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Work Choice

From the left, work-study students Esther Spencer, Jenny Rulison, and Zakhar Berkovich gain job skills in the Division of University Advancement.
From the left, work-study students Esther Spencer, Jenny Rulison, and Zakhar Berkovich gain job skills in the Division of University Advancement.

UAlbany student Elisia Matthias had a choice this year -- not just what courses she wanted, but what job she could have at the University that suited her skills and career objectives. In the past, students applied for Federal Work Study (FWS) positions and were randomly assigned jobs within the University, but this year for the first time, UAlbany implemented a successful new process that allows for an element of choice, both on the part of the employer and the prospective employee.

Matthias worked in the Career Development Center (CDC), and found there excellent opportunities that relate to her field of study, which is psychology. In addition to her work in the Center, the CDC helped her decide which field of psychology she would like to study and assisted her with perfecting her resume.

The former process of assigning jobs did not allow as much freedom of choice for students. Typically, new students were placed in jobs on campus without their input. This year the University looked into a new system where students could select their jobs online. According to Diane Corbett, Federal Work Study coordinator in the Office of Financial Aid: “It allows both the student and the employer to become more active in the job selection process. The employer can post jobs on the site, review the applications and respond to the job applicants, and hire according to their needs. It’s a real world scenario.”

Kristina Finn
Kristina Finn

For freshman Kristina Finn, newcomer to the process, the new system is rewarding. It allowed her to apply to a work study position that interested her in the University’s Office of Media & Marketing. She not only learned some valuable new computer skills, such as Microsoft Excel, but she also learned responsibility and discipline—qualities and skills she will be able to apply to any aspect of her life. She also added: “A student is more enthusiastic about a job when they’re actually interested in the job.”

All in all, the new system has won the approval of students and they take their jobs more seriously and responsibly. Said junior Esther Spencer, who worked with Finn in the Office of Media & Marketing: “This is an actual office, people are depending on you.”

This story was written by Jenny Rulison, a senior in the School of Business with a concentration in marketing and management. Jenny is a work-study student in the Office of Media & Marketing.

Related Links:
Office of Financial Aid
Career Development Center

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