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From Classroom to Co-op

Adam Follweiler, a Fleetwood Area High School senior and student in the Precision/Computerized Machining Technology Program, will only be attending Berks Career & Technology Center (BCTC) two days a week.  Not because of COVID-19 restrictions, but because he is starting co-op, or Cooperative Education, at East Penn Manufacturing this week.

Co-op is a combination of classroom-based education and practical work experience.  The programs at BCTC are designed so students have the opportunity to participate in a co-op experience after 2 years of training.  Students must attend BCTC at least one day per week, but the other days are available for co-op.  Adam stated, “the whole idea of co-op is being at a work place, doing things you would learn at BCTC, just in a different way.”

The projects Adam will be working on at East Penn Manufacturing involve precision machining, exactly what he has been learning at BCTC for the past two years.  “BCTC is set up like an actual job.  You come in every day, get changed into a uniform, but the expectations are the same as if you were at a job.”  Adam continued, “The projects are graded on the same exact scale of what a real job would be.  It is a very real-life environment.”  

Some of Adam’s favorite projects at BCTC involve NIMS, National Institute for Metalworking Skills, certifications.  Adam elaborated, “many of my projects this year have certain requirements.  In order to complete them, you must be within certain sizes and different tolerances.  If you meet the requirements, you will get a NIMS certification, a very good thing to have because employers are looking for them.”

Adam was recently named as one of the All-Berks Athletes for his performance as a midfielder on Fleetwood Area High School’s Soccer Team.  BCTC encourages all students to remain active in their home school’s extracurricular activities.  “I have never had any interference with my soccer schedule during all three years at BCTC.”  Adam noted, “BCTC is sometimes looked at as a place where cool kids or athletes shouldn’t attend, but I can honestly say that it is a great place.”