Campus work-study jobs will still be available during pandemic

Food items on shelf at EMU market

As the University of Oregon plans for fall term and campus departments consider how they may need to adjust operations, one thing is certain: There will still be part-time jobs for students.

Paul Timmins, executive director of the University Career Center, said new opportunities are being posted daily in Handshake, the UO’s student employment portal. A range of positions will be available to students, including office assistants, food service and catering workers, graphic and multimedia designers, research and lab assistants, and information technology support, to name a few.

The University Career Center is encouraging all campus employers to list their job opportunities in Handshake this summer as a way to increase access to a diverse pool of campus talent. 

Timmins noted that a lot of employers are shifting to remote opportunities for students.

“Many are marked in Handshake if they are remote,” Timmins said. “But since everyone on campus is adapting to the rapidly changing conditions, it’s good to ask prospective employers about the possibility of remote work if you’d be interested in the position.”

Handshake is not limited to jobs on campus and in the Eugene area. Timmins said that there are numerous postings in Portland, Seattle and anywhere else students might be looking.

Handshake is also the go-to destination for students who qualify for federal work-study. Work-study eligibility does not guarantee a job, so recipients need to apply as they would for other positions.

Work-study is a federally funded program where the federal government or other employer partner with the university and together invest funds to help students pay for their education. Eligible students work part time to earn a monthly paycheck, usually through on-campus jobs. Federal work-study can also include jobs with governmental and selected nonprofit agencies.

Work-study awards are listed in students’ financial aid offers. The award will be a portion of the total a student can earn in fall, winter and spring terms.. The amount is based on the level of need determined on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid,  or FAFSA, and the amount of funding available.

In fall 2019, federal work-study was awarded to 4 percent of the UO’s admitted undergraduate student population.

“While it is a small portion of the federal student aid funds that UO students receive, work-study creates opportunities for students to earn while they learn,” said Jim Brooks, associate vice president and director of student financial aid and scholarships.

Students can gain experience working in positions that support their educational objectives. For example, they might serve as tutors, learn the administrative side of higher education in campus offices or work in nonprofit organizations in the community.

For the 2018-19 academic year, 1,216 undergraduate and graduate students received a total of $1,551,136 in federal work-study aid.

Brooks added that work-study recipients cannot work during scheduled class times, so the employment will not impact their continued progress toward their degree.

Students looking for work this fall can take part in the Hire-A-Duck Virtual Part-Time Job Fair on Oct. 6.

The University Career Center also has career readiness coaches available to support students with their job and internship search needs through virtual appointments. The coaches can provide personalized feedback on resumes and offer tips on conducting a successful job search.

If students have campus departments where they’d like to work but don’t see positions listed in Handshake, opportunities may still be available. Timmins suggests that they email or call the department directly to ask if they will be hiring.

“If they aren’t hiring, ask about a good time to contact them again,” Timmins said. “Being polite, proactive and persistent can pay off.”

By Colleen Schlonga, Student Services and Enrollment Management