Student co-op programs given boost

Sheboygan County high school co-ops will receive a shot in the arm. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) is providing a $45,000 partnership between the Sheboygan County Economic Development Corporation and Inspire Sheboygan County to scale high school co-ops as well as to create best practice guides for state-wide distribution.

“Many area companies are looking to groom new talent and have invested heavily in local school districts,” stated Dane Checolinski, Sheboygan County Economic Development Corporation (SCEDC) Director. “Expanding the handson side of education is the next logical step to ensuring kids in Sheboygan County Schools reach their full potential.”

The co-op grant was applied for and received by the SCEDC, which will be contracting with Inspire Sheboygan County to support the new co-op coordinator position.

Nikki Kiss, Executive Director of INSPIRE Sheboygan County stated, “This grant opportunity is huge to allow INSPIRE to better connect students and employers. Each student has their dreams and it is critical they learn about the industries they want to be in before they leave high school.”

Co-ops in Sheboygan County are paid, with the bulk of employers paying around $10 per hour. The program has been dubbed by many as “Youth Apprenticeship (YA) Lite” as it allows students to work at firms without the 300-plus hour, semester-long commitment required by YA.

Students in co-ops typically work for a company around 90-plus hours per quarter. All co-ops must be applied for and earned like any job. High school students are considered “student learners” and exempted from many laws that prohibit them from operating equipment and machinery.

To learn more about the coop program contact INSPIRE co-op coordinator, Candice Boutelle at 715-572-2130 or CBoutelle@InspireSheboyganCounty.org.


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