Menards boosts campus recruiting efforts through new Partnership Program

Career Services initiative helps employers focus on strategic engagement with students
​Jerry Poling | March 22, 2021

A higher education degree means more opportunity.

Employers such as Menards can help turn that well-earned opportunity into reality when they hire bachelor’s and master’s graduates from University of Wisconsin-Stout for career-track jobs.

There are endless job opportunities at Menards with 336 retail stores across 15 Midwestern states, plus manufacturing, distribution and corporate office positions. That’s part of the package the company presents to graduates who are ready to test their skills and find the right career fit.

“Menards is an exciting option when you look at the big picture,” according to Jeff Abbott, spokesperson for the Menards home improvement chain. “All our divisions continue to grow, and we’re blessed to have UW-Stout located near our Eau Claire, Wis., company headquarters.”

Menards recruiters take part in a 2018 Career Conference at UW-Stout.
Menards recruiters take part in a 2018 Career Conference at UW-Stout. / UW-Stout

To help maximize its efforts to recruit graduates, Menards recently became 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.

Katie Hauge
Katie Hauge / UW-Stout

Katie Hauge, employer relations manager for Career Services, oversees the Partnership Program to help companies “be strategic regarding their recruitment and engagement activities with the university. By being a sponsor, partners can plan out an entire year of engagement and recruitment activities that will help them meet their goals,” she said.

“Every little bit helps when it comes to attracting talented graduates,” Abbott continued. “We try to take advantage of any opportunity we can. We look at it as a win-win for both Menards and Stout and plan to keep building our relationship.”

For example, at the recent Spring Career Conference, which was held virtually and attracted more than 150 employers, Menards representatives took part in individual, group and general information recruiting sessions.

Also, the company networked with students by participating in a preconference student Retail Association event. UW-Stout has a major in fashion and retail.

Menards career fields numerous

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.

One of Menards’ deeper connections with UW-Stout is through Career Services’ Cooperative Education and Internship Program. 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.

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.

In the past three academic years, Menards has filled numerous intern positions plus hired many UW-Stout graduates full time. 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. 

Despite in-person challenges the past year, Menards has pushed ahead with recruiting. “It’s been a change for us not to be able to get in front of students,” Abbott said. “We appreciate everything that Stout has done to help us with recruiting, especially during these highly unusual times.”

Hauge said the job outlook for graduates is improving from 2020. “Employers are hiring, and some have never stopped,” she said.


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