Work Experience is an integral part of career preparation. Communication Technologies works to build relationships with local employers that provide for students to connect with the local labor market. Each student is required to deliver a research based presentation on a local business that hires employees in a communications related field. Students participate in industry visits and connect with employers who act as presenters. Possibly the most in-depth connection to local businesses is through our Cooperative Education Program, which places students on a worksite. Some of our sending schools do offer worksite placements, but many students prefer Co-op, even though it has greater work expectations than the high school alternatives. The learning expectations for students and the opportunity expectations for employers are clearly defined, so that the maximum benefit can be gained. Before being placed at a site, students need to complete an employability skills curriculum, and during their experience they document activities and produce reflective writings. They also are required to do a presentation on their experience as a final exam. This is consistent with the Vermont AOE’s position that “work experience is supplemented with instruction and activities that apply, reinforce, refine, or extend the learning that occurs during work, so that learners develop attitudes, knowledge, skills, and habits that might not develop from work experience alone” (AOE, 2013. p.6)
Our two most regular Co-op sites are GVH Studio and White Rocks Design Studio
GVH produces Wide Format Printing, Grand Format Printing, Digital Offset Printing, Indoor and Outdoor Display Graphics, Trade Show Exhibits, Retail Promotions, Museum Graphics, Vinyl Applications, Workflow consultation, Color Correction and Retouching. They specialize in museum quality work and routinely produce work for the Clarke Art Institute, MASS-MoCA, The Norman Rockwell Museum and other prestigious institutions
More information is available at http://www.gvhstudio.com/
White Rocks DesignStudio
White Rocks is the premier vehicle graphics and retail sign shop in the area. They produce custom signage, vehicle graphics, banners, retail & storefront signs, full color digitally printed signs and offer full graphic design services.
More information is available at: http://www.whiterocksds.com/
Numerous other businesses have provided co-op opportunities for students, and new opportunities are continually sought out to meet the needs and interests of individual students. Examples of more customized Co-ops include a student being assigned as a research assistant for a book project by noted WWII historian Alex Kershaw, and a student working with the Bennington Banner to develop improved professional hockey coverage for the local newspaper.