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Senior Advancing Career Goals through CHS Co-op Program

Sakhmet Anyika at Rydal Park(November 29, 2022) In October, Cheltenham High School senior Sakhmet Anyika, whose career goal is to become a dietician, started an entry-level position with the dining service team in the healthcare wing of the Abington senior living community Rydal Park through its food service company Unidine. In her position, she is learning about being a dietician from a team of mentors including the Unidine management and lead nutritionist who are teaching her about the inner functions of a medical team, such as collaborating with doctors and nurses. 

This year, Cheltenham High School launched the second year of the internship experience co-op program to assist career-driven seniors in exploring career avenues and learning technical and employability skills. The program enables seniors to earn credit toward graduation while completing paid, work-based learning experiences that align with post-secondary career goals.

“My co-op experience has been nothing but positive. My job has helped me get out of my comfort zone more and makes me feel like I’m on the right  career path,” Anyika said. “I like that I can experience part of what my dream occupation is so early. I also love that in co-op we are taught skills that will help us in our occupation and the real world through hands-on experience and lessons being taught in class. I am very grateful that CHS offers this program and I hope to continue to learn valuable lessons as the year progresses.”

Program coordinator Brittney McKenna will identify, develop and manage interdependent relationships among the school, employer, and student, in addition to providing job coach support. Co-op employers will be able to utilize her support as needed during and in-between assessments of success in the work environment. Employers will pair students with mentors who provide support and supervision. McKenna will visit students’ worksites, conduct performance evaluations, and collect performance evaluations from their mentors. The area of training may be in any career and technical education area where there are needs for trained persons and must relate to the student’s career objective.  

“With work-based learning, each student has opportunities to personalize his or her education based on their career interests,” said McKenna. “Work-based learning provides students with opportunities to explore a career theme of interest, including technical and employability skills, in a way that would not typically happen in the academic classroom.”

Businesses interested in hiring motivated high school seniors for paid, career-oriented work experience are encouraged to contact the co-op coordinator Brittney McKenna at for more information.