Mayor Bianchi Attends Employers Engagement Breakfast to Celebrate Coop Program

On the morning of Tuesday, May 6th, Mayor Bianchi attended the Employers Engagement Breakfast at Taconic High School.  The breakfast centered around the Taconic Coop week on/ week off vocational program which has been re-instated at the high school, for many programs, replacing the half-day Coop.

“Attending the breakfast was especially gratifying for me.  Along with School Committee members, past vocational graduates and employees, I encouraged an initiative last year to bring back the week on/week off Coop program,” Mayor Bianchi reported.

Eighteen businesses are now involved in the Coop program, which serves twenty-two students from the Pittsfield Public Schools’ vocational program.   The Coop has been successful for all involved: including teachers, local businesses, and most importantly, the vocational students of Pittsfield. 

Jessica Harvey, Community Placement Specialist for the Pittsfield Public School Coop vocational program commented, “Teachers report that students involved in the Coop have realized an improvement in their grades, academic engagement and overall motivation. Of the 22 students in the program, all them have maintained a grade point average [in both their academic classes and career technology classes] which is required to be both accepted and remain in their vocational placements.”

The businesses involved in the program are equally as pleased as the teachers and students.  Karen Benham, of Kimball Farms, had glowing reviews about their vocational student, “We would keep her forever if we could. She is responsible and motivated.” Employers involved in the program also agree that the week on/week off is the best way to expose students to the vocation and to keep their interest.  Terry Wetherell, from Oliver’s Auto Body Shop, commented, “It’s the only way to do it…students can see a project all the way through from start to finish.”

“I knew the return of the Coop program would enhance the success of the vocational programs. That was evident at this event,” Mayor Bianchi added. “The success of all of our students in the City of Pittsfield is a top priority.  As Mayor, I value the academic success of our students, as well as the renewed partnership with our local small businesses, which are the backbone of our community.”