Lakeland receives $100,000 grant from Bader Philanthropies, Inc
Lakeland has received a grant for $100,000 from Bader Philanthropies, Inc., of Milwaukee to fund a portion of its innovative Milwaukee Co-Op Year program, which allows students to try college for a year tuition free.
The funds will help cover the cost of the program’s learning coordinator, as well as books, transportation and other expenses for the 2022-23 academic year.
Milwaukee Co-Op Year is an expansion of LU’s Cooperative Education program, which allows students to work full- and part-time jobs at Co-Op partner companies while earning academic credit for their work. Students can use the wages they earn to pay their tuition and graduate with little or no college debt. They also complete courses in essential skill areas, including writing, mathematics, business and finance, and critical thinking.
“Milwaukee Co-Op allows students to test-drive the college experience and see if it’s right for them while clarifying career and educational aspirations without taking on debt,” said Lakeland President Beth Borgen. “At Lakeland, we understand that higher education has to adapt to meet the realities of students and their families. We are grateful to Bader Philanthropies for their support in helping us make this program possible.”
Jobs and classes are cohorted providing students the ability to support one another. Students learn the soft skills employers are seeking through personal mentoring, job coaching and placement assistance. Lakeland also provides students with transportation.
This past school year, 12 students participated in Milwaukee Co-Op through Lakeland’s Milwaukee Center. Students worked part-time jobs with employer partners such as Usinger’s, Wisconsin Steel and Tube, North Central Group and Christian Hansen.
Lakeland’s goal for the coming academic year is to at least double the size of the program.
After completing this Co-Op year, students can continue at Lakeland in Milwaukee or at LU’s main campus to pursue a two- or four-year degree. Students can also transfer to another institution with the 28-31 academic credits they have earned or continue into the workforce with a year of experience.
Borgen said locating the program at LU’s Milwaukee Center provides accessibility for students who would like to begin their post-secondary education but cannot afford the expenses associated with attending a traditional residential institution.
“Milwaukee Co-Op seeks to address economic barriers to college attendance faced by students in Milwaukee and the region,” Borgen said. “By providing greater access to the academic and personal growth afforded by higher education, we can enhance social mobility and quality of life.”