The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh and northeastern Wisconsin’s New North will welcome Yahoo! this fall, thanks to a collaboration that will bring a student-staffed technical support center to Oshkosh.
The Yahoo! CareCenter will employ UW Oshkosh students and will provide technical support to some of Yahoo!’s 17,000 employees. Three other such centers exist in California, New York and India. The University’s Center for Community Partnerships (CCP) is spearheading the search for students to work at the support center. Initially, 20 students will be recruited, with 20 additional positions added as needed. Students working in the Yahoo! CareCenter will have the opportunity working part time to earn $10,000 or more per year, which will more than cover their tuition costs.
“This partnership with Yahoo! will provide fantastic opportunities for our students to get real-world experience working for a high-profile, cutting-edge organization,” said Steve Romme, interim director of the CCP. “We are looking for students who are critical thinkers; advanced computer skills aren’t necessary. Students do need to enjoy problem-solving and helping people work through technical issues.”
Almost two years in the making, the collaboration was the brainchild of UW Oshkosh alumnus Adam Kostrzak, senior manager of Yahoo!’s Global Service Desk, located in the Silicon Valley. As a 1997 graduate, Kostrzak immediately thought of Oshkosh when strategizing a location he could partner with to build a student-run support desk location.
Kostrzak looked at other universities, including other UW System schools, but found that the CCP offered a business support model unique to other university environments.
“Yahoo! did its due diligence and looked at several other universities around the country; however, UW Oshkosh’s CCP is truly unique in the way it partners with companies,” said Kostrzak. “While other places said there were too many obstacles, CCP went above and beyond to make the partnership work.”
Kostrzak added that there are many benefits to having a support center in Oshkosh versus the Silicon Valley area, where Yahoo! is headquartered.
“The costs in Oshkosh are significantly lower than the Silicon Valley area,” said Kostrzak. “That was extremely attractive to us. But most attractive were the quality of the students and the ability of the university to work with us to create a successful collaboration.”
Tom Sonnleitner, vice chancellor of administration, noted that the collaboration was possible in large part to the flexibility of UW System administration. “This is a great example of teamwork between the campus and the UW System. We are pleased we were able to make this project a reality.”
“The Yahoo! CareCenter provides our students with an excellent part-time job while also enhancing their overall educational experience,” said Chancellor Richard H. Wells, who is also a New North board member. “I am not surprised that Yahoo! decided to bring its support center to the region. The New North has developed a national reputation for its well-educated, talented and technically skilled residents.”
The CCP is currently soliciting student applications; for more information about the positions visit www.uwopartners.org, call (920) 424-1453, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Other companies who are interested in partnering with UW Oshkosh can call (920) 424-1453.