The college administration has been developing a new platform to make student employment on campus more accessible, especially for first-year and work-study students. Called JobX, this new platform will be fully available in fall 2018. Once it is available, all student employees and job-seekers will be able to find and apply for jobs through this universal system.
“The system will streamline your understanding of where to go to find a job, how to apply for a job, and where you stand in the process, which has been a huge question for students. Not getting a response from an employer when they’ve not been hired and waiting a week or two is a huge detriment,” said the director of services and the financial aid director, Kristin Moore.
Vice President for Finance and Administration Gregory Brown explained during the press conference last week that the driving forces behind this new initiative were to truly prioritize work-study students and to make the process of job application easier for incoming students and international students.
“The college has a commitment to giving priority to students who have work as part of their financial aid package, but we haven’t been consistent in making sure that that happens,” said Brown.
For work-study students especially, this priority is not carried out well in specific practices in the employment process.
“Despite the fact that I am a work-study student, there was no information given to me about how to find jobs on campus. Additionally, during the application process last year, I was told to just add in my application that I am on work-study and that would give me preference for a limited period of time, but there did not appear to be any sort of system to regulate this process, ” said Hanna Gutow ’20, who has worked as a desk attendant in the Field House and Matchbox since her freshman fall.
Meanwhile, Charles Cole ’21, who has been working at Sharples Dining Hall since the second week of this semester, did not experience much difficulty in finding a job on campus.
“I knew I was going to get a job before I came to campus, so I knew to always be aware of where I needed to go to get that job. When the job fair I signed up for a few things, and dining was the first to respond so I just said yes,” said Cole.
The job-seeking process itself also seems disorganized to many students. Right now, students learn about general information of job positions either through the job fair at the beginning of the semester or simply through word of mouth.
“I went to the job fair last year during orientation to look for some jobs, but I actually heard about this job during the meeting all athletes do at the beginning of the year to sign our paperwork for eligibility,” said Gutow.
Sophie Song ’20, an international student, is currently working at McCabe Library. She also heard about this job by word of mouth. She recognized the difficulty of getting general information, but overall the current system is working well enough for her.
“I think it’s convenient. But I only work at McCabe, so I can only speak on behalf of one institution,” said Song.
The current system is working well for some, but it is not well-organized for others.
“I was a little disappointed by the job fair last year. I didn’t think it was organized very well, and I found it a bit overwhelming to keep track of the different jobs, hours, requirements, and application processes,” said Gutow.
Cole, however, has a different perspective on this issue. For him, the job fair was accessible and organized enough for him to get the information he needed.
With JobX, job fairs will become a place where students can actually meet the employer, instead of getting general information.
“This is really an important priority for us, because students are expected to work [and] we want to make sure we’re facilitating that,” said Brown.
For some students, the administration is already providing enough resources to help first year students get employed.
“All of the people I work with are super nice and helpful. I haven’t had to miss a shift yet or anything, but they seem very flexible and understanding too. Not too complicated at all,” said Cole.
The college is working to make the job-seeking process easier for freshmen by posting jobs on JobX before their arrival on campus. However, it seems that returning students are also having problems getting employed.
Both Gutow and Song got rehired easily, but they admitted that things could have been difficult if they were looking for new positions.
“Employment this year was actually easier than last year because the Athletic Department rehired everyone who was still interested in the position … However, I think if this rehiring process had not taken place, finding a different job could have been challenging because many positions are already occupied, and the job fair seemed to be aimed more toward freshmen,” said Gutow.
“I know of friends who are sophomores looking for jobs … It is not as easy to be newly-employed as a returning student because a lot of the opportunities are offered to freshmen,” said Song.
JobX will simplify the process of finding a new job because the application process will be made universal.
“Every time you apply for a new job, you’re not starting all over again, and I think that will be a huge change,” said Brown.
The new system will not only make the rehiring process easier, but it can potentially connect students better to their future jobs after graduation.
“The universal job description will force supervisors to choose things about their job that will be applicable to terminology and career development terms that you will be able to then to apply to a resume. You will be able to connect your student work job to future jobs,” said Moore.
Students responded hopefully to this new platform.
“Currently, I think most work-study students end up finding a job, but the process is more complicated than it needs to be, and I think the new streamlined process will be a huge help, ” said Gutow.
Other than simplification, organization is another appealing advantage for students.
“I think it will make it more convenient and centralized. Instead of having students find individual institutions, everything will be more organized,” said Song.
The college plans to test JobX for the first time in spring 2018 for hiring Residential Assistants, Green Advisors, Diversity Peer Advisors.
“The big test once we go live this spring is going to be is it as easy as we thought it was, and what changes might we have to make it better?” said Brown.
If JobX works out well for the RAs, GAs, and DPAs in the spring, it will be fully enacted next fall.