Menards named inaugural Career Services Employer of the Year

Honor recognizes commitment to students through engagement, recruitment and hiring
Menards recruiters at a 2017 UW-Stout Career Conference. / UW-Stout photo
Pam Powers | May 18, 2021

University of Wisconsin-Stout’s Career Services wanted to recognize employers for their commitment to students through engagement, recruitment and hiring for co-ops, internships and full-time professional roles.

The inaugural Employer of the Year award was given to Menards during the Career Services Employer Recognition event held on May 4 virtually.

Katie Hauge photo
Katie Hauge / UW-Stout photo

“We wanted to bring everyone together to recognize employers who do a lot for our students,” said Katie Hauge, employer relations manager for Career Services. “Menards is highly engaged with us.”

The award was based on nearly two dozen weighted criteria, which included:

  • Consistently participating in Career Services recruitment events as well as additional career development programs and events to network with and hire UW-Stout students.
  • Build a professional talent pipeline through the Cooperative Education and Internship Program
  • Engage in campuswide activities that are share or reported to Careers Services. Some examples include collaborating with student organizations, supporting curriculum through capstone courses, classroom presentations and Program Advisory Committee participation

Menards takes part in the university Career Conferences, Employer in Residence program and Cooperative Education and Internship Program.

In the recent virtual Spring Career Conference, Menards representatives took part in individual, group and general information recruiting sessions.

About 300 alumni employed at Menards

Menards recently was also the first company to join the new Career Services Partnership Program at UW-Stout. The program works with employers to identify their strategic focus and build deeper connections with students and academic programs on campus.

Sponsors have different recruitment and engagement options at each level. Some include additional networking opportunities with students and campus partners, a spot on the Career Services Advisory board, greater visibility at the biannual career conferences, extra marketing and more.

Bethany Henthorn photo
Bethany Henthorn / UW-Stout photo

For the 2019-20 academic year, UW-Stout students had a total of 28 internship positions, some students with more than one, across all Menards divisions. The university’s co-op and internship program partners with roughly 600 companies annually to support applied learning experiences for more than 1,000 students. 

One of the goals of co-ops and internships is to familiarize students with a company so that they consider a full-time opportunity upon graduation. Menards hired 15 UW-Stout graduates from 2019-20 and has about 300 UW-Stout alumni working across the company.

Menards has job opportunities for UW-Stout graduates from many undergraduate and graduate academic areas, including engineering, retail, business administration, design, construction, information technology, supply chain, communications, digital marketing and more.

Menards employees with the Employer of the Year award
Menards employees with the Employer of the Year award / Photo courtesy of Menards

Summer co-ops and internships rebounding

This summer, co-ops and internships appear to be making a fairly strong rebound after last year when the COVID-19 pandemic caused many companies to dial back on them.

Bethany Henthorn, Cooperative Education and Internship Program coordinator, said about 650 students are on track to participate this summer. “I am hoping we can hit 750 students,” she noted.

This spring 122 students participated in co-ops and internships, and there were 114 in the fall semester.

“We are hearing from students every day looking for opportunities,” Henthorn said. “Employers are hiring, and our students are in demand.”

Part of the Career Services Employer Recognition event included a panel discussion with students to learn what they are looking for in co-ops and internships and another panel with employers.

The Fall Career Conference is scheduled Tuesday, Sept. 28, and Wednesday, Sept. 29. The Career Conferences are open to UW-Stout students, alumni and faculty and staff. Employers recruit students and alumni for professional positions and co-op and internship opportunities.


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