Openings for part-time work are scarce

With a high unemployment rate in the cities, University students may have difficulty finding open part-time positions near the University.

by Megan Nicolai

Seeking a part-time job may become a full-time venture for University of Minnesota students.

A growing student population and decreased business in the area is making competition stiffer around campus.

Nancy Rose Pribyl, president of the Stadium Village Commercial Association, said a decrease in foot traffic due to road construction in the area may mean businesses will want to downsize, cutting down on possible student jobs.

âÄúThe first thing you do when you have fewer customers is have fewer staff,âÄù Pribyl said.

Chris Potter, manager at Raising CaneâÄôs, also said thereâÄôs very little employee turnover at his restaurant. He said his staff is about an even split between students and non-students.

Many recent college graduates have been forced to take part-time jobs to supplement income, or take jobs outside their field, according to a study released in May by Cliff Zukin, a professor of political science and public policy at Rutgers University. Zukin found that nearly half of recent graduates worked in jobs that didnâÄôt require a college education.

Sophomore Brandon Kern said he would keep his part-time job as long as possible.

âÄúThere arenâÄôt many options around here as far as openings go,âÄù he said.

Chris Ferguson, manager of the Dairy Queen in Stadium Village, said he has seen an increase in the number of recent graduates returning to the part-time job they held while at the University.

On-campus jobs are another option for college students, but many come with requirements like specific majors, certain availability or a bachelorâÄôs degree. Many open positions list a preference for work-study applicants, according to open positions on the UniversityâÄôs Office of Human Resources website.

Work-study is part of studentsâÄô financial aid package, allowing them to earn money toward their education. With work-study positions, 75 percent of the studentsâÄô wages are paid from the federal and state grants, with their employers providing the other 25 percent.

âÄúIn some regards, University jobs are much more competitive,âÄù said Liz Joyce, a political science junior looking for part-time work.

More students are relying on services provided by University departments like CLA Career Services, an office that helps students find job postings and internships  and also offers pointers on resumes and cover letters.

Paul Timmins, the director of the office, said there has been a large increase in the number of students using the center, freshmen in particular.

âÄúWe tell students that, even though it will be competitive, you have a lot to offer,âÄù Timmins said.

GoldPass, an online database funded by the University and free to students, has also gained popularity, Timmins said. On the website, employers both on- and off-campus can create job postings for part-time, full-time or internship employment.

ItâÄôs also open to University alumni, which increases the chances that students looking for part-time work have to compete with recent graduates and non-students, Timmins said.

But Joyce said she thought the popularity of websites like GoldPass may create fierce competition among students.

âÄúThe job postings on those websites seem super competitive, since everyone looks at them,âÄù she said.