Lakeland College, Sheboygan-based insurance provider ACUITY, and Sheboygan South High School have created an academic partnership that encourages local high school students to attend college and, ultimately, find a job at one of the area’s outstanding companies.
The partnership allows high school students to take classes that earn both high school and college credit while getting valuable work-based learning opportunities. Under the partnership, South High students have access to Lakeland computer science courses as sophomores and juniors. As upperclassmen, South students will have the opportunity to serve internships at ACUITY, a nationally recognized company specializing in property and casualty insurance.
The partnership offers a valuable learning opportunity that is also very affordable. Students have the opportunity to earn up to 30 college credits with little cost to parents. ACUITY will fund the acquisition of Android tablets and Arduino open-source programmable micro controllers, giving South students access to cutting-edge programming tools.
Lakeland’s computer science program is led by Assistant Professor Cindy Lindstrom, who came to Lakeland after more than two decades of creating and analyzing technology systems in the corporate world. Enrollment in Lakeland’s computer science major has tripled because of her work to align Lakeland’s program with the needs of regional employers and having students working on real-world industry issues.
Lakeland President Dan Eck said the partnership directly addresses concerns he hears from local employers like ACUITY. “Local companies are concerned about the skills gap, and with the Baby Boomer generation reaching retirement age, there are widespread concerns whether there will be enough skilled workers to replace them,” Eck said. “This partnership will introduce our local students to attractive careers with local employers while they’re still in high school. We are all working together to make sure we keep our best talent here to live and work and support this community.”