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Cooperative Education (Co-op)

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Experiential Learning activities vary in length and commitment from both the student and the employer or community placement. This experience gives you a chance to get a quick look (through shadowing, twinning or work experience) or even a semester-long look (through Cooperative Education) at potential career options.

Employer Section

See below to read about the different Co-op programs available to HWDSB students. For more information, including current opportunities, click here to learn more.

If you have additional questions about Co-op at HWDSB, please contact Jeff Adema at 905-527-5092 or email [email protected]  or contact your Co-op teacher through the Student Services Department at your secondary school.

What is Co-op?

It’s a chance for students to get out into the “real world” to apply, and practice things they have learned in some of their “in school” courses.

  • Co-op is offered in every HWDSB high school
  • Up to two credits earned through Co-op can be part of your compulsory credit requirements
  • There is no limit to the number of credits you can earn in Co-op
  • System School to Work Programs are also available. These Pathway programs are available to all HWDSB students, and offered at various specialized facilities.

Our secondary schools have co-op education programs that can provide children with hands-on learning in an area of their choice. Co-op programs combine theory and practice to help students prepare for their career goals.

Some examples of HWDSB co-op programs include:

Co-Op Programs

Building Careers From the Ground Up: Construction Program

This is a unique six credit, all day, full semester program. It provides students with the opportunity to experience the many skills and trades available in the home building industry. Students have the opportunity to earn six credits in Senior Construction Technology through in class and cooperative education modes of delivery. Students will also obtain Fall Protection Training and WHMIS Certification. In the process, they will construct a house from the foundation up, together with one of our community partners. This program started 7 years ago with a house being built for Homes By DeSantis in Stoney Creek. Since the program started we have built one house a year, partnering with John Bruce Robinson Construction Ltd. in Binbrook, and most recently with New Horizon Homes.

Students will:Building Careers From the Ground Up: Construction Program

  • Develop skills necessary for success in the highly competitive world of home construction.
  • Be eligible for apprenticeship opportunities through the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP).
  • Develop critical skills that are transferable to any post secondary destination and the world of work.
  • Make contact with potential employers for future employment.

Currently, this program runs only during Semester One. Long days and relevant Co-op placements allow students to earn up to 6 credits.

Building Careers from the Ground Up application

Caring For Our Future: Healthcare Support Services Program

As our population and workforce ages, the need for highly skilled healthcare employees has become paramount. In response to this need, the Healthcare Support Services Program is intended to provide career preparation for senior secondary students with an interest in pursuing a healthcare career. The program design enables students to gain the necessary knowledge, skills and behaviours they will need to participate in related cooperative education experiences in customer support services roles at a Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) hospital site. Examples of customer support serv¬ices roles include Environment Aide and Porter. This unique experiential learn¬ing opportunity is being offered in partnership with Hamilton Health Sciences as a four-credit school-work transition pro¬gram. This program will be offered each semester.

Students Will Learn:Caring For Our Future: Healthcare Support Services Program

  • An overview of the health care industry;
  • Service excellence (including quality management, professionalism, confidentiality and communication skills);
  • Principles of infection control;
  • Body mechanics and waste management;
  • An overview of human anatomy & physiology, and basic medical terminology;
  • Health and safety issues in healthcare;
  • Healthcare career opportunities through interactions with a variety of healthcare professionals within the classroom and the local healthcare community

During this all-day semester-long program, students will have the opportunity to:

  • Earn 4 secondary school credits (two credits in Healthcare Support Services and two credits through Cooperative Education)
  • Spend the entire semester at Hamilton Health Sciences with a HWDSB teacher and a variety of healthcare workers within one of three acute care hospital sites; all in-class instruction will be held at Chedoke Hospital – Wilcox Building
  • Develop the skills necessary for success in a healthcare career
  • Make contact with the largest healthcare employer in the region
  • Receive certification in Healthcare Support Services endorsed by Hamilton Health Sciences and the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board upon successful completion of the program

Admission to this limited enrollment program will be based on a selection process and interview. Apply now!

Healthcare Support Services application

Army Reserve Co-op Program

Military Militia Co-op Program

The Army Reserve Co-op Program is an opportunity for students to gain experience in a military environment, develop self-confidence, leadership and teamwork skills, all while earning high school credits. This is a three-credit program that runs in Semester 2 for the 2023-24 school year. The fourth credit is obtained at the student’s home school or through an eLearning course.

Students spend the semester at an Armoury (James Street North, Hamilton), from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Students may be required to work several weekends/evenings over the semester, but generally do not train on weekends.

Upon completion of the program, successful students can continue with their unit on a paid, part-time basis about one night per week, and one weekend per month. Summer employment is also available for students who successfully complete this program.

HWDSB Army Reserve Co-op Program Information Sheet 2024

HWDSB Army Reserve Co-op Program Flyer 2024

Army Reserve Coop Intention Form

How to Apply

 Step 1Click here to submit an electronic Intention Form – This MUST be completed with a parent/guardian if you are under 18 on the day of submission.
Step 2: Complete the Hamilton Garrison Canadian Army Reserve Co-op Parent / Guardian and Student Intention Form. This form needs to be printed, completed and signed then sent to the ARC co-op teacher – Mike Armstrong at [email protected]. Click here to access the Army Reserve Coop Intention Form.
Step 3:  The student and parent/guardian (if under 18 at time of signing) will then be contacted by the ARC co-op teacher as well as a recruiter from the Canadian Armed Forces to discuss the next steps of the application process.
Students are required to be a Permanent Resident or Canadian Citizen and will need original documents to prove this. Additional requirements include the FORCE evaluation – which is a physical fitness component of joining the military. Click here to learn about FORCE.
There is also an aptitude test that must be successfully completed. Click here to access a practice aptitude test.
Please direct any questions about the Army Reserve Co-op to the ARC co-op teacher Mike Armstrong at [email protected].

Application Deadline

Program runs Semester 2 only. The application deadline is October 15, 2024.

For Employers

On behalf of the staff and students at Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, we extend our sincere appreciation to you, the employers and placement supervisors of the Cooperative Education Program.

Without your active support and endless time and training, this educational program would not be a success. Students are benefiting from your expertise in order to enter an ever-changing workplace. The extension of the classroom to the world of work will develop their life and job-readiness skills and assist them with future career decisions.

For more information, please contact Lynn Krusto, K-12 Program Consultant at [email protected]

Updated on Monday, March 04, 2024.
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