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Cooperative Education

What is Cooperative Education?

The Cooperative Education Program is an opportunity for students to extend their shop learning experiences into the world of work, whereby the student is placed into a paid position during the shop week.

While some employers may contact FCTS with employment opportunities, generally the student in conjunction with the Co-op Coordinator is responsible for locating an employment opportunity. The Cooperative Education Program partners with over 70 employers in Franklin, Hampshire and Hampden counties.

Going To Work

If you are planning to go to work directly after leaving the Tech School, it is not too early to start the process. You should talk with your technical program teacher to determine if a Co-op placement is a possibility for you. That would be an excellent first step to obtaining employment after graduation. Check the information below to get your resume together, line up your references and get the word out that you are looking for work.

Requirements for Co-op

A student may become eligible for a Co-op position by meeting the criteria listed below.

  1. Have a minimum of two full years in their shop.
  2. Be recommended by their shop instructor.
  3. Have a C average or higher in every course.
  4. Have a minimum of 90% attendance in all academic classes and in their vocational program.

In addition, before a student can begin their job, they must have all vocational portfolio requirements and paperwork submitted and accepted.

A student may become eligible for Co-op after the first trimester progress reports of the senior year if they exceed the minimum academic requirements described in #2 above. To qualify a student must have achieved a B or better as a final grade in every course in their Junior year and a B or better in all courses at the first trimester progress report of the senior year. All other criteria listed above must also be met.


Networking simply means taking advantage of the opportunities and connections that you have, and getting the word out.

Let people know that you are looking for a job, and what kind. Talk to the people you know such as parents, relatives, friends and teachers. Look for jobs that are posted or advertised. Word of mouth is a very important source of employment opportunities.

Do not be proud. Many people looking for their first job are reluctant to ask for help or to follow up on leads they get through a family member or friend, because they want to "make it on their own". This is not advisable. Getting your first real job is not easy most of the time, so take advantage of any help you can get. You will have plenty of time after you have some experience, to get a job on your own.

Sit down and make a list of people that you know who may be helpful in finding the kind of job that you want. Then take you list and network: Get the word out and then follow up by checking in with these people to see if they have any leads.

Take the time to write a thank you note to the people who help you. They will be pleasantly surprised when you do, and since we never know what life may bring in the future, you may need their help again.


A resume is an opportunity to give a prospective employer information about you, in writing, so that when you are not there and an employer is making a hiring decision, you and your skills are not forgotten.

Many jobs that you will apply for when you look for your first job will not ask for a resume, but having one (if it is well written), will make you stand out from other applicants. The key is for it to be well-written and error free. You may want to ask you English teacher to read it over before you take it out on a job interview.

What should be on your resume? You should include your name, address, and telephone number where you can be reached. Include your educational background, any specialized training that you have received, and any certifications and licenses that you may have earned (CPR, for example). List your previous employment, including any part-time jobs that you have held during school (which can include yard work, baby sitting, or other independent work that you performed on a regular basis).

Check your spelling! Make sure that peoples names are spelled correctly. Make sure the names of where you worked are spelled correctly. Figure out the dates that you were employed and list them. Ask someone to read over your resume before you take it with you on a job interview. And take two copies with you whenever you go on an interview: One to leave with the employer, and one to use when you are filling out the employment application. Use your copy to copy names and dates onto the application.

Approaching References

Whether you are applying for a job or applying to go on to further training, in college or a technical school, the choice of references is very important. Following are some considerations to keep in mind when choosing a reference:

  • Suitability - what are you applying for? If it is a job, then your shop teacher and previous employers should be the first people that you consider. If you have not had a job, consider people who you have baby sat for, mowed lawns for etc. What you are looking for are people who can attest to your work habits. If it is further education that you are applying for, a current teacher is essential. Teachers that you have had in the past are also good choices, as long as you did not have them too far in the past. Your first grade teacher probably will not help you much.
  • Permission - Never give out someone's name as a reference unless you have asked that person if it is ok with them that you do so. This is both a courtesy to them and protection for you. There may be reasons why a person feels that they can not give you a favorable reference, and you want to know this before you write their name on an application.
  • Quality Control - You want a well written, timely written, favorable reference. There a many wonderful people who do not write well, or have trouble meeting a schedule. You will not be helped by a poorly written reference, or one that arrives two weeks late. You also need to ask, what will this person say about me, and will it help me in my effort to do what I am trying to do?
  • Quantity - Get approval from a sufficient number of references so that you can tailor your choices to the application that you are currently working on.
  • Confidentiality - Many people will view differently, references that come directly from the person who wrote it, and references that you bring with you. When providing references, consider this fact and use the method that you think will best help your application.
  • Say thank you - A brief note to a person who writes you a reference is both courteous and smart. So few people take the time to say thank you, that a note from you will not only make the writer feel appreciated, but only can elevate their opinion of you as an individual.

If you have any other questions about the use of references, go to the Guidance Office and talk to your counselor.

For more information contact

Staff Photo
Mark Amstein
Cooperative Education Coordinator
Franklin County Technical School
82 Industrial Boulevard
Turners Falls, MA 01376
[email protected]
(413) 863-9561 ext 148