HATHORNE – Superintendent Heidi Riccio and Cooperative Education Coordinator Lisa Berube wish to share the continuing success of Essex Tech’s Cooperative Education program, which gives students valuable experience in their career path before graduation.
Students may participate in a cooperative job starting in the final term of their junior year, with approval by their vocational teacher. Students alternate weeks at their job and in the classroom. Students are matched with local businesses, and learn in-depth from professionals.
About 156 graduating seniors and 109 juniors are participating this school year. Real-world experience has been invaluable.
Brady Liacos, a senior in Plumbing from Danvers, works at New England Gas Systems in Danvers. “I definitely feel like I’ve matured a lot, especially working with people that are older than me, they have an influence on me, on how to act with the customers, and how to build relationships with customers,” Liacos said.
Senior Sam Toerne of Danvers is using skills he learned in the Natural Resources program at Hancock Associates, and enjoys working out in the field.
“I’ve learned a lot about surveying in general, using the specific equipment, being prepared for the weather,” Toerne said. “I’ve learned a lot of patience. I like it a lot because I’m always somewhere different. It’s a lot of working with my hands, I don’t really want to sit behind a desk.”
Senior Joseph Bridgeo of Danvers is employed at Cranney Home Services in Danvers.
“It’s the first job I’ve had that I’m happy waking up in the morning and going to work,” Bridgeo said. “I work with a great team of plumbers at Cranney Home Services who have taught me more than I could’ve imagined.”
Companies see great value in participating in the Cooperative Education program, both in giving students a chance and in connecting them with quality workers.
New England Gas Systems Inc. has taken part since 2016; its first co-op student now works for the company full time.
“Over the last year Brady has come a long way and can easily be employed at any plumbing and heating company right out of school,” Vice President Chad Lipinski said. “We have already offered him a full-time spot with us and can’t wait until he’s out of school.”
Two juniors started their co-op with New England Gas Systems Inc. this spring.
At Hancock Associates, younger employees are paired with co-op students as mentors. Both grow from the experience.
“The quality of the students is far and away better than what we thought we would be dealing with,” Vice President Scott Jalbert said. “When students come on board, they have a great attitude and desire to work. By the time they finish they are much more mature, they fit into the workplace, they are on time, ready to work. The maturity level is noticeable.”
Cranney Home Services also has had a long partnership with Essex Tech’s co-op program. One of its first co-ops has advanced through the company, and now works in management.
“Cranney Home Services is grateful for the working relationship that we have built with Essex Tech and we are impressed with all of the students we have had the pleasure of working with throughout the years,” Service Manager Eric Brewer said. “This program is invaluable to the growth of our team.”
“By participating in the Cooperative Education Program, Essex Tech students graduating with both classroom and field experience, making them highly sought-after when they graduate,” Superintendent Riccio said. “We are grateful to our cooperative employers for supporting our vision, and for their assistance in training the next generation of our workforce.”
Parents, students, and prospective employers may learn more on the Cooperative Education Office page at https://www.collegecentral.com/essexnorthshore/ or contact Coordinator Berube at 978-304-4700, ext. 5109