Cape Cod Regional Technical High School
The Community School
Cooperative Education

Employment in the field can be an exceptional experience for a student preparing for a career. Cape Cod Tech offers a program of cooperative education to qualified juniors and seniors. These students spend their two week shop cycles “on the job” as trainees with cooperating employers in the various trades from the local community. Many of the businesses are owned or operated by Cape Cod Tech alumni.

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In 2011, Harvard University published a study entitled Pathways to Prosperity, and the model of technical education in Massachusetts was highlighted as the most successful educational high school model for technical training. An excerpt from the report states:

“Two recent reports provide compelling evidence that vocational education that integrates work and learning is a superior way to learn. And not surprisingly, young people who have been in programs teaching them about “working life” and giving them soft skills as well as training and experience in a career area do better at finding jobs.”

One of the reasons that Harvard University’s recent groundbreaking study focused on the success of technical education is the cooperative learning experience. Here at The Cape Cod Tech, our co-op model follows the Massachusetts guidelines for technical high schools, and participating in a co-op work experience is one of the main goals our junior and senior-level students aspire to while enrolled here. Rather than spend their two-week technical cycle in their school-based “shop”, students work in the field with existing businesses to gain real-world experience. Authentic work-based settings further cement hands-on technical skills, provide networking opportunities in the field, and enhances students’ resumes for eventual full-time employment. Students become eligible for Co-op after the first trimester of their Junior year, and there are several requirements they must meet in order to qualify. Grades, both academic and technical, are an important factor in this process.

“Massachusetts has demonstrated that high-quality career and vocational education programs can engage a wide range of students while providing them with both academic proficiency and the technical skills necessary for advanced training in high-demand fields. This thoughtful report (Pathways to Prosperity) points the way toward providing many more of our young people with the knowledge and skills that will expand their opportunity to fully participate in the jobs of our increasingly knowledge-based economy.”    

Do you have questions about our Co-op Program?

To become a
Co-op Employer simply apply by contacting:

Paul Smith
Cooperative Education Coordinator


Frequently Asked Questions for Students
  • Q: When can I go out on Coop?
  • A: After the first trimester of your Junior year, and any time thereafter. You must have been in your current shop for at least 1.5 years.
  • Q: Do grades matter?
  • A: Absolutely. After the first trimester of your Junior year, if you apply for Coop our director will analyze your previous (2) report cards (last trimester 10th grade, and first trimester 11th grade) to determine eligibility. Students must have an average of a "B" or higher in Shop and Shop Theory, and a "C" or higher in other academic classes. You also must maintain these grade levels while employed on Coop.
  • Q: Does the Coop office find me the job?
  • A: No, but we will do everything we can to assist you in the process. Procuring employment is part of your technical training, and you are responsible for finding possible positions. A good place to start would be with your shop teacher, and go from there. Occasionally employers will refer open positions to our Coop office, and the Director will forward those openings to the proper shops.
  • Q: When do I work as a Coop student?
  • A:  Basically whenever your shop cycle is scheduled at CCT. You must work at least 30 hours during a given week (the same length of time as you would at school), but you can work more if agreed upon with your employer. It is the student's responsibility to coordinate work schedules and communicate ahead of time with the employer. Sorry, but you have to be back in school for all of your academic week scheduling!
  • Q: Since I am not at school in shop while on Coop, how do I get graded?
  • A: Your employer will serve as your "teacher" in this regard, and will be asked to fill out a daily grade sheet using an established rubric. It is the student's responsibility to return all completed assessment sheets in a timely manner to the Coop office for processing internally at CCT.
  • Q: How much will I get paid as a Coop student?
  • A: Well, that all depends on the employer and the situation you have designed. All employers must meet minimum wage requirements, but they are free to offer more based on market conditions. If you are serving as an Intern, there are no monetary payments to students. However, we recommend internships as a way to gain valuable exposure in your field, and enhance your resume and network resources.
  • Q: What does the employer have to do?
  • A:  All employers must submit our CCT CORI form, and also complete all necessary Coop documents in our handbook. They need to show proof of liability insurance coverage and Worker's Compensation, as well.
  • Q: Where can I get more information?
  • A: Call our Coop Office at 508-432-4500, ext 3135, or email our Director, Paul Smith, at "". Please also be sure to check out our "Resources" section of this website, as there are several publications and forms that we commonly use. Check them out!  

We also hold a Parent Night for each grade to fully communicate and further support our programs with students. Please see the parent newsletter for more information on dates and times.

Frequently Asked Questions for Employers
  • Q:  How many hours does a student need to work?
  • A:  A student is required to work a minimum of 30 hours during their scheduled shop cycle. Students are authorized to work more within the confines of the MA child labor laws.
  • Q:  Do I need to pay the student?
  • A:  Under the program, it is an expectation that the student will receive at least the state minimum wage of $15.00 per hour or be compensated at the same rate as employees with similar skill sets. There are exceptions to payment when an opportunity for a time-limited externship is approved by CCT administration.
  • Q:  Can the student be paid on a 1099 as an independent contractor or do they have to be on the payroll?
  • A:  Under the state guidelines of the program and because Co-Op students do not meet U.S. Dept. of Labor Darden Factors guidelines of an independent contractor, they can not be paid as an independent contractor. They must be paid on a W-4 and have taxes withheld and paid on regular payroll.
  • Q:  Does a student work every week?
  • A:  No, the student follows the Cape Cod Tech's school schedule which has a rotating 2-week schedule of academics and vocation. The schedule is available to all employers at the beginning of each school year.  It is at the discretion of the student and the employer if the student works during vacations, holidays, or any other days that are not listed as vocational training days. (The calendar can be found on the CCT's Co-Op Website under Community
  • Q:  What happens in inclement weather?
  • A:  Students are advised that if they are scheduled to work and inclement weather occurs, they should abide by what the employer has established. For example, if school is canceled due to snow, students are advised that they do not automatically have a snow day and should communicate with their employer on what their expectations are on their schedule for the day. Students should never jeopardize their personal safety during inclement weather.
  • Q:  Can the students work after school on their academic weeks at their Co-op employer?
  • A:  Yes, many students do work part-time/weekends for their Co-op employer during their academic weeks. The choice to do so is voluntary of the student and employer and is treated as part-time employment during those weeks. Requesting a student to miss school to attend work at any time would be a direct violation of the CCT Co-op employer agreement and could lead to the employer being removed from the Co-op program.

  • Q:  How often do I need to grade the student?
  • A:  Every week when a student works on a Co-op assignment, an assessment must be performed of the student's performance. Students will provide the direct supervisor with a weekly timesheet to be completed. The supervisor will provide feedback on the student's performance and confirm the student's hours worked. Students are responsible for the submission of weekly time cards.