Co-Op Education at Lakeland University

Traditional (Main Campus)

Award Winning Cooperative Education Program

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 offering Cooperative Education for all students.

Employer partners from a wide variety of professional work environments and industries are eagerly collaborating with Lakeland to hire well-prepared, highly motivated students. There are many benefits to students participating in Lakeland’s Cooperative Education program:

  • Earn up to 30 credits for work experiences (equivalent of a full year of school).
    • Most schools only offer students up to six academic credits for work experience.
  • Graduate with 12-18 months of professional work experience, often in your academic major.
  • Earn academic credit for your work, keeping you on track to graduate in four years.
    • Other schools that offer Cooperative Education have a five year path to graduation
  • Earn money for school. Combined with scholarships, the money you’ll earn from working can help you graduate with little or no debt. Lakeland provides financial advising to help students manage their earnings and educational expenses.


Don't Miss Out On Your College Experience

Most students come to Lakeland with a strong work ethic they have developed at home and through work experiences. Lakeland’s Cooperative Education program builds upon that base as we make an investment in each student and help them prepare for life after graduation.

Worried you'll miss out on "college life"? You won’t! Cooperative Education works around your schedule, so you are free to join a sport, the band, the choir, student organizations, get a role in the play or participate in one of our many program-specific organizations. By earning academic credit for your work, we keep you on track to graduate in four years!

Employer Partners Across Wisconsin

Employer partners from across the state of Wisconsin, and a wide variety of professional work environments and industries, are eagerly collaborating with Lakeland to hire well-prepared, highly motivated students.

No matter the pathway students choose, our Cooperative Education & Career Readiness team will help connect them with our powerful career network to land a job at one of the area's top companies.

Lakeland University thanks the following Co-Op founding business and networking partners. Click here to view a comprehensive list of all our recent partners that have employed our students

Recent Cooperative Education Experiences

Learn more about some of our student's recent Co-Op experiences!

Cooperative Education is helping Amanda, a Lakeland sophomore, put together a clear career path and acquire the skills she will need to succeed.

She recently completed her role 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.

This placement 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,” Amanda said. “Teamwork is key. Communication is essential. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or admit mistakes. I learned a lot from this experience.”

When Lakeland introduced the nation’s first food safety and quality bachelor’s degree program, it provided Ryan 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.

Ryan 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, Ryan 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, he 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.

Sophomore, Sterling, 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.

Sterling, 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.

He 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, he was also introduced to the Mishicot Public Safety Cadets program, a pre-academic opportunity that he plans to continue.

Sarah 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 served as assistant food and beverage manager during her Co-Op experience.

Sarah 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, Sarah 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 she will be working at The Blind Horse in a food/beverage role to continue building her skill set.

Lao 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, Lao improved his soft skills. He said being willing to learn, communicating well and being self-motivated were all key to a solid experience.

Lao 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.

positioned for management-level jobs

Earn Knowledge & Experience

Lakeland graduates who complete the Co-Op program will be well-positioned for management-level jobs and they will possess the following skills which are highly sought by employers:

  • Critical Thinking
  • Problem Solving
  • Professionalism
  • Work Ethic
  • Oral/Written Communications
  • Teamwork
  • Collaboration
  • Leadership
  • Technical Skills
  • Global/Multicultural Understanding

We also teach our students money management skills that they’ll use the rest of their lives, as Co-Op gives them a healthy and strong foundation for financial stability.

incorporating work experiences into an academic experience

We Value Work

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 … In other words, it’s a better way to learn!

Employers are actively developing their future pipeline of talent and directly influencing the education of students entering their professions. Co-Op provides an opportunity for both students and employers to “test-drive” organizational fit.

Launch: Lakeland Student-Run Businesses

Launch: Lakeland Student-Run Businesses

Next Generation of Emerging Leaders

Launch: Lakeland University Student-Run Businesses currently operates 4 successful businesses by a team of students who create, develop, and manage the everyday finances and operation of both on-campus and off-campus business ventures, while our permanent staff, mentors and advises the student leaders. We are uniquely positioning Launch leaders for post-graduation employment and creating tomorrow’s entrepreneurs.

To learn more about Launch’s businesses or its impact on LU students, click the button below.

Learn More

Have questions about the Co-Op Education program? Please fill out this form and someone will be in contact with you.


By submitting this form, I acknowledge that Lakeland may contact me regarding the programs in which I am interested.