State leaders tour Sentry’s IT Co-op
By Taylor J. Hale
STEVENS POINT – Wisconsin leaders had a chance to tour the Sentry IT Co-op in downtown Stevens Point on May 24.
Workforce Development Secretary Caleb Frostman and Representative Katrina Shankland visited the progressive facility to learn more about what Sentry brings to the community. The co-op, established in 2016, gives UW-Stevens Point (UWSP) students a chance to work alongside experienced mentors while accomplishing real-world projects for Sentry. Giving students experience and creating a skilled workforce in, and for, Portage County.
“We just had six students graduate, and we were very fortunate, all six of them decided to go to Sentry full-time,” said Steven Fox, Sentry IT Co-op manager.
The primary goal of the program is to prepare undergraduates for the IT workforce. Many of the participants in the co-op continue to full-time positions at Sentry. Students are encouraged to work up to 40 hours at the facility during summer months but are recommended to cut back to 12-19 hours during the school year.
Around 40 participants have gone through the program since its inception – 18 of which have taken full-time work at Sentry and are still with the company.
Fox and his peers hope to see the program expand.
“We can actually fit 24 students total,” Fox said about the co-op. “There are only 15 active students with us now. We would like to grow. We are not turning away students when we find someone that’s a good fit.”
Shankland sees the co-op as a means to attract future students to UWSP.
“Working with other employers to show young girls and boys about this career path, and having a great family-supporting job in a lovely community, I think is part of the key to getting students to come to UWSP,” she stated.
Sentry also operates a similar co-op in Madison. The Stevens Point IT Co-op is located at 1105 Main Street.