Co-Op Employer Essentials: Where to Begin
Obtain the required clearances. Each employee who will supervise PPS Co-Op students must obtain a state criminal background check and a child abuse history clearance. An FBI clearance will be required only if the Co-Op supervisor has lived in the state of Pennsylvania for less than 10 consecutive years. Copies of these clearances must be on file with the CTE Office before the student is hired. There is no cost for these clearances, since the supervisors will be serving as volunteers.
Complete the following forms per Pittsburgh Public Schools Policy 920-AR-3:
Any company employee who will supervise PPS Co-Op students must complete and submit these forms.
Provide a fair wage for the Co-Op job position. A fair wage is defined as at least minimum wage. Co-Op students must be paid a fair wage by law.
Provide a copy of the Co-op job description, job application, and application procedures to the CTE Co-Op Coordinator. These materials will be shared with CTE students so that they may formally apply and interview for the available position(s).
Sign the Training Agreement after the Student is Hired. 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 Co-op 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 Co-op coordinator, and the employer. A new training agreement must be completed each time a student/employee is hired.
Set the student’s work schedule. The employer and Co-op coordinator will set the student schedule according to their school/class schedule and according to employer needs.
Help ensure student safety on the job. Safety is the responsibility of everyone. The Co-op coordinators, CTE instructors, and employers should work together to ensure that students are safe in their work environments. Please refer to any labor laws for students and employees and safety laws that pertain to your specific industry to be sure that students are safe.
Track the student’s job attendance. Attendance is a particularly important record for every school, and cooperative education job experience attendance must be kept accurately and meticulously by the CTE teacher and the Co-op coordinator. Audits may occur yearly for these records, and all student time cards must be kept by the school district for three years. Even though the student is not in the formal classroom, the student is reporting to his/her Training Site, which is the classroom for on-the-job training and cooperative education program purposes.
Evaluate the students once per month in conjunction with the Co-Op Coordinator. The cooperative education coordinator will visit each Training Site at least once every thirty calendar days. This visit will be to evaluate the student’s progress and to discuss with the supervisor whether 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 and the result from the evaluation will determine the student’s classroom grade. The Co-Op coordinator will also work with you to track student progress, develop an improvement plan (if needed), and assist with progressive discipline (if needed).
Follow Pennsylvania Child Labor Law. Open this link for more information: PA Child Labor Law.
Display the “Abstract of The Child Labor Act Hours Provisions” at the Worksite. Download and print this PDF File.