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UW–Madison partners with businesses in Federal Work-Study initiative

October 18, 2021

The weekly intern meeting at Millennium Geospatial, which partnered with UW–Madison in its Federal Work-Study initiative. These are work-study students.

In the past year, the University of Wisconsin–Madison has partnered with 27 small businesses in the Madison area as part of an expanded Federal Work-Study initiative.

The businesses are able to hire UW–Madison Work-Study students to work in fields such as real estate, technology, healthcare, marketing and more.  It’s part of a Department of Education initiative that provided institutions with flexibility for expanded Federal Work-Study opportunities for students.

Traditionally, UW student employment opportunities and select partners at community-based organizations have been eligible employers for students to earn Federal Work-Study.

“As a former work study student myself, getting the opportunity to participate in the program as an off-campus employer is very meaningful,” said Kindra Goehler, 2004 UW–Madison graduate and managing partner of Dirigible Studio, a federal Work-Study partner. “The work study program allows us to offer a talented low-income student real-world experience that is often not available to those who cannot afford an unpaid internship.”

Student employment experiences play a central part not only to a student’s Wisconsin Experience, but also as a vital prerequisite for many career opportunities upon graduation.

“We are thrilled to continue to provide more opportunities for students while also supporting local small business as well as community-based organizations in Madison,” says Justin Mumford, Assistant Director for Student Engagement in the Office of Student Financial Aid.

The Federal Work-Study program is made available to eligible students based on their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as a part of their financial aid offer. The Federal Work-Study Program utilizes federal funds to help subsidize employment costs for eligible employers who elect to employ a Federal Work-Study student. This helps local community-based organizations build capacity while also providing critically vital experiences to UW–Madison students.

The new initiative lets students get impactful experiences and provides crucial support to employers during a time when budgets are stretched as a result of COVID-19.

“Having assistance from work study students has given us the opportunity to expand the capacity of our team in a cost-effective way, while giving students access to hands-on experience that brings the lessons they’ve learned in the classroom to life,” says Sarah Best, CEO and chief strategist of Sarah Best Strategy. “We also have benefited from being able to keep work study students on for multiple semesters where our non-work study students often only stay for one semester. Being able to retain quality interns has helped reduce our training time and allows our students to build on their success.”

To learn more about the Federal Work-Study initiative contact the UW–Madison Student Employment team at