Student Success – MCC Cooperative Education Program Leads to Job Placement

MANCHESTER, Conn.  (December 29, 2021) – Manchester Community College student Kristina Paggioli, of Colchester, recently completed an internship at Vernon-based Signarama, but she isn’t going anywhere. The graphic design major concluded her experience with a job offer.

While she continues her studies at MCC with plans to complete an associate degree, she is now a full-time member of the Signarama team. Signarama is a full-service franchise that uses the latest technology and highest quality products to produce custom indoor and outdoor signage, displays, decals and more for local businesses.

The internship, which paid an hourly wage and also satisfied a requirement in her field of study, provided real-world, hands-on experience that enabled her to demonstrate her talents to her employer. She also benefitted by learning from seasoned professionals how to collaborate with customers to meet design and printing requirements on major projects.

In addition, although she came to the internship with a working knowledge of graphic design tools thanks to her coursework, she became proficient at large latex and eco-solvent printers, laminators, plotters and other equipment. She became savvier about the business-side of the industry, being exposed to costs of goods sold, pricing and production scheduling.

Paggioli’s stand-out experience came from a project she worked on from start to finish that can now be seen across the area — on the sides of Vernon-based Hockanum Valley Community Council (HVCC) vans. HVCC is a private nonprofit human services agency dedicated to meeting the needs of the residents of Vernon and the Tolland County area.

“I worked with the Signarama team and the customer to improve HVCC’s visibility as they made food-bank runs,” Paggioli said. “I came up with a few different designs and, after a few tweaks, we arrived at one and presented it to the customer.”

She added, “Once approved, I helped my coworkers install the graphics on the vans.”

Paggioli plans to continue working at Signarama and eventually pursue a bachelor’s degree.

About the MCC Cooperative Education Experience

In some MCC programs, cooperative education/work experience is a required course of study within the curriculum and in others it is an option. Cooperative education and work experience opportunities allow students to bridge the gap between classroom theory and on-the-job training in an actual work environment. Students have the opportunity to earn credit — sometimes with a wage too — and work experience through MCC’s Cooperative Education program. Academic credit is awarded under the supervision of department faculty. Students must have a grade point GPA of 2.0 or better, have completed 12 to 15 credit hours towards a program of study and received permission from the program coordinator and cooperative education director.