Lakeland University and its Cooperative Education program received a state grant for more than $225,000 as part of Wisconsin's Commute to Careers grant program.
The funding will allow Lakeland to build a more robust transportation program that will especially aid students participating in Lakeland's Cooperative Education program. Lakeland will receive $111,637 as a program grant and $117,000 to purchase vehicles which will be used as student shuttles.
"With the growth in the Cooperative Education program, we have seen a dramatic increase in the need for employment-related transportation as many of our students do not have vehicles on campus," said Lakeland Chief Operating Officer Rich Haen.
Changes with Lakeland's shuttle program are expected prior to the start of the spring semester, Haen said.
Lakeland's award was part of 29 grants totaling more than $5.1 million awarded under the Commute to Careers program, a multi-agency initiative to eliminate transportation barriers for workers seeking to advance their careers or enter the workforce. The program is funded by the Wisconsin Departments of Workforce Development (DWD) and Transportation (WisDOT).
Lakeland's rural Sheboygan County campus is an ideal fit. The university will use the grant dollars to enhance services to students and purchase more vehicles that will be used to shuttle students to and from work.
"Co-op is an economic driver for this area, as we have created a new talent pool for regional employers who are struggling to fill jobs," Haen said. "As we recruit more students who participate in co-op, we know the demand for transportation will increase. This grant money will help us provide services our students need so we can deliver the benefits of co-op to students and employers."