Cooperative education is an exciting new way to earn a Lakeland degree, earn valuable professional experience and control the cost of college. Lakeland is the only school in the Midwest fully offering cooperative education.
Employer partners from a wide variety of professional work environments and industries are eagerly collaborating with Lakeland to hire well-prepared, highly motivated students. Benefits to students participating in the cooperative education program are as follows:
By incorporating work experiences into an academic experience, you’ll see the link between what you learn in the classroom and the job you’re performing in the workplace. We’ll also teach you the skills employees seek that will help you develop as a professional.
Employers are actively developing their future pipeline of talent and directly influencing the education of students entering their professions.
Lakeland's award-winning Co-Op program is administered by the University's Career Readiness & Cooperative Education staff and supervised by a faculty member.
View the dropdowns below and learn more about some of our student's co-op experiences!
Amanda Brandt is just a sophomore, but cooperative education is helping her put together a clear career path and acquire the skills she will need to succeed.
Brandt recently completed a services internship at Acuity in Sheboygan, Wis., which allowed her to learn more about the culture of the popular, growing employer. In fact, this business administration and marketing major’s goal is to land a full-time job in branding or communications at Acuity.
Her internship allowed her to sample a variety of roles, including billing, insurance policy assembly, personal lines processing, claims indexing and assisting in the mailroom and on the switchboard.
She came away with confidence in her skills and a great appreciation for the soft skills that employers strongly value. “Attitude is everything,” Brandt said. “Teamwork is key. Communication is essential. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or admit mistakes. I learned a lot from this experience.”
Pine River Pre-Pack
When Lakeland introduced the nation’s first food safety and quality bachelor’s degree program, it provided senior Ryan Hoey with the career path he was looking for.
Hoey recently completed a cooperative education experience at Pine River Pre-Pack in Newton, Wis., and the food safety and quality major now has a binder full of experience to show prospective employers – literally. Among the tasks he accomplished was writing work instructions, giving him experience in technical writing, a career path he’s considering.
Hoey worked as a food safety and quality leader at the maker of award-winning cheese spreads and confections, which allowed him to pick orders for shipment, conduct workplace analysis and environmental monitoring.
He also learned a lot of insight on the supply chain of a food manufacturer, knowledge of good manufacturing processes and the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) management system. He plans to work toward HACCP certification and certification by the Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance (FSPCA).
This spring, Hoey will be working in a part-time position in supply quality at Sargento, further expanding his skill set and networking base.
In addition to working his co-op job, Hoey has enjoyed being very active at Lakeland. He’s a member of the University Band, marching band, drumline, Lakeland Theater, and he serves as a Campus Admissions Ambassador and is a member of the Zeta Chi fraternity.
Stefanie H. Weill Center for the Performing Arts // Above & Beyond Children’s Museum
Lakeland sophomore Angela Carollo’s career path will require her to find ways to make customers happy.
Her cooperative education jobs with the Sheboygan’s Stefanie H. Weill Center for the Performing Arts and Above & Beyond Children’s Museum gave her a lot of experience in understanding customer needs.
The graphic design major put her skills to the test at the Weill Center where she helped design show programs, fundraising pieces, posters, fliers and other work. It was a hands-on job that allowed her to learn customer preferences as she delved more into the creative process and time management.
At Above & Beyond, she was on the front line working the front desk and working with children, which allowed her to hone her communication and customer service skills.
She’ll continue in both roles until the end of her sophomore year. “I’m gathering a lot of experience and I really like it,” Carollo said. “I’ve never had a job where I could work with my graphic design skills before now.”
Fox Hills Resort
Sophomore Sterling Gardner plans for a career in law enforcement. His recent cooperative education job at Fox Hills Resort in Mishicot, Wis., challenged him with some real-world situations to help him prepare.
Gardner, a criminal justice major, worked a night security position which let him encounter everything from a guest locked in their bathroom to a possible condo break-in, which required him to investigate the room and interview witnesses.
Gardner spent most of his time in the hotel area, but also served the resort’s condos, bar/restaurant, convention center and golf course as needed. He learned a variety of skills including note taking and writing reports, problem solving, time management and working autonomously.
This spring, he is living at home, which will further allow him to maximize scheduling to get the most out of his co-op job at Fox Hills.
As part of this experience, Gardner was also introduced to the Mishicot Public Safety Cadets program, a pre-academic opportunity that he plans to continue.
Erin Hills Golf Course
Sarah Lotz had already logged some great experience at Erin Hills Golf Course before transferring to Lakeland. LU’s cooperative education program helped her take her role to a new level.
The senior hospitality management major started worked at Erin Hills in 2017. She came to LU from the University of Wisconsin-Fond du Lac, and she served as assistant food and beverage manager during her co-op experience.
Lotz supervised morning operations at the outdoor venues and filled in serving roles as needed at the venue’s five food/beverage locations. Focuses for her work included being personable and professional, teamwork and communication, all skills that are critical for her career path.
She also learned to be prepared for the unexpected, be willing to step up and perform any task and, as a supervisor, to understand the relationships needed between staff and managers.
As for a specific career path, Lotz is exploring both a corporate setting and county club setting as an event planning and coordinator. “I got a taste of that over the summer and really liked it,” she said.
Next up for Lotz will be working at The Blind Horse in a food/beverage role to continue building her skill set.
Lakeland University - IT Department
Lao Chang entered his cooperative education job with Lakeland’s IT Department with limited relevant skills, but wrapped up his experience with a wealth of knowledge.
The sophomore who is double majoring in computer science and math was part of the IT student staff and tasked with a variety of roles, including responding to calls to the IT help desk, troubleshooting computer issues and learning more about Lakeland’s network.
Along with the hands-on knowledge, Chang improved his soft skills. He said being willing to learn, communicating well and being self-motivated were all key to a solid experience.
Chang also had an opportunity to connect with Lakeland graduate Devin Equitz, an IT support specialist at Viking Masek Global Packaging Technologies, to learn more about his career path and gain some sound advice.
The Osthoff Resort
Connor Siemers is no stranger to hard work. The Lakeland sophomore grew up on a dairy farm where he has worked since he was 6.
When he started his college search, Lakeland’s Cooperative Education program was attractive because he could put his strong work ethic to good use in positioning himself to have limited debt when he graduated.
Siemers spent the fall in a co-op role at The Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake, Wis., as part of the housekeeping and laundry team. He also spent time working in water sports. It was a great opportunity to learn a variety of soft skills and the importance of high quality customer service.
“Sell the smile, even on days when you’re not having a great day,” Siemers said.
In 2020, Siemers hopes to land a position working at the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits, and he plans to take the Ryder Cup special topics course that Lakeland will be offering in the spring.
Caddie Management Enterprises
Henry Wojtczak has his sights set of being a golf caddy and traveling the country when he graduates. The junior is loading his resume with experience at one of the top public golf courses in the country.
Wojtczak caddied as part of a cooperative education job at Whistling Straits, the home of the 2020 Ryder Cup, working for Caddie Management Enterprises, which provides caddies for courses all over the country.
And the self-proclaimed introvert was pushed outside his comfort zone in a job that required him to interact with guests for 4-5 hours and make sure they had a great experience.
“I got really good at approaching guests and carrying on conversations over a long period of time,” Wojtczak said. “There were some great networking opportunities.”
The job is demanding. Caddies carry two bags for eight to 16 miles, and they need to be able to help guests navigate the nuances of the Irish and Straits courses at Whistling. The weather, especially along the Lake Michigan shoreline, can make things extra challenging.
Caddies are paid by the bag and also get tips, the latter which Wojtczak said accounted for about 70 percent of his earnings and is helping him pay for school.
In addition to gaining experience through his co-op, Wojtczak has been mentored by 2007 Lakeland graduate Ryan Bork, the golf professional at Town and Country Golf Course in Sheboygan, Wis.
Wojtczak hopes to enroll in the PGA’s Management Program to go with his growing experience so he can make his career dreams a reality.