Y. sets record with number of student employees; most colleges face high job demand

Published: Friday, Jan. 7 2011 10:00 p.m. MST

As a presidential intern at Utah Valley University, Stucki is one of six seniors who was hired to work with President Matthew Holland and the school's vice presidents, in what she calls a "prestigious, out-of-the-ordinary" internship.

"With my vice president (Val Hale), our job is community engagement, so we go out into the community," she said. "It has opened up a lot of opportunities for me in a future career. I'm building my network right now, getting my name out there, building my resume."

Resume-building experiences are in high demand from all students, and each year nearly 1,700 UVU students are hired to work on campus.

Laura Carlson, manager of student employment at UVU, would love to hire 10,000 students a year, but working at a public university she's constrained by a lack of funding.

Of the 32,000 students enrolled at UVU, nearly 72 percent are employed, both on and off campus, and must work in order to stay in school, she said.

According to data from the National Center for Education Statistics, which reports to the U.S. Department of Education, college-age employment is increasing nearly every year, whether it's on or off campus. From 1970 to 2003, the percentage of employed 16- and 24-year-old college students rose from 33.8 percent to 47.7 percent.

Yet within UVU's working class, only 14 percent of students work on campus, vying for a spot as a professor's assistant/grader, or in student services, which includes student government, campus tours and the post office, Carlson said.

When possible, Carlson likes to get students working within their academic major, to better prepare them for life after graduation. But it may be that applicants for the Outdoor Education Department's "Adventure Troop Leader" are a bit more swayed by the excitement potential than resume building.

After training, the troop leader takes groups of students on back-country excursions, including cross-country skiing in American Fork Canyon and kayaking in Baja.

Even far less thrilling jobs are still a hot commodity on campus. This year, Carlson received 100 applicants for a red-eye custodial position. That's a slight decrease from last year when 176 students applied for the same late evening/early morning cleaning shift.

"Students need to work, they want to work, and for a lot of them being a student is dependent on working," she said. "There has been a very strong demand on campus for jobs; however, we just don't have the number of positions open to meet current demands."

e-mail: sisraelsen@desnews.com

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