How Co-ops Help Young People Start Their Careers

Young People Start Their Careers

At High, a strategic focus is to promote rational career exploration for students, parents, and teachers. Co-op programs offer a way for junior and senior high school students to define their futures and transition to full-time employment after graduation.

High school trade co-ops help students plan careers

Co-ops are partnerships between high schools and local employers that offer students an opportunity to explore trade careers by sampling work-life while earning high school credit. The programs raise awareness of skills that are in demand and point students toward meaningful work that offers the opportunity for growth with established companies that are in their home geography.

A fast track to the rewards of work

Higher paying jobs at High typically require particular skills, many of them technical or trade-in nature, that require two-year degrees or special certification programs. Students who take advantage of co-ops are frequently those who are interested in getting their careers started with minimal debt. This positions them to begin earning, saving, and enjoying the things of life that matter to them.

In co-ops, students learn to work within a team and to be accountable to themselves and to others. They learn that career opportunities are earned and not given and come to see themselves as a part of something much bigger than themselves. In High-sponsored co-ops, for example, students who help to create beautiful buildings, bridges, and other structures earn for themselves a sense of pride and permanence.

What’s in it for employers

For years, an emphasis on pursuing four-year degrees in the hopes of securing high-paying jobs shifted students away from trade careers. This trend led to a dearth of qualified applicants for jobs that are in demand, many of which required advanced skills. As technology has advanced, so have these jobs evolved. Trade careers today are a long way from what they may have been perceived to be in the past.

Employers work to make sure that educational programs align with their needs. Graduates of these programs who become employees help to sustain these businesses and, as productive members of the local workforce, they also strengthen communities.

Parents and students who are interested in co-op programs sponsored by High can learn more from these partner schools:

Cocalico High School
Garden Spot High School
Lancaster County Career & Technical Center