Lakeland University has always been a hub for innovation. Lakeland recently re-defined how students at our Main Campus earn a bachelor’s degree through the creation of our award-winning Cooperative Education program. Lakeland students work full- and part-time jobs for our many Co-Op partner companies and organizations, earning academic credit along with skills that employers are seeking in college graduates. The Co-Op program has also tackled our nation’s student debt crisis as Co-Op students earn scholarship dollars and are mentored to use their wages to pay remaining tuition to help them graduate with little or no tuition debt.
In that spirit, Lakeland created Launch to offer paid, unparalleled, on- and off-campus experiential learning and small business management opportunities to students. Launch students create, develop, manage and lead business ventures while developing into the next generation of emerging entrepreneurs and leaders. We have made incredible progress in our first year, especially during the global COVID-19 pandemic that forced many businesses to close.
Launch currently employs eight students in executive roles, and five of those students are first-generation college students. This summer, more than 30 students will work for Launch. These are the next generation of leaders … they are your future employees.
Launch received one year of start-up funding from a private funder along with additional funding from Lakeland to begin operations in May 2020. We are thrilled with our success, which is motivating us, the student leaders of Launch, to seek $70,000 in additional funding to help take this start-up to the next level. We hope you will join us.
Below is an overview of Launch’s portfolio and its benefits:
· Elementastic: Launch purchased a science-education business called Elementastic, which offers experiments inspiring elementary students to question, seek answers and explore the wonders of STEM. Delivered by Lakeland University students, the age-appropriate programs are offered through classroom, after school and group shows in Sheboygan, Manitowoc, Fond du Lac and Brown Counties.
· Management of Lakeland Campus Shop: LU bid farewell to a longtime third-party vendor who ran the school’s campus shop and approached Launch about running a merchandise store. This new Shop will provide the Lakeland community, including alumni, quality merchandise and memorable service through continued innovation and eco-friendly practices.
· Nonprofit Support: Launch provides Sheboygan County nonprofit agencies with temporary and/or long-term staff at little to no cost. This increases the effectiveness of the organizations by providing outstanding students to fill administrative and professional roles or customized projects or events. Launch is working with such nonprofits as Generations Intergenerational Center, Boys & Girls Clubs of Sheboygan County, The Family Resource Center of Sheboygan County, Habitat for Humanity Lakeside, Partners for Community Development, Inc. and several others.
· Event Planning: Launch is managing a number of events this summer, giving students high-level, real world event management experience that supports what they learn in the classroom.
o Sheboygan Gus Macker Basketball Tournament and City of Sheboygan Memorial Day Parade: The Sheboygan Boys & Girls Club approached Launch to manage Sheboygan’s 26th year of the Gus Macker, an extremely popular 3-on-3 basketball event at the Sheboygan lakefront. The City of Sheboygan contracted Launch to manage this important annual parade. Lakeland benefits by having its brand associated with two important community events.
o Road American concession stand: Launch was selected after a competitive process to operate an open concession stand at Road America, one of the state’s top tourist destinations each summer. For students in LU’s hospitality management major, this is valuable work experience.
o Blaster’s Golf Tournament: Lakeland hired Launch to manage LU’s longtime, very successful alumni golf outing.
· Develop U: Offers customized workshops and trainings for external constituents. Employers benefit by working with Lakeland to create training programs they need instead of having to select from pre-set options.
Students researched and created this impressive portfolio of student-run businesses during a global pandemic that forced some businesses to close. Full-time Lakeland undergraduate students manage all Launch businesses.
As the COVID vaccine becomes more widely available and as we start to see the globe open up, we believe the time is now to seek additional funding to aggressively grow our existing opportunities for students and create more.
Your donation will directly support the following:
1. Student wages for fall and early winter Elementastic, campus shop and summer 2021 event planning teams.
2. Advancement of new campus shop merchandise and marketing strategy.
3. Creation of a business plan for a new graphic design & marketing business venture.
Again, this is a ONE-TIME appeal, as our financial projections for winter 2021 into summer 2022 will allow for self-sustaining cash flow. Gifts are 100% tax deductible.
We, the students of Launch, invite you to join us on this exciting journey and help keep the positive momentum moving forward.
Amanda Brandt, Launch Chief Marketing Officer: “Launch has allowed me to become an executive at age 20, which is something unheard of at the collegiate level. These aren’t your average college jobs, and we are all learning skills and gaining valuable experiences that we cannot get in entry-level positions. These are the skills that employers are seeking from college graduates.”
- Christopher Ledvina
- Matthew Niederjohn
- David Gallianetti
- Andrea Schmitz
- Kym Leibham
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