co-op-ted-out asks: "Myself and several other high school students from local school districts are currently co-op employees at a fiber-optic company. The first several weeks of the program were quite interesting and informative, but over the last month or so we have been used primarily as cheap labor in simple, repetitive jobs, such as equipment tests and upgrades. Although we are certainly getting a glimpse at a high tech industry, several of the other students and I don't feel that the company is living up to its end of the bargain, nor do we believe we are being used to our fullest potential. We certainly didn't sign up for this program in order to be cheap labor; we signed up because it was marketed to us as an "engineering project," and the majority of us plan to pursue engineering-related careers. What can we do as students to improve our experience, and what guidelines should any company follow when conducting a cooperative education program such as this, particularly with high school kids? Is there anyone out there who has found a successful way to run such a program?"
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