In the fall of 1998, President Theo Kalikow created the Student Work Initiative program to bolster the interaction between students and faculty at UMF.  It is a campus-based work and learn program which is not based on financial need (no FAFSA required).  Many of the positions are integrated with academic majors and student life, allowing students to engage in research and special projects relating to personal interests and/or fields of study.  Employment opportunities may be in any area of campus, ranging from research, service projects and lab assistants, to learning how to repair and rebuild lap top computers.  All of the offerings in the Student Work Initiative program provide specific learning skills for the student.

Student Work Initiative jobs pay up to a maximum of $1000 per semester.  As a rule, students are limited to one job at a time and must be enrolled at least Half-time (6 credits or more), with priority consideration given to Full-time students (12 credits or more).  Returning students are required to have and maintain a G.P.A. of 2.75 to participate in this program.  Students who have Federal Work-Study money must use their allocations on any Work Initiative job,  but Federal Work-Study is not a prerequisite to participate in the work initiative program.

As with all other job programs at UMF, students are not placed in a job by the Financial Aid Office, rather, they must compete for jobs by applying and interviewing for positions.  Once hired, students are expected to work at their job on a schedule that is agreed upon with the supervisor.