Essex Tech Provides Real Work Experience for Students Through Cooperative Education Program

DANVERS — The Cooperative Education Program at Essex North Shore Agricultural & Technical School gives students the opportunity to test drive potential careers and earn real-world experience.

Through either internships or work cooperatives, the program places students with different employers throughout the community to give them real world experience and show the what it’s like to work there.

Essex Tech Superintendent Heidi Riccio said the program is just one of many the school is recognizing and celebrating over the course of February for National Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month.

For many students, the experience plays a significant part in their lives.

“I was not 100 percent sure the pathway I wanted to take after high school and how I was going to get there but with the help of my work and getting some hands-on experience it has helped guide me the right way,” said Devin Kim, of Marblehead, a senior cosmetology student working at RN Esthetics in Lynnfield.

“Co-op for me has been very inspiring,” said Trevor Tarr, of Wenham, a senior health assisting student working at New England Home for the Deaf in Danvers. “Working with a population that requires me to learn a new language is both challenging and rewarding.”

Students are able to meet and network with potential future employers while making a positive impact on the business through their work.

“Not only have the co-op students fulfilled a void with our labor needs; they have proven to have a positive, lasting impact with permanent, future placements enabling Mayer Tree Service to help grow our business,” said David Duchemin, operations manager at Mayer Tree Service said.

“We are thankful to be part of Essex Tech’s co-op plumbing program,” said Jeff Beane, Vice President at Breen and Sullivan Mechanical Services. “It’s pretty obvious that a strong base is being built by the Essex Tech staff.”

The program is open for juniors and seniors at Essex Tech. Currently, there are 150 seniors and 35 juniors who take part in the program.

Students are placed with businesses like GE Aviation, Mercedes of Beverly, Jaguar and Land Rover of Peabody, Mini of Peabody and the Massachusetts Audubon Society.

Placement can last anywhere from a few months for internships to a over a year for co-ops.

“It gives them the opportunity to figure out if this is a field they want to work in. It just opens their eyes to the possible career paths they can choose that they would have never been able to know about or experience,” Cooperative Education Coordinator Lisa Berube said.

“I’m incredibly proud of all the students here at Essex Tech and their ability to implement what they learn in the classroom in the real world,” Superintendent Riccio said. “We love being able to offer students these opportunities and are grateful for the businesses that partner with us to give students a leg-up when they enter the workforce.”