Continued co-op success

Continued co-op success

Salaries have increased along with demand for co-op students


Seven-fold? Try 70-fold. Since its inception in 1982, UW-Stout's cooperative education program has increased nearly that much. Eight students were employed at eight companies when the program started, Howard Slinden, coordinator of cooperative education, said. Slinden's annual report for 1994-95 notes that 541 students were employed at 321 companies.

Student salaries have, of course, increased too, but even just in the last year, Slinden reports that student salaries have increased "significantly." Co-op students in the School of Liberal Studies applied math program, the highest paid area, averaged $12.40 an hour during their co-op employment. Other high-paying areas were in the School of Industry and Technology with product development students averaging $11.28 an hour and packaging students, $10.94.

"Salaries have increased along with demand for co-op students," Slinden said. He noted that there were three jobs for every packaging student.

"Companies want part-time employees with enthusiasm and fresh ideas," Slinden said, "and Stout students offer that."

Slinden said companies also want co-op students because it gives them a pool of job applicants to choose from. "You can get a pretty good idea of an applicant's performance and potential after they've worked for you for four months," he noted.

Companies from A to Z, from all over the country, participate in the program-from Amana Refrigeration to Zaug's Food Service Inc. Cray Research, in Chippewa Falls, Wis.; IBM and Rollerblade, of Minnesota; and Marriot hotels all over the country are just a few of the well-known companies that employ UW-Stout students. "Target has been pleased with Stout students and has hired a number of them," Slinden said.

Each year cooperative education "Students of the Year" are chosen from various fields. Dana L. Pischke, industrial technology-packaging, was chosen in that area. "Cooperative education is a program that brings out the best in people, as it did in me!" she said.

"This whole experience built not only on my packaging, engineering, organization and communication skills, but built my confidence as an individual and a professional," Dana added.

Students, employers and the university all benefit. "The cooperative education program at Stout is an excellent example of a working partnership between employers and a university," Slinden said. "UW-Stout has long recognized the value of practical work experience to strengthen university programs."

Outlook Winter '96