Lakeland University’s new Cooperative Education program continues to attract strong interest both from employers seeking to expand their workforce and from students/families making their educational choices.
This fall, Lakeland welcomed a record first-year class to campus thanks to the co-op program. Lakeland saw 217 first-time, full-time students arrive on campus, a 24 percent increase over 2017. Lakeland’s previous best first-year class was 215 in 2013.
The first-year class includes 118 students joining Lakeland’s new co-op program, far exceeding the goal the university had set for year one.
Lakeland’s co-op program allows students to work for local employers and gain 12-18 months of professional work experience prior to graduation. Students can use wages they earn to pay their tuition, minimizing debt after graduation.
“The co-op model for educating students in a liberal arts setting will be economically sustainable for the majority of the families in this region of the Midwest,” said Lakeland President David Black.
“We introduced cooperative education as an alternative to the pathway available at most institutions, and clearly it resonated with students and their parents. Students with intellectual curiosity and the motivation to work should have the opportunity to complete an arts and sciences education that includes experiential learning and that leaves them with little or no debt,” Dr. Black explained.
Lakeland’s founding employer partners include: Aurora Health Care, Bemis, Blue Harbor Resort, Clifton Larson Allen, Destination Kohler, Inspire Sheboygan County, Johnsonville, Masters Gallery, The Osthoff Resort, Sargento, Schenck, Sun Graphics Media, United Way of Sheboygan County, and Vollrath.
“We’re providing them with the human capital needed to help them achieve their operating and growth goals, which is part of the reason we exist,” President Black said. “We’re excited with the reception co-op has received from employers. They play a critical role in delivering work opportunities for our co-op students.”