Cooperative Education at Lakeland University

We value work and the learning that happens in the workplace

Experience Education Your Way

Experiential education is just what it sounds like — gain real-world knowledge and earn your degree through numerous learning opportunities.

Lakeland University students have access to a variety of pathways, and each one can be customized to meet your needs. Whether you are a seasoned professional or new to the world of work, Lakeland's award-winning Cooperative Education program has an option for you!

Why Cooperative Education?

At Lakeland, we believe:

  • Students learn best by doing and reflecting on their experiences
  • The traditional classroom is not the only place to gain impactful knowledge
  • The learning environment in a classroom is enhanced by students who have more real world experiences to draw upon
  • Students should be able to graduate college without a mountain of tuition debt
  • A quality college education is still the single most determining factor for upward social mobility
  • A quality college education should be financially accessible
Weekly Earnings & Unemployment Rates By Educational Attainment

More Education Equals More Opportunities

Value of a 4-Year Degree

College graduates on average earn more money and are less likely to be unemployed than those without a degree.

Work? College? Choose Both!

We Value Work

Don’t choose between work and college … do both! At Lakeland University we value work – and the learning that happens in the workplace. Through our award-winning Cooperative Education program, students gain real-world knowledge and earn academic credit for hands-on professional work experience. Coursework is centered around your real-life experiences, situations and career goals.

Lakeland is equipped to help you discover your direction at a pace you’re completely comfortable with – while also ensuring you don’t take on unnecessary student-debt.

Customize Your Education … Your Way

There’s more than one way to get a college education and Lakeland offers them all.

Education doesn’t only take place in a traditional classroom setting. At Lakeland University, there are numerous places and ways to learn!

Explore the different ways you can earn credits toward your education. Don’t see one that fits for you? Contact an admissions counselor – and we will help customize an option that will.

Attend Lakeland’s main campus in Sheboygan County through a traditional college experience - all while offsetting the cost of tuition through wages and scholarships over four years.

  • Earn up to 30 credits for work experiences (equivalent of a full year).
    • 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.
  • Take control of your finances. 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 you manage your earnings and educational expenses.

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!

High school graduates looking for a traditional college experience

Learn More

Earn academic credit toward your degree for existing and future work projects that benefit you and your employer! Whether its projects you’re already doing or much-needed tasks your boss doesn’t have time for – only Lakeland lets you earn academic credit for real-time work projects. Students work on solutions to real workplace problems and challenges, benefiting today’s companies and developing tomorrow’s next great innovators!

Lakeland has partnered with many businesses and organizations throughout the state of Wisconsin, many of which provide discounted tuition rates and tuition reimbursement benefits. Contact an admissions advisor at to learn more.

Learn More

Many students come to the classroom with a wealth of knowledge and experience from their professional lives. Lakeland will help you earn credit for that prior learning! You can earn up to 30 undergraduate credits for documented evidence of experiential learning.

Learn More

Lakeland has created a new pathway for Milwaukee-area students who cannot attend our residential campus in Sheboygan Co. due to distance or other barriers.

The Milwaukee Co-Op Year provides an innovative solution by giving students an exploratory first-year collegiate experience students. Students will take 100% tuition-funded courses at Lakeland's Milwaukee Center for their first year. Lakeland will help students find a good-paying part-time job at one of our area employer partners – allowing students to choose work and college.

Who is this program designed for?

  • I don't know exactly what I should do after graduating high school.
  • I'm not sure if I'm ready for college after COVID made my senior year a challenge.
  • My family needs me to stay in Milwaukee.
  • I want to stay in Milwaukee to save on room and board costs of college.
  • I think I want to go to college, but I think I should work for a year to save up first.
  • I want to go to college, but I don't know how I'm going to pay for it.
  • I want to go to college, but I don't know what I should study.
Learn More

After graduating high school it’s common for students to be unsure what they want to do. Choosing a college is a difficult decision. Choosing whether you should join the workforce or attend college is even more difficult. Luckily, at Lakeland University you don’t have to choose – you can do both!

Lakeland University and local employers have partnered to create an easy way for students in Sheboygan County to get on the road to a bachelor’s degree – at little to no cost!

This innovative solution gives students an exploratory first-year collegiate experience. After year one, students will have several pathways to move forward, and Lakeland will provide personal mentoring to help individual students develop the best plan for their future.


  • Competitive wages
  • May be eligible for tuition benefits

To learn more, please contact an admissions counselor at or fill out the form below. 

Learn More

Unsure what option is best for you? Fill out the form below and an admissions counselor will work with you to better understand your academic and career goals and customize an option to meet your needs.

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

Have questions about experiential education? Please fill out this form and someone will be in contact with you.