Wayne State College
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Career Scholars Program: Columbus

Receive a generous scholarship package, and work at a job in your field for college credit during your senior year while living in Columbus, Neb.
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 Columbus cohort of Career Scholars Program supports workforce and economic development in 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 the Columbus region. Throughout the program, you'll participate in career readiness activities. During your senior year, you'll live in the Columbus 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 Columbus. Upon graduation, the goal is for you to be hired into full-time positions in 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 Columbus, Nebraska, 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 business leaders in Columbus, Nebraska

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 Columbus, Nebraska
  • 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

"I have always enjoyed the energizing force that interns and recent graduates bring to my company.  Their enthusiasm, desire to learn and openness to new ideas are both contagious and challenging.  I am grateful to be a part of the Wayne State College's Cooperative Education Program as we develop relationships with career-ready students to improve our business and our community."


Scott Mueller

Owner - Samson, LLC.
Columbus, Neb.

Questions? Contact:

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