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Hire Badgers: Student Staffing Opportunities for Small Business


Did you know that the UW-Madison Work-Study Program, previously reserved for on-campus and non-profit organizations, has been expanded to small businesses – and, as of September 2023, even covers 50% of the wages earned? Or that many UW-Madison students pursue internship opportunities as a way to develop new skills and explore career pathways while they are studying at UW?  

By providing internship and work-study opportunities for UW-Madison students, businesses can: 

  • Increase staff diversity 
  • Focus on back-burner projects 
  • Engage with talented, enthusiastic students 
  • Give back to the community through mentorship 
  • Hire affordable staff who can make a true contribution to the organization 
  • Provide management experience for current staff and career development opportunities for students 
  • Gain access to skillsets not currently on your staff 
  • Contribute to community/university relationships 
  • Develop a potential recruitment pipeline (with lower cost/risk) 
  • Have new perspectives and enthusiasm 

If you’ve ever wondered about hiring a UW-Madison student, this session is for you! We’ll discuss the differences between the Work-Study Program and student internship opportunities and help you understand more about how to make the experience a successful one for both you and the student.  

Throughout the session we’ll cover: 

  • How the Work-Study and internship programs work, and how businesses can participate 
  • How to create an engaging internship opportunity that offers interesting, meaningful work 
  • The mechanics of how to post jobs, interview, and hire 
  • An overview of who our students are and what they are interested in 
  • How to establish appropriate tasks for students and set everyone up for success 
  • Details of who is eligible to offer internships and work-study opportunities, what qualifies as an internship 

Who is eligible to hire UW-Madison students?  

  • Work-study: Non-profits and small businesses can apply for the work-study program to hire UW-Madison work study students. Currently, work study students can work anywhere in the state of Wisconsin. 
  • Internships: Non-profits, start-ups and small businesses from all industries and sectors are strongly encouraged to consider hiring interns 


Location: Online (Zoom link will be sent to registered participants the day before the class) 

Date: February 29, 2024

Schedule: 11:00 am – 12:30 pm 

Fee:  This $99 course is being offered at no cost due to the generous support of the presenters 

Register Online Here

Disability Statement: Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance. Contact the UW-Madison SBDC office at to request accommodations. 



Profile image of Heather FergusonHeather Ferguson 

For more than 10 years, Heather Ferguson has been helping professionals transition into new roles and build transferable skills. During her time working with the SOAR (new student orientation) program, Heather supported more than 75,000 students and families transitioning to UW-Madison. In that role, she established partnerships, organized program logistics, and created comprehensive leadership training for her 11-person staff. Heather has also worked with operations, marketing, recruitment, and more through her past roles with the UW-Madison Office of the Registrar, Dane County Farmers’ Market, Kishwaukee College, and through several media outlets. 

In addition, Heather has presented on giving effective feedback, leadership, organizational operations, conflict transformation, and partnership development at the local, regional, and national levels and has taught university career and seminar courses. Heather has a B.A. in English and Journalism from Northern Illinois University and an M.S.Edin Higher Education from Western Illinois University. 

Brett Jones

 As Director of Employer Engagement with the UW School of Business, Brett Jones supports the exploration and career development of undergraduate business students through developing partnerships and engagement programs for a diverse set of industries and companies seeking UW talent. Brett works closely with companies to understand their internship and full-time recruiting needs, and helps develop customized engagement strategies to help companies meet their goals. Brett has worked within the School of Business Undergraduate Career Engagement Team for over 4 years, and has previously worked at Northwestern University, as well as in the private sector supporting partnerships with startups/small businesses and local government entities. 

Kristina Rittel 

Kristina Rittel serves as the Student Employment Manager for the Office of Student Financial Aid at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In this role, Kristina supports the Federal Work Study program as well as the student employment experience. Kristina is passionate about working with students and enhancing the employment experience for all students at UW-Madison. 


The Wisconsin SBDC Network is a proud part of the Institute for Business & Entrepreneurship in the University of Wisconsin System.
It is funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance. Contact us at or call (608) 263-2221.