For the City Times
Addresses students’ varying financial needs
WISCONSIN RAPIDS – The Mid-State Technical College Foundation is partnering with area businesses to offer a new funding opportunity that helps students obtain their degree from Mid-State and enter an in-demand career with little or no student debt.
The innovative program, called “Sponsor a Scholar,” matches motivated students interested in skilled hands-on careers with businesses willing to invest in their education and employ them immediately after graduation. If selected for Sponsor a Scholar, students will receive up to $10,000 toward the cost of their program, including tuition, fees, books and tools. For many students this will be 100 percent of the cost of their degree.
Businesses who choose to participate will select one or more students to sponsor from a pool of screened applicants and agree to hire their sponsored students upon graduation. Selected students are required to meet and maintain performance criteria while earning their degree, such as minimum GPA and degree selection—as determined by their sponsor. They will also commit to working for their sponsoring business for one or two years immediately following graduation, depending on the length of their academic program.
“The cost to recruit and train a new employee can be as high as 60 percent of that employee’s salary,” said Jill Steckbauer, director of Foundation and Alumni at Mid-State. “Sponsor a Scholar costs employers far less, and they can add to those savings by providing internships as part of their sponsorship. They’ll be able to tailor the student’s training to their needs in the workplace, long before the official hire date.”
The program, now in its infancy, is already generating excitement with the many area businesses looking to reduce training costs and hire people with the right hands-on experience. “Sponsor a Scholar helps talented students discover the great jobs available right here at home and ensures we’re able to hire the skilled technicians we need,” said Tom Radenz, owner and senior consultant at REI Engineering, Inc., in Wausau.
Students hoping to attain a college degree with little or no debt are equally enthusiastic about the Sponsor a Scholar. Jade Fletcher, Plover, is one of the first Mid-State students to be chosen for sponsorship in the program. Currently working on her associate degree in the Civil Engineering Technology-Highway Technician program, Fletcher started an internship as a surveyor this summer with her future employer, REI Engineering, Inc.
“By paying for my schooling and guaranteeing me a job after graduation, Sponsor a Scholar is helping me get to where I want to be,” said Fletcher. “It’s a big weight off my shoulders, knowing I will graduate debt free, and at the same time my future employer can be satisfied knowing my education and training will positively impact their business.”
The Foundation is accepting inquiries now from students thinking of starting a program at Mid-State as well as from businesses interested in sponsoring. Visit www.mstc.edu/sponsor-scholar or contact Steckbauer directly at (715) 422-5322 to learn more.