Not every college or university student in Utah Valley shovels campus snow or checks out books to earn money.
In fact, nearly 2,000 students work part-time in two Provo companies: Nu Skin International and the Sears Telecatalog Center. For these companies, part-time employees seem to fit the bill.At the Sears Telecatalog Center, there are about 2,000 total employees, center manager Sharon Campbell said. Only seven of those 2,000 are full-time.
Five percent of the employees are retired people, 45 percent housewives and 50 percent students, she said. The company decided to locate in Provo because "there was a ready and willing work force."
Part-time employees are more efficient in this type of industry because the consultants sit in front of a computer during the entire shift of their job. "It is unproductive to sit in front of a terminal for more than five hours a day," Campbell said.
One thousand of the employees are seasonal for the back-to-school and Christmas seasons, Campbell said. "And of those 1,000 who will leave on Dec. 31, 700 want to come back permanently."
One disadvantage in employing so many young students is that "they haven't experienced the good, old-fashioned customer service that the retired employees know," she said.
But Campbell said there are advantages to part-time employees, especially students: they learn very quickly and thoroughly and retain what they have learned well.
Sears Telecatalog supervisor Ann Trafny said the student employees learn the computers quickly but there is one big drawback.
"Because of school and other things, absenteeism is a problem," Trafny said. She said the students need to understand that this job deserves as much commitment as anything else they do.
Jason Chaffetz, administrative assistant at Nu Skin, said Nu Skin employs about 1,600 people, 750 of whom are part-time and many are students from both Brigham Young University and Utah Valley Community College.
One of the biggest advantages to hiring part-time students is that they offer an educated work force and a continuous supply of workers, Chaffetz said.
"Our company is in such a tremendous growth mode that every month we have to hire new employees," he said. That availability of employees is one reason why the company decided to locate in Provo.
One disadvantage to part-time people is the time it takes to train them.
"We are not a traditional business and we have to train everyone about the company and the use of our products," Chaffetz said.
Nu Skin uses network marketing, personal contacting sales, to market health, facial, hair and body care products, as well as nutritional systems.
The employees seem to like their jobs and are grateful that the companies work with their schedules.
Chris Watkins, a Nu Skin employee who is majoring in psychology at BYU, said, "I thought that a job at Nu Skin would give me better possibilities after graduation.
"Here I get to work with people and executives in the business world, and on campus, you don't get that," Watkins said.
A Sears Telecatalog employee, Dawn Child, a sophomore at BYU majoring in elementary education, works part-time in the mornings. "It's better to have a part-time job while going to school," she said. "And I appreciate that here they work with my school schedule."
Another student employee at Nu Skin, Matt Latimer, agrees with Child. "Because they have so many student employees, they are flexible when we have school conflicts and they pay more than on-campus jobs."
Recently the Sears Telecatalog customer relations department was moved to Provo from another telecatalog center in the Midwest.
"It's been a great success and Sears moved it here because they believed the people were friendly," said Campbell. "It's is compliment to the employees and to the area."