New apprenticeship program offers students unique opportunity

fall campus

The University of Wisconsin-Platteville School of Business recently announced a new partnership with Foster MSP. The collaboration will offer students a unique apprenticeship opportunity, providing them with a valuable, rare skillset to give them an edge in a growing field.

Foster MSP is based in Phoenix, Arizona and Naperville, Illinois, but serves a range of clients nationwide, providing information technology, information systems security and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. ERP is a rapidly growing field that helps companies fully integrate and coordinate all aspects of their business processes and resources.

Two students each semester will receive a combination of professional experiences and training provided by Foster MSP with academic instruction by UW-Platteville business faculty. The experience will include helping serve Foster MSP’s clients in major nationwide markets to set up and maintain ERP systems. This combined skillset of ERP technical expertise, accounting knowledge and client management is highly rare for new graduates and in even greater demand among employers.

The ERP apprenticeship program was inspired by Darin Pauls, chief executive officer of Foster MSP, and a 1993 graduate of UW-Platteville. 

“Being a graduate of UW-Platteville, I’ve always had a strong desire to remain involved with and contribute to the university, and more importantly to find a way to help current students in a meaningful way,” said Pauls. “The creation of the ERP apprenticeship allows me to leverage my business and industry in a way that helps UW-Platteville provide students with a unique opportunity to further their accounting, operations and business knowledge through the use of modern ERP systems. This apprenticeship will be an attractive addition to their experience and resume. It will not only expand their areas of opportunity in business but also elevate them above other candidates when seeking public and corporate accounting careers post-graduation.” 

“We are incredibly excited about this opportunity to further develop ERP expertise among our students,” said Dr. Les Hollingsworth, director of the School of Business at UW-Platteville. “We’ve had ERP coursework for several years, but needed an opportunity to really stretch our capabilities in developing ERP professionals, to see just how far we can go. This apprenticeship is the perfect opportunity, and I appreciate Darin’s leadership in helping us get there.”

The first UW-Platteville students will begin the program in January 2021. Students are encouraged to continue their participation in the apprenticeship through their graduation, therefore increasing the total number of UW-Platteville students in the program each semester. 

“This is one more example of UW-Platteville demonstrating leadership in innovative student-centered curriculum that integrates current industry practice with educational programming,” said Craig Beytien, executive director of Corporate Relations at UW-Platteville.