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Co-Operative Education OJT Manual
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On-the-Job Training (OJT) Frequently Asked Questions

A cooperative education program is a program with elective classes that permits a student to be released from the high school campus to work part-time in a job. It is truly  “cooperative” because four contractual parties are responsible for the success of  the program and must sign an agreement: the school & teacher/coordinator, employer, parent/guardian, and student. The student must be compensated for work performed while in a cooperative education program.

The benefits of cooperative education programs are: elective high school credit(s), valuable experience in the workplace which gives students a head start on their career, employability skills to be successful, employee training, financial earnings, and flexibility in the school day with release time from campus.

The student is required to have a student data sheet or resume, a copy of their class schedule, a job description, an employer training agreement, and a cooperative education program student training plan. The student may be required to provide proof of their Florida Driver’s License and *Social Security Card. Some schools also may require that the student sign a “school contract,” listing the policies and requirements for participating in a cooperative education program.  A new employer training agreement must be completed for each new job that the student begins while in a cooperative education program.  The teacher/coordinator will have information and specific requirements regarding the completion of these documents.

A Training Agreement is a standard form/document used for cooperative education program purposes. It must be signed by the student, parent/guardian, employer, and teacher/coordinator. A copy is filed with the school, a copy is kept by the employer at the training site, and the parent may receive a copy. This contract designates the general expectations of the student/employee, and the responsibilities of the school, the cooperative education teacher/coordinator, and the employer. However, it does not confer any rights, expressed or implied, to remain as an employee. Employment is at will and is not for any specific time. Employment may be terminated at will, with or without prior notice by the employer. The student/employee may resign for any reason at any time. Some school districts may also require that the worker’s compensation insurance carrier's name and telephone number be listed on this training agreement. A new training agreement must be completed each time a student/employee is hired.

Supervised on-the-job training, with a training agreement and an individualized training plan signed by the student, teacher/coordinator, employer, and parent/guardian, is required for a cooperative education program student.

The general rule is if the student changes jobs, they should give a minimum of one week's notice in writing to their supervisor at their job, with and provide a copy to their teacher/coordinator for the student's audit file. A new employer training agreement will need to be completed for each new job that the student begins while in a cooperative education program. Check with the teacher/coordinator regarding specific school and district requirements for changing jobs while in a cooperative education program.

There is a difference between being “fired” and being “terminated” because the employer’s business is experiencing a period of decline.  In most cases, if the student is "fired" from their job and the teacher/coordinator agrees with this action, they would possibly fail all the OJT credits related to their trainign site. If the student is "terminated" due to a slow period, they must seek employment immediately at another training site. School and district policies may differ so it is best to ask the cooperative education program teacher/coordinator at the school for exact guidelines and requirements.

When the student enrolls in a cooperative education program, the school counselor will provide them with the information regarding classroom requirements. The student will be assigned a teacher/coordinator for the cooperative education program. Each teacher/coordinator will have informational handouts that will list requirements for classroom attendance for success in the program. In addition, classroom instructional hours  may count toward the total hours needed per credit. School and district policies may differ, but the general rule is that the student receives one hour of classroom credit for each hour of work. Most counties use between 135 to 150 hours = one credit.

The teacher/coordinator should visit each Training Site at least once during each grading period. This visit will be to evaluate the student’s progress and to discuss with the supervisor how the student is meeting the goals listed in the Training Plan. The student is evaluated on: overall job performance; employability skills; mastery and competency of job skills and duties. Students are required to record the hours they work on a time card, which must be signed by both the employer, student and teacher/coordinator. It is recommended that students  record the hours they spend in the classroom which must be signed by the student and the teacher/coordinator. This would be in addition to attendance recordkeeping.

The class size and district/school policies will affect the teacher/coordinator's ability to visit each training site multiple times during each grading period. School districts may place varying numbers of cooperative education program students in cooperative education classes, so the actual class sizes of students may be greater for some teacher/coordinators. Specific grading policies will differ from program to program. Students should check with their teacher/coordinator for precise grading procedures.

Students can earn one to multiple elective credits for OJT. The number of credits depends upon the number of periods the student enrolls in for the OJT experience(s). 

Although hour requirements differ from school district to school district, most cooperative education programs require students to work a minimum number of hours for each credit of classroom instruction and work-site experience. School and district policies may differ so it is best to ask the cooperative education program teacher/coordinator at the school for exact guidelines and requirements. An example would be: Marion County Schools uses 135 hours of work and classroom instruction = 1 credit. Manatee county uses 150 hours of work and classroom instruction = 1 credit.

Ideally, the purpose of a cooperative education program is to encourage the student to work in a career goal environment (which includes job searches).  Training sites that are approved by the cooperative education program teacher/coordinator and the parent, are acceptable for the student.

The student will be responsible for all pre-employment expenses.

Yes. However, there is no guarantee that there will be a successful match based on local job opportunities.

No, a student must have an employer and supervisor for their training site. Contract work and self-employment do not fit the definition of On-The-Job Training. Students also must be paid in accordance to Federal and State Guidelines.

On-the-Job Training (OJT)  is a common term that is used for the student’s release time from the school campus when a student is authorized to leave school early and report to his/her training site. It is a component of a cooperative education program that enables students to apply classroom instruction to their training site experiences.

Students must provide their own transportation to and from their training site and abide by all district policies regarding transportation. Cooperative education program students should leave campus promptly and have the ability to get to work on time, without having to rely upon rides from friends or family.

The manner of dress depends upon the training site.  Each training site has its own dress code requirements.  Each student is expected to abide by the policies of the employer.

Attendance policies will vary by school district.  In most cooperative education programs, good attendance will help the student's grade. In some school districts, if classroom attendance is poor, the student might be removed from all training site experiences. If attendance is poor at the training site, the employer’s grade for the student will be reflected automatically. Check with the cooperative education program teacher/coordinator regarding attendance policies and any related district guidelines.

Yes, ALL students are allowed to participate in cooperative education programs.

Yes. In fact, some programs/careers now advise and encourage students to volunteer or work in the field before graduation to gain entry-level skills and experience in the college program.

Yes. The Diversified Education program, like other career and technical education programs, is eligible for state sponsored scholarships.  The courses under this program, excluding the OJT courses, have been recorded with the Office of Student Financial Assistance and are included in their online database for scholarship eligibility.  Successful completion of 3 credits in diversified education courses will satisfy one of the eligibility requirements.  For complete details about scholarship eligibility, discuss this with the student’s school guidance counselor and visit the Florida Brigh Futures Scholarship website.

Florida, career and technical programs recommend that students participate in a “Career and Technical Student Organization” (CTSO) which allows them to learn new skills and provides them with leadership opportunities. Each teacher/coordinator will have informational handouts about the *Career and Technical Student Organization(s) available.

Cooperative education program students are encouraged to join a career and technical student organization (CTSO) when provided.  CTSOs offer numerous types of leadership activities along with community service projects, fund raising events, and competitive business events.

Students should contact their guidance counselor, administrator at the school, or cooperative education program teacher/coordinator for information about cooperative education programs.  There may be an application process involved, depending upon local school district policies.

In most cooperative education programs, there is no minimum GPA requirement. However, some districts use a 2.0 GPA since that is what is needed for graduation. It is best to ask the guidance counselor or the teacher/coordinator at the school about school policy.

Requirements will vary depending upon local school district and/or school board policies.  Ask your guidance counselor, administrator, or teacher/coordinator at the school about additional requirements.

Students in a cooperative education program represent their school at all times, even though they are not on the school campus. Students are expected to demonstrate professional qualities of responsibility, dependability, ethical behavior, and maturity when they are at their training site.

When a student is placed in a cooperative education job experience they are employed in a part-time job.  A "Training Site" is what the job site is called because new skills and job tasks are learned each day the student is at the part-time job. The training site becomes the “classroom” where valuable information and skills are learned.

The employer will set the student/employee’s schedule according to their school/class schedule and according employer needs. Students will be assigned to a school Cooperative Education Program for elective credit(s). The ability to leave at a specified time will be determined by the guidance counselor and the teacher/coordinator after they review the student's scheduling needs for the year. Each school district may use different strategies in scheduling students for cooperative education experiences.

If the student is under 18 years of age and attends high school, they may NOT work over 30 hours (Child Labor Laws).  If the student is over 18 years of age, and is attending high school, it is highly recommended that they NOT work over 30 hours per week because of the academic demands on the their schedule.

A student may be enrolled in a cooperative education program while attending a secondary school. Contact the school Guidance Department to see what cooperative education programs are offered and what the requirements are for the program.  In all school programs, the student, the teacher/coordinator, and the employer will be required to follow the policies and guidelines of Child Labor Laws. (See pages 19-21).

Florida's Child Labor Program. The Child Labor Program enforces the provisions of the Florida Child Labor Law. The purpose of the law is to protect the health and welfare of minors in the workplace and safeguard their education.