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Lakeland University’s award-winning Cooperative Education program benefits students and regional employers

Lakeland University (LU) has partnered with employers of all sizes – from Sheboygan County’s companies to myriad nonprofits – to give students access to full- and part-time employment through the Cooperative Education (Co-Op) program. Students can earn up to 30 credits for working toward graduation.

Lakeland advises students on financial management, encouraging them to use their earnings from working to help pay for their tuition, putting them in position to graduate with little or no debt.

Local employers, many of which are struggling to fill positions, have found a new workforce source in Lakeland’s Co-Op program.

For example, Lakeland partners with Sargento Foods to create job opportunities for students. Lakeland students work 16 hours per week, typical for students who work for any organization while taking full-time coursework. These part-time positions pay over $21 an hour and offer tuition benefits after 90 days of employment.

This fall, Lakeland expanded its Co-Op program to Milwaukee. A dozen students make up the inaugural student cohort enrolled in the Milwaukee Co-Op Year, a new LU initiative for Milwaukee-area students who need an affordable pathway to college. The Milwaukee program also removes some barriers to “make it happen.”

These students are taking tuition-free Lakeland courses for one year, earning college credits by working through the Co-Op program and developing a plan for their future.

Lakeland helps students find employment at one of Lakeland’s Milwaukee-area Co-Op employer partners. Lakeland mentors students individually, helping them develop their academic, professional, and personal success plans. 

After year one, students will have several pathways, and Lakeland will provide personal mentoring to help individual students develop the best plan for their future.