Dakota Wesleyan University’s new Learn & Earn program, in partnership with businesses and industries in the Pierre region, will officially launch August 2021.
DWU’s Learn & Earn program, which will be housed in Pierre, is an affordable and efficient 16-month path to a professional career and associate degree for students with the opportunity to complete a bachelor’s degree. The curriculum is designed to prepare students to fill professional roles in Pierre and surrounding areas all while earning professional certifications. The program integrates learning with professional work experience. Students enrolled in the program are eligible to participate in a year-long, part-time, paid internship while completing their professional certificates.
Students will first enroll in courses that focus on the foundations of organizations and business. After four months of professional readiness courses, the program is designed so that students will be in the classroom three days per week, while working in their paid internship two days per week. After eight months, students will switch to three days per week on the job, and two days per week in the classroom.
“DWU recognizes that the traditional approach to college doesn’t work for everyone,” said Fredel Thomas, vice president of admissions and marketing. “The Learn & Earn program provides an opportunity to reimagine what higher education can look like. Allowing students to earn college credits and work toward a degree, while simultaneously earning on-the-job, professional experience will prove to be invaluable in today’s job market. Not to mention that students will be getting a pay check while they go to school.”
Through the program, each student will also be paired with a personalized and professional career coach to assist them throughout the program. The coach is the student’s liaison for whatever they need to be successful. Each coach will assist with engagement of classroom learning, playing a central role in the evaluation of student progress at the internship site.
DWU admissions reps will be in Pierre on Wednesday Nov. 4, speaking to local high schoolers about the Learn & Earn program and answering questions.
“Meeting people where they are while still making sure everyone has access to an education was really the driving force behind the program, and the Pierre community is embracing that idea,” said Thomas.
For more information regarding DWU’s Learn & Earn program or to apply, visit www.dwu.edu/academics/learn-earn. Information is readily available for students, business partners and coaches.