Sentry Insurance developing tech program for UWSP students - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Sentry Insurance developing tech program for UWSP students

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STEVENS POINT (WAOW) -

Instead of applying to jobs after college, what if the employer recruited you in between classes?

Nine UW Stevens Point students may have that opportunity after being selected to work for a new information technology co-op program with Sentry Insurance, blocks away from the college campus.

A similar program has already been successful at UW Madison. 

Students will be taught by Sentry Insurance employees, once the company renovates the former "Blonde and Beyond" hair salon space on 1105 Main St. in Stevens Point. 

The students will be employed part-time by the company and paid $18 an hour.

Students will learn new applications in the I.T. industry, and some of their finished work will be implemented by Sentry. 

"The work that they do will make its way into production, used by end-users, our national accounts, clients, consumers, and everybody else," explained Jeremy Kleifgen, an I.T. applications director for Sentry. "That's pretty exciting, if you're a student." 

Sentry leaders said that the students who do well in the program will be offered jobs when they graduate.

"Our hope is that for a number of students who are interested in staying in Central Wisconsin, that this is a transition into full-time employment as well," explained Tim Krause, the UWSP department of computing and new media technologies chair.

Sentry Insurance also donated $34,000 to UWSP, which will fund more education and technology resources. 

"They need more students coming through, so you need more professors to cover more students, and then secondly you need new specialization where there's some technologies or new capabilities they need to teach students," said Jim Frank, the vice president of information technology at Sentry. 

Sentry Insurance will begin renovations as early as next week, and hopes to start the co-op program by June.

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