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Northeast Metro Tech and Reading Cooperative Bank Form Unique Banking Apprenticeship Program

Students Zackary Berkowitch and Mahama Jaid Piprani, center, stand with Theresa Vardinski, the manager of the Northeast Metro Tech branch of Reading Cooperative Bank, and Jaime-Lyn Pickles, department head of Business Technology at Northeast Metro Tech inside the Reading Cooperative Bank’s branch inside the school. (Courtesy Northeast Metro Tech)

WAKEFIELD — Superintendent David DiBarri is pleased to announce that Northeast Metro Tech and Reading Cooperative Bank have entered into a unique partnership to create a federally-recognized banking apprenticeship program. 

Students enrolled in the Business Technology program will now be able to participate in a federally-recognized banking apprenticeship program that is one-of-a-kind in Massachusetts. The program is also recognized by the Massachusetts Office of Labor and Workforce Development. 

While many large financial institutions offer pathways to apprenticeships, it’s rare for a bank the size of Reading Cooperative Bank to offer such opportunities. Additionally, while many school-based bank branches in Massachusetts closed permanently during the COVID-19 pandemic, Reading Cooperative Bank maintained its relationship with Northeast Metro Tech, and reopened its branch inside Northeast Metro Tech in September 2021. 

Looking to continually expand opportunities for students, teachers in the Business Technology Program, the Northeast Metro Tech Career Center, and the Human Resources Department at Reading Cooperative Bank worked together for months to reimagine the apprenticeship program and its future in 2023 and beyond.

On Wednesday, Jan. 25, Northeast Metro Tech Principal Carla Scuzzarella signed off on an articulation agreement to formalize Northeast Metro Tech’s participation in the program.

Students will be able to participate in a trimester-long banking class in the Northeast Metro Tech branch of Reading Cooperative Bank. This will occur during the school day. Through successful completion of the trimester, students can earn 150 hours toward their apprenticeship.

Participants in the cooperative education program must then complete another 450 hours of work at the Reading Cooperative Bank. 

Either simultaneous to or immediately after completing the co-op program successfully, students must work at the Reading Cooperative Bank either part-time or full-time so that they can earn additional experience. Once students log 2,000 total hours at Reading Cooperative Bank, they earn the banking apprenticeship.

There are currently 53 students enrolled in the Business Technology Program, and they are the only students in Massachusetts eligible to earn apprenticeship hours during school hours.

“We are proud to offer Northeast Metro Tech students yet another opportunity to take a pathway to a career, and our innovative banking apprenticeship offered in partnership with Reading Cooperative Bank will aid our students who are seeking careers in the banking field,” said Superintendent DiBarri. “This program is at the heart of what we do here at Northeast Metro Tech: We create opportunities and paths forward for our dedicated, driven, and talented students.”

Northeast Metro Tech students Zackary Berkowitch and Mahama Jaid Piprani, both of whom are part of the apprenticeship program at Reading Cooperative Bank, share a smile while working in the bank’s branch at Northeast Metro Tech recently. (Courtesy Northeast Metro Tech)

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