Student Employment: An All-around Success
For most Walla Walla University (WWU) students, entering the workforce and going to college are synonymous. To assist students in securing work to help fund their education, and also to help them gain professional experience, the university offers one of the most active student employment programs in the state. It includes three different areas: the federal work-study program, Washington State's work-study program and campus employment.
The federal and Washington State work-study programs are both designed to encourage businesses and community-service organizations to employ students.
Twyla Kruger, WWU student employment manager, says businesses often use the program as a screening tool for future employees. A huge benefit is the affordability for businesses since a portion of the wages will be paid by the work-study programs. Companies such as Baker Boyer Bank, Washington Division of Children and Family Services, and Campfire USA have hired WWU students.
"We're proud that outside entities have recognized our students as outstanding employees," says Kruger.
Campus employment places students on the university's workforce. WWU hired 1,000 to 1,100 student employees during the 2011–12 year, according to the most recent official records. Doug Taylor, student financial services associate director, states that, in comparison to other Adventist universities, WWU has the highest starting wage. The average total earned by a student last year was $3,064.32.
Student employment not only helps cover college costs, but the experience helps students enhance their GPAs while giving them job skills such as time management and punctuality.
During WWU's annual National Student Employment week, the university honors student employees and also names a Student Employee of the Year. As this year's honoree, Jason Uren, industrial design major, received a $750 scholarship for his work as head of the floor-care crew in the custodial department. "Student employment is learning the inner workings of an organization; every piece, regardless of size, plays a crucial role in its functionality," he says.
Part of the reason why the program is so successful is that WWU student employees are front-line workers and highly encouraged to satisfy customer needs.
"Their voice is the first voice callers usually hear when they call us, and the first face they see when they come to our offices," says Taylor.