Cooperative Education

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Cooperative education is a program that allows students to earn secondary school credits while completing a work placement in the community. Through Cooperative Education, students are given an opportunity to apply concepts and expectations of specific school subjects during a work placement.

There is a classroom component and a placement component. Pre-placement classroom sessions will include health and safety training, review of job search skills, confidentiality, work ethics, the role of unions and a Personalized Placement Learning Plan for each student.

Students return to school on specified dates for reflective learning activities related to their workplace experiences. Together the classroom and the work placement provide students with:

  • credits toward the Ontario Secondary School Diploma;
  • valuable experience for future career destinations;
  • hands on training for employment opportunities after graduation;
  • apprenticeship training in the skilled trades during secondary school; and
  • assessment and evaluation of learning.

Benefits of cooperative education

Cooperative education gives students the opportunity to:

  • make connections between school and work and to "try out" a career of interest before finalizing plans for postsecondary education, training, or employment;
  • see the relevance of their classroom learning in a work setting;
  • develop the essential skills and work habits required in the workplace and acquire a direct understanding of employer and workplace expectations;
  • gain valuable work experience to help build their résumé for post-secondary programs and future employment;
  • experience hands-on and purposeful learning outside a traditional classroom setting.

How does cooperative education help students meet graduation requirements?

Cooperative education allows you to earn two or four credits. The number of credits depends on the length of the experience in the program:

  • 2 credits (Half-day a.m. or p.m.) = 220+ hours in one semester
  • 4 credits (Full-day) = 440+ hours in one semester

Cooperative education credits may be used to meet up to two of the 18 compulsory credit requirements for an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD). Students may also earn optional credits for the OSSD through cooperative education courses.

Evaluation is based on personal management skills, class and workplace participation, career and workplace research, daily log sheets, reflective journals, teacher and workplace supervisor performance appraisals and demonstrations of subject expectations.

Admission requirements

Cooperative education teachers and placement supervisors are looking for students who demonstrate a positive attitude, possess a strong work ethic based on gospel values, have a sense of responsibility and who are committed to learning.

Students must:

  • have completed the Grade 10 Career Studies course (GLC2O);
  • have earned sixteen credits;
  • complete a Co-op application form in addition to the school option sheet (application forms are available in both the Co-op and Guidance offices);
  • have written parent/guardian consent;
  • make a serious commitment to fulfill obligations to his/her school and to the Cooperative Education placement supervisor; and
  • make a good impression during an interview for selection in to the program.

Participation requirements

A student's participation in cooperative education depends on a number of factors:

  • student's attendance record, teacher references and approval of administration;
  • availability of a work placement and the suitability of the applicant for the placement;
  • successful completion of the related school subject prior to the work placement or the concurrent timetabling of both the subject and the Cooperative Education placement; and
  • specific selection criteria required by some placements which will be discussed during the interview for selection.

Costs associated with cooperative education

A student must cover the following costs associated with his/her cooperative education program:

  • provide their own safety equipment for all jobs where required;
  • responsible for transportation to and from the placement site, and it is the recommendation of the school that students use public transit, and this may require the purchase of a public transit bus pass; and
  • costs related to vaccinations, medical tests or criminal record checks.


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To learn more about cooperative education, speak with a member of our Guidance Team.

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