About the Program
At its core, this new cooperative education program supports work force and economic development in Northeast Nebraska. Students will be selected for the cooperative education program from the incoming freshmen class for Fall 2021 to reside in a community of learners at Wayne State where they will receive a prescribed and accelerated curriculum that will arm them with the knowledge as well as the soft skills to work in a business during their senior year. The selection process will begin immediately. You must be passionate about earning a degree in either business, computer science or computer information systems, electronic media, or journalism and want an opportunity to have a robust, hands-on learning experience that will allow you to remain in Northeast Nebraska.
During your first three years in Wayne, you'll also have the opportunity to engage with Norfolk business partners through site visits, job shadowing, and mentorships. In your senior year, you'll move to Norfolk where you will earn 18 credit hours by working for a Norfolk business for approximately 30 hours a week over a nine-month period. As part of the program, you'll be required to reside in housing in the downtown Norfolk area, which will provide you the opportunity to engage academically and socially with your peers. This portion of the program will help you 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.
To ensure you have financial support to remain focused on this program, there is a scholarship associated with the cooperative education initiative:
- $2,500 toward tuition your freshman year
- $3,000 toward tuition your sophomore year
- $3,500 toward tuition your junior year
- $5,000 toward tuition and up to $10,000 in housing your senior year
- All for a total scholarship package of $24,000
The Aksarben Foundation has agreed to support the first cohort of cooperative education scholars with a gift of $360,000.
About Growing Together: The cooperative education program is one of several strategies connected to the “Northeast Nebraska Growing Together” initiative that was developed as part of the Aksarben Foundation challenge to address the workforce crisis in Nebraska. Under the leadership of Mike Flood, former Speaker of the Nebraska Legislature and Aksarben board member, a group of community leaders identified six bold strategies to transform this region of Nebraska:
- Downtown development
- Founders in residence
- Cooperative scholarships
- Workforce retraining
- Artists in residence
- Early childhood education