Wayne State College
Artist rendering of Norfolk Aksarben Village

Career Scholars Program - Norfolk, Nebraska

Receive a generous scholarship package over four years and help grow Northeast Nebraska in this new cooperative education program. Apply by May 1, 2023, for the 2023-24 school year.

Reimagining cooperative education

Cooperative education is a method of combining classroom education with real work experience for college credit. At its core, the Career Scholars Cooperative Education Program supports workforce and economic development in Northeast Nebraska. To participate, you must be passionate about earning a degree in one of the eligible fields, and you must be committed to remain in Northeast Nebraska. Throughout the program, you'll participate in career readiness activities. During your senior year, you'll live in the downtown Norfolk area with your peers. This living experience will help you socially connect with the community and gain an appreciation for the many exciting social and cultural opportunities available in the city of Norfolk. Upon graduation, the goal is for you to be hired into full-time positions in Northeast Nebraska.

Cooperative education program benefits:

  • Receive a scholarship ranging from $2,000-$10,000 per year to cover tuition and housing
  • Earn college credit while getting paid to work during your senior year
  • Gain real-world experience in your career field
  • Network with businesses to find and secure meaningful employment after graduation
  • Practice skills learned in class
  • Develop relationships with like-minded students in a community living environment
  • Discover your place after college and grow into a vibrant community

Program details

Learn by doing

Your journey as a cooperative education student begins your freshman year at Wayne State College. During your time here, you’ll participate in career readiness activities, including business site visits and job shadowing, all while learning the fundamentals of professional practice. After three years on campus at Wayne State, you’ll complete your senior year while living in downtown Norfolk, where you’ll be hired and mentored by one of our participating business cohorts. You’ll earn 18 credit hours while working 30 hours per week at a paid job using skills relevant to your degree.

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Freshman year

  • Participate in a freshman living-learning community.
  • Learn the foundations of cooperative education and career readiness
  • Learn and demonstrate the competencies desired most by employers
  • Network with Norfolk business leaders

Sophomore year

  • Participate in a sophomore living-learning community
  • Work on soft skill development while employer engagement continues
  • Opportunities for professional development and upskilling
  • Mentor incoming program freshmen

Junior year

  • Continue soft skill and career readiness development with Career Services
  • Participate in mock interviews and job interviews and engage with businesses
  • Collaborate with employers, faculty, and co-op director to define learning outcomes
  • Have an employer hire and mentor you, and begin the senior year onboarding process

Senior year

  • Transition to co-op employment in Norfolk
  • Work up to 30 hours per week and “learn by doing” with hands-on experience
  • Collaborate with the co-op director and employer to ensure learning objectives are met
  • Have regular meetings with the co-op director and complete mid-term and final reflections

Get a full-time job earning a competitive wage by the time you graduate

Explore different employers, make money, and earn college credit while working in your chosen career field. The Growing Together Career Scholars Program offers a full-ride tuition scholarship during your senior year of college. You'll get to live in a community with your peers and friends you've already made, and you'll get to live in a town that's committed to cultivating an environment for young professionals to live and thrive.


"This is such an amazing opportunity, and I just couldn’t pass it up. I thought this program was important because it really gives me a head start. I knew it was going to get me ahead in life and that I’d be doing bigger and greater things - things my peers might not be doing. By my senior year of college, I will have a paying job in my field of study, which just seems incredible. I will stay in Northeast Nebraska because I will have made so many new connections. To me, Northeast Nebraska has such welcoming towns. No matter what part you’re in, it’s always so homey, and I always feel welcome wherever I go."


Aubree Howell

Hometown: Omaha, Neb.
Major: Business Administration (Marketing)

Artist rendering of downtown Norfolk



Together, we can grow Northeast Nebraska

Northeast Nebraska is committed to retaining its young professionals - our future workforce. The city of Norfolk has invested $40 million in its downtown riverfront toward the transformation of downtown Norfolk in an effort to help retain young people.

Growing Together Initiative

Questions? Contact:

Dr. Michael Keibler
Executive Director of Cooperative Education, Industry Liaison
Hahn Administration, Room 208
[email protected]