Lakeland University Blog

Students begin Milwaukee Co-Op Year journey

Students begin Milwaukee Co-Op Year journey


Students begin Milwaukee Co-Op Year journey

A dozen students make up the inaugural student cohort enrolling in Lakeland University’s Milwaukee Co-Op Year, a new initiative for Milwaukee-area students who need an affordable pathway to college and some barriers removed to make it happen.

These students are taking tuition-free courses for one year, earning college credits by working through LU’s Cooperative Education program and developing a plan for their future.

The Milwaukee Co-Op year blends college coursework and paid employment for students who may be unsure whether they want to go on to college or work. It also provides an avenue for students who would like to begin their post-secondary education but need to work and cannot afford the expenses associated with attending a traditional residential institution.

Lakeland helps students find employment at one of Lakeland’s Milwaukee-area Co-Op employer partners, which includes Usinger’s and Wisconsin Steel & Tube. These select employers have committed to providing a work environment that supports a student’s learning and development and includes opportunities for training and ongoing feedback. Students will work an average of 24 hours per week.

In addition to their Co-Op placements, students are taking a full schedule of courses this fall, including Composition I, Introduction to Business, College Success Seminar and Professional Protocol at Lakeland's Milwaukee Center, located at 9000 W. Chester St. in Milwaukee. These courses prepare students for their experiential learning placement and academic studies.

The college success and professional protocol courses are taught by Breann Clark, a 2016 Lakeland graduate, was recently hired as learning coordinator for the Milwaukee Co-Op Year. She will mentor students individually, helping them develop their academic, professional and personal success plans. The full cohort will also meet with Clark to actively reflect on the connections between their coursework, experiential learning placement and personal success plans.

Clark received a Master of Science degree in transnational human services leadership from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 2019.

The Milwaukee Co-op Year will provide students with:

  • A 100% tuition-funded first year of college, along with tuition-funded pathways for a second, third and fourth year
  • A collegiate experience that blends a good-paying part-time job that also earning college credits through LU's Cooperative Education program, along with classwork designed to help students plan for their future.
  • Cohorted employment and courses that give students classmates to lean on and support.
  • Coaching and placement assistance with part-time employment.
  • Free transportation to the main campus to bring students to Lakeland sporting events, concerts, plays, musicals and other student life programs.
  • Opportunities to get mentoring from Milwaukee-area Lakeland graduates.

After year one, students will have several pathways, and Lakeland will provide personal mentoring to help individual students develop the best plan for their future. Choices include:

  • Earn a two-year or four-year degree from Lakeland in Milwaukee or on Lakeland's main campus.
  • Transfer to another college, including one of Lakeland’s Milwaukee technical college partners.
  • Continue into the workforce.

For more information, visit the program webpage.

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