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College staff dedicated to helping students find employment
Story by Christina Holmes. Photos by Vern Uyetake.
Tucked in a small office at the Sylvania Campus are a trio of professionals who know how to get the job done when it comes to finding students work.
Well-connected in the community and with years of experience, Employment Specialists George Knox, Kathleen Kuba and Glenna Barrick-Harwood help PCC students look for and ultimately land jobs and internships.
PCC employment specialists have offices at Sylvania, Rock Creek and Cascade. Last year about 1,220 students worked internships, getting their feet wet in careers they hope to pursue. The internships are as varied as the students, everything from automotive and manufacturing to gerontology and early childhood education. Among employers, PCC has a reputation for providing smart, focused students.
“Students are very interested in getting internships because they know it may be the only way they can get experience,” said Barrick-Harwood.
The duties performed in the internship must be relevant to the student’s academic program and employers and interns agree upon goals. Interns work about 10 hours a week and receive academic credit.
“By and large they have all the responsibilities that go along with a job,” said Knox.
At 57, Brett Hall was laid off from his job and began a new career by enrolling in PCC’s Electronic Engineering Technology Program. By June 2011 he had completed all his courses except for a required internship.
Thanks to the student employment specialists, Hall learned about an internship at Intel. He was hired for the position with the stipulation that he would complete his degree. He did so and continues to work at Intel today.
“My training has been very rewarding,” he said. “I’m so happy with my decision to continue my education.”
Aside from internships, the office also works with students searching for “survival jobs” – short-term jobs that are not always related to their careers. Nearly 4,000 students take advantage of these services each year.
The specialists also advise students on résumé writing, networking and interviewing.
“We see each person as an individual and we give them options about different jobs,” said Kuba. “And the number one thing we are is supportive.”
To learn more on how to get started, visit the Careers and Jobs webpage.
7 Tips To Land That Job
- Research companies, careers and job openings: Informational interviews are useful to build contacts.
- Network to gather information and job leads: Use your social network to build a professional network.
- Customize your materials for a particular company: Each résumé, cover letter, application, portfolio and presentation should be targeted to a specific employer.
- Don’t wait for job openings to be advertised: Contact potential employers directly.
- Don’t rely on job search web services alone: Monster.com and LinkedIn are useful, but websites don’t hire people.
- Prepare for the job interview: What do you want employers to know about you?
- Work your way into a job: Internships, volunteering or contract work may be the best way to get your foot in the door.