Job Market is Getting Better for College Students

Elie Georges, Staff Writer

Although the economy has started recovering and unemployment rates have decreased, finding jobs is still a challenge for college students. With arms wide open, the college’s Job Placement Center welcomes hundreds of students and alumni every semester to match them with job opportunities in various areas of interests.

Located on the second floor of the San Rafael building, the center is open Monday through Friday. This semester, the center has provided 422 jobs for students and alumni both on and off campus. The center also used to find internship opportunities in the past; however, it stopped offering the service in 2010 due to budget cuts.

Karen Ataian, a biology major, was hired at the chemistry lab through the Job Center.

“I gained work experience while attending school and I got to explore my major further by working in the lab,” she said.

In order for students to benefit from the Job Placement Center, they must be full-time students and maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0. For on-campus jobs, students also need to be eligible for financial aid through either Federal Work Study or CalWorks. Alumni can benefit from the services as well, without having to be enrolled in a school.

Some of the college offices that offer jobs are Admissions and Records, the Financial Aid office, the Career Center, the labs around campus, the Math Discovery Center, Supplemental Instruction and the biology department.

The college’s departments submit job opportunities to the center and then the center contacts students whose majors and class schedules match and offer them work.

“We have lots of off-campus employers that advertise with us,” said director Andra Hoffman Verstraete. “We work directly with them, try to find jobs off-campus. Last year, we placed 112 students in off-campus jobs.”

The center also holds the Job Fair each spring, where employers spread over Plaza Vaquero to recruit students. In addition, during the year, employers can contact the Job Center to hold interviews or recruit students. For example, Arpi Amirian, who works at the center and is also an alumni council, said that JC Penney interviewed 140 students and hired 80 of them.

The Job Center will offer a new online service in January to facilitate job searches and increase interaction with employers. The service called College Central Network will allow students to sign up and create a portfolio that includes students’ resumés. Employers will also be able to post job announcements and descriptions without the need to go to the Job Center. The system costs $1,500 a year, and will be funded by the Financial Aid budget.

The new online service will also allow students to upload their resumés and portfolios online. They may continue to using the service even after they transfer.

Sang Nam, a senior student services accounting technician, has been working at the center for more than 15 years. His daily responsibilities consist of managing payrolls, generating jobs and internship reports for students. Nam also corresponds with off-campus employers via email and phone calls to maximize hiring opportunities for students.

“It [the Job Center] is very important because it is part of student services,” Nam said. “A lot of students get their first jobs at the center, then they transfer to a different school and this helps them gain experience in life.”

The Job Center staff hopes to bring back the internship program and add more staff members.

“We need more budget to be able to enhance our services,” said Amirian.  “Currently we are working on our upcoming online service to provide more information for employers and students to connect them even better, so we need [a bigger] budget to accomplish all these goals.”