Many alums remember their part-time jobs while at Illinois State like it was yesterday. Whether it was a campus dining job, a clothing store at the mall, or a Twin City nonprofit that inspired a future career, the part-time pay is far from the only thing that students get out of the experience.
That’s still the case today, and Illinois State’s Career Center is working to bolster the ranks of employers looking to hire Redbird staffers part-time — and maybe full-time down the road.
On Tuesday afternoon, a long line of students were waiting when the Part-Time Job Fair opened for business at Bone Student Center. Inside, 40 employers were lined up at tables, waiting to make their pitch.
One of them was Home Depot, which was looking to find four new part-timers to work in cashier, service department, or hardware roles at its store in north Normal. The Career Center recently made contact with Home Depot at a Chicago meet-and-greet event designed to bring new employers to campus, said Pam J. Cooper ’94, M.S. ’00, an assistant director at the Career Center.
“Home Depot is a great place to learn leadership skills,” said Tiffany Stephens, associate support department supervisor at the Normal store. “We’re a community-oriented store that likes to give back.”
In 2010-11, about 6,300 students worked on campus in some capacity (be it work study, regular student employment or graduate assistants), earning more than $19 million. It’s even more when you count off-campus jobs too. But a part-time job is more than a way to make ends meet or get some spending money, Cooper said.
“This is an opportunity to network. This is an opportunity to see what’s out there, to see where you might want to work (full-time) someday,” Cooper said of the fair. (For more information on upcoming Career Center job/internship fairs, visit the Career Center online.)
Also at the fair Tuesday was The Baby Fold, a Normal-based nonprofit that offers adoption services, foster care, residential care, special education and family and community services. It’s looking to fill about three part-time positions, including an aide that would work with children at various points in the autism spectrum, and a residential treatment specialist for the Baby Fold’s live-in center in Normal.
Part-time student employees, many looking for a long-term career in human services, get valuable experience with children and learning the organizational structure of a nonprofit like The Baby Fold, said Michael Hardesty ’08, a human resources analyst for the nonprofit.
“That’s a strong point for working at The Baby Fold,” Hardesty said.
The STATEside crew asked alumni to share their own most-memorable part-time jobs on Facebook the other day. Here are a few of the responses. Share your own in the Comments below.