Earning While Learning: Employment brings more than just dollars to students at LBCC

Left to right Jordann Bentz and Katie Chabreck

When people say Linn Benton Community College is a place of higher education, one’s first instinct is to think of the institution in terms of academics. However, the spectrum of ‘learning’ extends farther than that of mere schooling. In addition to supporting a wide array of courses and majors, LBCC offers a multitude of jobs, which promote growth in different areas.

“We help provide foundation, so [our students] can move on to other things,” said Lawrence Lajoie, manager of the Albany campus bookstore.

While regular openings exist for both students and job-seekers unaffiliated with LBCC, there are several programs available solely for registered attendees. Such categories include Work Study, Learn and Earn, and Cooperative Work Experience.

Work Study, which is the largest program, employs around forty to fifty students, all of whom have been granted Federal Financial Aid and a financial aid award, both of which are required for consideration. According to Marci Johnston, the school’s current overseer of work study, one must apply through FAFSA. If interested in the program, and either eligible for or already allotted financial aid, it is important to check the corresponding box when filling out the application. All responsive students will receive a follow up email with further information and instructions.

Work study positions are attainable during all three terms, as well in the summer. With an estimated capacity of 150 jobs in the program, most departments on LBCC have work study slots to fill. Regardless of experience or one’s area of study, there are plenty of opportunities for any and all parties at LBCC who qualify. However, even students who are not currently eligible for employment through work study can still request consideration.

Along with need-based occupations, there is also an abundance of standard positions open for all students. One such employment option is working at the Albany Campus bookstore, located on the first floor in the Calapooia Center. Managed by Lajoie, the school business supports around fifteen of these workers at a time and prides itself on maintaining a flexible, relaxed atmosphere. The goal, Lajoie says, is to supply students with extra money and a job that is congruent with their school schedules. While availability can be an issue, if one is persistent enough, finding a suitable position at LBCC is well within the realm of possibility.

A tendency toward shyness or lack of experience should not deter any potential applicants either. The bookstore has hired many students who were, at first, reserved, but through the process were able to break out of their shells and become comfortable employees.

“There’s a hidden person behind the shyness,” said Lajoie.

As for anxious first or second time job-seekers, some of the best bookstore attendants in Lajoie’s opinion have been students without any prior experience. With no application needed, the bookstore only requires the interested party to hand in a résumé at the counter and eventually, when it is looked over, agree to an interview.

“Basically show up on time, do your job properly, be respectful of course, and really put yourself out there for the customer,” said Natalina Fiorito, a bookstore registrar.

Though the Student Bookstore is a business, service is the first priority, as is creating a comfortable, thriving environment for both workers and customers.

“I get to see a lot of people on campus that I wouldn’t necessarily get to see just by going to class. And see people from all types of majors or some of the international come in. It’s nice because I can literally go from having class directly to work and not worry about commuting. The people who work there are very chill and it’s like a family,” said Fiorito.

Other opportunities for students can be found in the Café, the Commons, the Learning Center, Public Safety, and the Benton Center bookstore. Further information is available to the public via the LBCC website’s work section, or through the Human Resource Department on the Albany Campus. A Career Fair is also planned for April 12, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., in the LBCC Gym.

At a Glance:
LBCC offers a variety of student employment opportunities, to both support and prepare them for future endeavors. To learn more, contact Marci Johnston and Lawrence Lajoie at marci.johnston@linnbenton.edu and lajoiel@linnbenton.edu, respectively.

Story by Megan Stewart

Photo by Elliot Pond

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