Occupational Advisory Committees
Cooperation between BAVTS and employers directly affect what students learn here. Lehigh Valley businesses:
- Keep our curriculum up-to-date and relevant.
- Help our faculty stay in touch with the local marketplace.
- Advise us about emerging technologies.
The most effective vehicles for this communication exchange are the Occupational Advisory Committees that operate within each of our technical programs. Representatives from local businesses meet with our faculty twice a year to make recommendations on equipment purchases and curriculum changes, and to discuss industry trends and employers’ needs. The meetings are “roll up your sleeves” work sessions where employers and teachers hammer out plans for equipping students with the skills they need to successfully join the local workforce.
At BAVTS, students learn concepts that are fundamental to their chosen fields. They learn practical skills and acquire hands-on-experience in modern labs. Nevertheless, many students want more. They want to learn on-the-job.
Co-op, short for cooperative education, is a mutually beneficial arrangement. Employers provide jobs to students who want to apply what they’ve learned in school. Students bring skills to companies that are often experiencing a shortage of qualified workers. It’s a win-win situation. The purpose of cooperative education is to provide occupational training that supplements the in-school educational experiences of students. The program takes the curriculum beyond the walls of the school and serves as a bridge between the theoretical world of the classroom and the day-to-day experiences of workers on the job. Co-op utilizes the resources of business and industry to give students a first-hand experience of work in their chosen career field. Students who meet the requirements of basic trade and technical training and have good attitudes and work habits are recommended to employers for on-the-job training. Students are paid at least the prevailing minimum wage for time on the job. For many students, co-op represents the best of both worlds: learning in a real work environment and getting paid for it. To be eligible, students must have completed six quarters in their program area, achieved a sufficient number of competencies and received the recommendation of their instructor. BAVTS Co-op coordinators arrange placement, process paperwork and conduct on-site visitations. Many large and small businesses in the Lehigh Valley provide our students with co-op experiences.