’s a chance to explore various aspects of a career path as well as to explore actual companies in our area.  Many times job shadows lead to other work-based learning opportunities.
  • Career Work Experience, or CWE, is a term for a longer unpaid internship where a student gets a more in-depth look at a company while beginning to perform some of the tasks and apply skills learned in the classroom.  Although a student is beginning to perform work, these are intended to be educational placements and a student cannot be placed in a Career Work Experience for more than 30 hours.  The school Coop Coordinator will work with the employer to develop a training plan for the skills that the student will be learning.  School insurance coverage applies to students in internships or job shadows.
  • Cooperative Work Experience, or “Coop”, can be as short as a week or two, or as long as a semester  in which a student learns and earns high school credit while a paid employee of your company. Coop students often go right into full time employment at the company they are working for after graduating high school, or may return to work for the company after completing college or post-secondary training.  Coop employers are responsible for complying with all Federal and State employment laws, including workman’s compensation insurance coverage.

All forms of Cooperative Education are supervised by the P. A. Hannaford Career Center Cooperative Education Coordinator, or Coop Coordinator for short.  This person is required to hold a Vermont Educator’s license as a Work-based Learning Coordinator and receive training in the legal, professional, organizational, and educational foundations for coordinating successful Coop placements.  The Coop Coordinator currently is Len Schmidt, and he can be reached at 802-382-1005 or

If you would like someone to contact you about a possible Cooperative Education placement with your organization, please click here.