Sentry Insurance Cooperative Initiative
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point: University-Business Partnership to Foster Information Technology Talent through Cooperative Opportunities for Undergraduates
This overview outlines the components of the Cooperative opportunity, process for attracting talent, early results, and future plans from a significant collaboration involving University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP) and Sentry Insurance. The description of the partnership also places the Cooperative in the context of a variety of coordinated and intentional initiatives all designed to ensure Central Wisconsin employers can attract, train and retain the talent they need given pressing demands for more employees with strong information technology (IT) backgrounds.
This study is significant due to the more rural setting for the Cooperative, and its embeddedness in broader efforts by the University, local businesses and other institutions of higher education in the region.
Performance results realized include a significant investment in renovating space for the Cooperative in downtown Stevens Point, the attraction of new businesses to downtown Stevens Point, and the growth of the number of students participating in the Cooperative from 9 students to 18 students in positions that didn’t previously exist, and generating approximately $220,000 in livable wages to the local economy annually. For many student-participants, the cooperative leads to direct full-time employment upon graduation. Initially intended for programmers, the cooperative has been extended to students specializing in information assurance and security.
UEDA Awards of Excellence Finalists presented at the Annual Summit in Milwaukee on October 22 and 23, 2018. Summit attendees then voted for the best initiative in each category.