Cooperative education, also known as Co-op, is a program that allows students to work in different businesses during school hours as a grade or school credit. 

Although some schools have this program available for all students, only business students have the opportunity to engage in co-op at Cass Technical High School. 

Most students interviewed about the topic of co-op education thought that it would be helpful and beneficial if all students could apply to co-op. 

Sophomore Wisdom Andino said, “Teenagers should work during high school because during this time we are learning independence.”

Student Andres Morataya said that a co-op program would be helpful by “supporting their students and giving them a way to grow and learn as they become adults.” 

Working has its pros and cons. Two working students that work 20 to 25 hours a week gave their opinion on the topic. 

Student Elnora Brown says that “working helps people provide for their own stuff,” while another working student, Jayla Bracy, says that it would be a good idea for students “if you can multitask.” They also mention that dealing with homework is a disadvantage of working while in school. 

What if the work was a part of school? 

Freshman, Getsemani Gonzales from Cristo Rey High School in Southwest Detroit, tells us about the co-op program for students in her school. 

Gonzales works at Xalt energy company. She said, “It’s like I’m going on a field trip on my work day, but instead I’m alone and doing work.” 

Gonzales said there are both advantages and disadvantages to having to work once a week. 

“At my job, I get to learn things that would or wouldn’t benefit me when I have a future job,” she said.

“A disadvantage is that I have to miss a day at school,” she said. “... Also, working in a new environment by yourself is pretty hard to do, because you don’t have many people supporting you or helping you learn to do the job in the process.”

Gonzales said: “Having a job forces you out of your comfort zone to learn how to communicate with others, and you learn more of what you’re going to be doing in the future while you work. Having a job is not that hard, it just qualifies you to have the ability to be responsible for your own doings, and the maturity and patience to get the job done.”

Although co-op might not be available to all students, most people agree that taking advantage of any job opportunities is a great experience to learn from.