By Samantha Hilyer
Saint Vincent College has a “robust work study program,” which employs over 750 student employees every year, according to Courtney Baum and Kim Woodley, director and assistant director respectively of the Saint Vincent Career Center. But like many of Saint Vincent’s programs, it has been greatly impacted by the effects of campus’ COVID-19 closure.
Most positions have been postponed until next semester, explained Woodley.
“It is just like leaving for summer break, but a little earlier than expected,” she said.
Student employees whose work study positions have been postponed are not being paid because, although Saint Vincent receives a federal allocation of work study dollars in order to pay the students in the program, Saint Vincent has already exceeded its allocation, and has been paying students using Saint Vincent institutional funds.
Woodley stated that exceeding the allocated federal funds is a normal occurrence for Saint Vincent since the program is usually substantially full.
“We are all trying to find new ways of doing things and making sure that nothing falls through the cracks for our students. […] We are still here for you, working hard every day.” - Kim Woodley
Schools who still have money left from their allocations have the authority from the Department of Education to continue to pay their work study positions, but they are not required to maintain payment.
However, for the few work studies that are still in operation while campus is closed, payment will continue as originally scheduled.
As per a previous email, the Career Center will either be virtually receiving timesheets through email or accepting them through the postal service. A supervisor must still approve the hours worked, either by signing the timesheet, which Woodley said would be ideal, or the supervisor sending an email saying he or she approves.
But what about the students who are gearing up to graduate and are looking for jobs, internships, graduate schools, and may have other career needs?
The Career Center is still supporting students virtually, said Baum. Career Consultants are communicating remotely with students to help them meet their career goals and needs. Students who have questions and concerns about their career goals can request an appointment with a Career Consultant through Handshake.
“It is just like leaving for summer break, but a little earlier than expected.” - Kim Woodley
Baum said that graduate schools are still accepting applications, and that Handshake is still a viable resource for students searching for employment because many companies are increasing positions to assist with the current situation due to COVID-19.
Both Baum and Woodley agreed that students have resources available to them as well as Career Center staff members who are there to help.
“We are all trying to find new ways of doing things and making sure that nothing falls through the cracks for our students.” Woodley said, “We are still here for you, working hard every day.”