The New Co-op Program: A Unique Summer Work Experience

Director of Auxiliary Programs Martha Cameron and Co-op Program Coordinator Charles Isdell jointly led two rising seniors, Aparna Hiremath and Kirindeep Momi, through the pilot year of the Co-op Program this summer. The four-week educational immersion program allows students to receive career training from professionals and learn from hands-on company assignments. Aparna completed a competitive analysis project for BAYADA Home Health Care, a medical services company, at their Philadelphia office. At the Republic Bank headquarters at Two Liberty Place in Philadelphia, Kirin rotated through several functions of the Human Resources department, focusing on recruitment for the final two weeks.

The idea to develop the program was originally researched and developed to offer an enriching professional opportunity for students unlike any other in the independent school arena. Head of School Larry Van Meter’s vision was to partner with area businesses in South Jersey and Philadelphia willing to extend their resources and time to provide a collaborative learning environment for MFS students.

Unlike traditional summer internships, the Co-op Program offers students structured support to navigate through the working world, including: an introductory workplace etiquette workshop to review communication, dress, contemporary workplace issues, resume writing, interviewing skills, working within a team environment, professional writing, and understanding corporate culture; weekly reviews and feedback from company hosts and a Co-op supervisor to gauge progress, engagement, and satisfaction; and a required concluding presentation for students to summarize their goals, insights, and achievements.  

“These students gained insight, clarity, maturity, and a glimpse into the real world beyond the four walls of a classroom,” said Ms. Cameron. “One of our rising seniors actually said to me ‘…what I learned this summer I could never have learned in a classroom.’ After four weeks I saw a significant positive change in their personal confidence and composure. It was transformative for them.”