A Win, Win

July 29, 2010
Providing opportunities for high school students is a victory for State Farm and the kids.

Written by: Deena Singh, Human Resources Recruiter and Sandi Hough, Human Resources Assistant

Graphics by: Leo Chan, PA Communication Specialist

As Human Resources Recruiters, we are always exploring innovative recruiting options to help State Farm attract talent. We promote our career opportunities by attending career fairs, working with community agencies and schools to name a few.

We understand the value of being involved in our local communities. This interaction allows State Farm to get involved through community outreach programs that demonstrates our ‘good neighbour’ approach. Our goal is to build the “employment brand” by focusing on the unique strengths that make State Farm a great place to work.

High School Co-Op Program

One of the ways we are doing this is by working with local high schools to offer non-paid co-operative (co-op) opportunities.  Co-op combines classroom-based education with practical work experience. This experience provides academic credit for structured job experience. When providing a non-paid co-op, an organization must be able to offer the student “meaningful work” that goes beyond covering phones, photocopying and filing.
“This program is fantastic!  Students benefit by gaining work experience and we benefit by servicing our community and policy holder – it’s a win-win for everyone.” Taschea Moolla, Life Underwriting Supervisor

This program can help young people make the school-to-work transition, and they also develop skills such as time management, communication, organizational and customer service skills. This is invaluable and transferrable to any role.
“The Co-Op program is a great opportunity to attract future employees!” Peggy Zunker, Human Resources Records Supervisor

A co-op occurs during the school year from September to January and then February to June. The student attends school for a half-day and for the other half attends a work placement.  In order to meet requirements of the co-op program, students are required to complete a certain amount of hours at their workplace; create weekly summaries of their work experiences; establish a good relationship with their co-workers and get an acceptable review from their supervisor.
“The High School Coop Program provided us with a great resource that enabled us to tackle a few projects that we haven’t had the time or manpower to complete.” Michelle D’Ornellas, Assistant Zone Marketing Manager


Recruiters work with their assigned departments to place the students based on their interests. To make this a successful experience, we provide our supervisors with tools and resources such as a Leader’s Guide, an orientation checklist, and a template to create the development plan.
“The High School Co-op Program has been a very positive experience for us in Accident Benefits. Everyone just lights up when our students Vincent and Martin come in because they bring such a positive spirit and energy to the work they do for us in the mail and file area.” Raquel Hamilton, Claims Support Services Supervisor

Student Voices

We are proud to announce that have we have worked with several schools and been able to place students in Claims, Life Underwriting, Marketing, Human Resources, and Learning & Development.
 “I didn’t know what working in Marketing meant or even what State Farm was (before I started coop), it’s so cool being here and seeing how many activities there are for the employees.”  Bella - coop student in Marketing

“I don’t know what I want to do with my life when it comes to work, so I thought it would be a good idea.” Shruthi – coop student in Life U/W

“Most of my family is in business so I was interested in it. I wanted to get experience working in a big company.” Sheena-coop student in Life U/W

“I would definitely recommend working at State Farm, to my friends. This was my first real job, and it was a great experience and it’s going to look great on my resume!” Stephanie – coop student in HR

Most students who participate in a coop program are limited to learning about one specific job.  For those interested, we work with the students and their supervisors to coordinate job shadowing; allowing them to maximize their coop experience by learning about other career choices.

“The relaxed and friendly work environment at State Farm has definitely contributed to making the transition from school to co-op, a positive experience for Martin and Vincent. I would have to say the employees at State Farm have made all the difference.” Barb Martin, Education Teaching Assistant

Martin and Vincent work in AB Claims. This coop opportunity not only develops their job skills; it helps them to develop life skills. Both students were interested in what our security guards do and we were able to coordinate a job shadow experience.
“I learned about the security badges, if a visitor is only here for one day they only have access to the front door.” Vincent- coop student in AB Claims

“I got to see how the security cameras can zoom in on cars.” Martin- coop student in AB Claims

“Although it was only a short experience it is great to see the joy on the students’ faces as they learn new things.  I think it is helpful for students to have this kind of opportunity so that they can truly experience what a certain job entitles and to help them in their future career decisions.” Edward Yi - Head of Security at the Aurora Operations Centre

This program is a benefit to the students and State Farm.  As the coop term comes to an end, we wish the students all the best in their future endeavors.  Through their experience at State Farm we hope the job skills and knowledge they have gained will help them make decisions about future career choices.

For more information about the “High School Coop Program” or about coop positions at State Farm contact Sandi Hough at 905-750-4702.