Cooperative Education (Co-op)

Cooperative Education

Program Overview

This is a brief description of the Cooperative Education program at Western Area Career and Technology Center located in the Canonsburg area of Western Washington County.  We offer vocational education in partnership with 9 school districts.

By partnering with local employers to establish training/employment opportunities, this program is able to help students combine classroom learning with actual paid, work experience.  Under the Co-Op program, students are placed in an approved training site directly related to their vocational program of study.  They are released from Western Area to work up to 4 partial days per week and are required to return to the school one day a week, typically Friday.  It is important to note that our students attend on a half-day schedule.  Therefore, work availability is on a part-time basis unless modifications to the student’s high school schedule are permitted.

For employers, the Co-Op program can be used as a source of qualified job applicants as well as an opportunity to train potential full-time employees in their own environment.  The program is under the supervision of a Certified Cooperative Education Coordinator who monitors the student-learner’s work performance and progress. Employers are required to adhere to Federal and State employment regulations to participate in the program.  Additional employer requirements to establish a Co-Op opportunity include:

  • Adhere to federal and state regulations regarding employment and child labor laws
  • Obtainment of state and federal clearances for criminal history and child abuse history
  • Verification of workers compensation insurance
  • Verification of a payroll system

Cooperative Education Skills

Students accepted into the Co-Op program will have the opportunity to further their skills while working with employers. 

Those skills will include practical, social, professional, job interview, and academic skills. During the bi-weekly Co-op classes, the student will gain additional skills such as resume writing, how to complete employment applications, interviewing and public speaking skills, and professional communication.

Careers and Initiatives

  • Students will have the opportunity to participate in the Cooperative Education Program (Co-op) in their senior year providing they meet the following:  grades and attendance meet the Pennsylvania state standards, complete Cooperative Education application, and receive recommendations from both the sending high school and WACTC program instructor  
  • Discover the many career opportunities in the programs of study offered at Western Area CTC (WACTC). The Washington County area and beyond has many employment opportunities for each of our programs that students attend, while in school or after graduation.
  • Many employment opportunities for each of our programs exist both in the Washington County Area and its surrounding areas. 

Post-Secondary Training Options

Western Area Career & Technology Center is continually working to provide new articulation agreements for the students.

Formal articulation agreements providing advanced placement options are currently in place with: California University of Pennsylvania | Career Training Academy | Douglas Education Center | Penn Commercial, Inc. | Pittsburgh Technical College and more can be found under the Guidance Tab.