Employer Co-op Information

Career Services
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Become a Co-op Employer

General Co-op Program Overview

Co-op position Requirements:

  • Paid work experience (hourly/stipend)
  • Work a minimum of 320 total hours (per semester of enrollment)
  • Position is related to major and approved by faculty

Basic Program Requirements

Students are expected to gain practical experience in their field of study and should have a mentor and/or supervisor who has expertise in the same or similar field.

Students work 20 – 40 or more hours per week.  Most UW-Stout students work full-time (40+ hrs).  Students working 40 or more hours per week will maintain full-time student status @ UW-Stout.

Students are expected to work at the employer’s office or project location.  

It is up to the employer to determine the proper classification for the student; however, UW-Stout does not support co-op students being hired as independent contractors.

Employers are required to provide any technology/software/equipment the student will need to perform their job.

Benefits of Hosting a Co-op Student

Bottom line
Co-op is an effective way to develop high quality future employees while keeping cost down

UW-Stout polytechnic approach allows Co-op students bring innovative ideas, energy and a fresh perspective to the workplace

Year-around access
Co-op allows for employers to fill positions all year students can enroll any term or combination of terms (Fall, Spring and Summer)

Return on Investment (ROI)
Develop a pool of qualified candidates building a pipeline to potential professional employees with an improved employee retention

Engagement in our Co-op program allows employers an opportunity to develop deep a partnerships with UW-Stout. Employer feedback is essential to our academic program success. Many of our Co-op employers serve on Program Advisory Boards.  

Responsibility of the Co-op Employer

  • Provide a supervised work experience related to a program offered by UW-Stout
  • Provide a position description relating to the program showing types of learning experiences and responsibilities. UW-Stout faculty mentors must approve the position for college credit. While the description can be brief, some specifics are very helpful
  • Select student employees through interviews or by evaluating applications
  • Communicate with student regarding work schedules, supervision, safety regulations, appearance, personnel policies and other procedures
  • Supervise and evaluate work performance of co-op student
  • Communicate with university mentors and co-op staff for purposes of evaluation and program improvement, or in the case of dissatisfaction with student performance
  • Provide a work environment free from discrimination and harassment
  • Provide a safe work environment


Cooperative Education is a paid work experience. Salaries should be fair, competitive and commensurate with wages paid full-time employees for similar assignments with consideration for training and experience. Optional benefits are determined by the employer.

UW-Stout Data - Cooperative Education Annual Report

WI Employers - Co-op student wages are considered excluded for Unemployment Insurance purposes if the student is registered for academic credit through the University. Refer to Wisconsin State Unemployment Insurance Statute 108.02(15)j1 at https://my.unemployment.wisconsin.gov/, or call the Wisconsin Unemployment Insurance: Tax and Accounting Department at 608-261-6700.


Housing arrangements are the responsibility of the student. A number of employers provide assistance, which may be an attractive benefit to applicants.

Hiring International Students

All degree-seeking international students with an F-1 Visa status are eligible for the Co-op program. The Office of International Education (OIE) at University of Wisconsin - Stout has been granted authorization by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to issue Curricular Practical Training (CPT) for students in F-1 status.

International student employees hired by an employer will provide CPT, (on page 2 of SEVIS Form I-20) documentation stating their eligibility for the approved work period. CPT authorizations are location and date specific. International students in F-1 status, when employed on CPT assignment, are not required to obtain additional or separate work authorization. International Reform and Control Act requirements apply when hiring international students.

For more information, please refer to General Resources I-9 Central available at https://www.irs.gov/individuals/international-taxpayers/foreign-students-and-scholar

Recruitment Timeline

For Employment to Begin

Start Recruiting

Spring Semester (January-May)
Summer Semester (May-August)


Fall Semester (September-December)


Career Services is also flexible to meet employer and student needs.  Recruitment Calendar

Get Started – Post a Co-op Position

To post a Co-op, please fill out and submit this » Cooperative Education Program Position Description form. Once submitted, the position will be reviewed by faculty for approval. Once approved, you will be notified via e-mail. Sample Position Descriptions

Once your position is approved an employer account will be created in Careerlink. You will receive your log in information so you can begin using the system to source candidates, schedule on-campus interviews, register for recruitment events or post additional positions.

If you have a position in mind that does not fit these qualifications, please e-mail our recruitment coordinator Stef Jax @ jaxs@uwstout.edu to determine how you can best partner with UW-Stout.