April 28, 2009
WOOSTER, Ohio, April 28 - Summer employment opportunities are expected to be scarce this year, and college students across the country may suffer the most as they search for ways to pay for tuition, room, board, books, and other expenses. But for students at The College of Wooster, there is a ray of hope. Administrators have developed a plan to double the number of summer jobs on campus so that students will be able to make ends meet and stay in school. And to make the program even more attractive, the College if offering free room and board, free breakfast and lunch, and a $1,000 scholarship for students who complete 11 of the 13-week work period.
Dubbed "WooCorps" - an oblique reference to FDR's depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps - this "New Deal" enables students to fill minimum-wage jobs across campus that might not be available at home. "Our goal is to provide opportunities for students to remain in school," said Kurt Holmes, dean of students at Wooster who crafted the program. "We find that many students drop out, not because of the major expenses, but because of the incidentals (books, fees, spending money, etc.). Through this program, we hope to help those students who are unable to find a job at home and who might otherwise drop out of school without summer employment."
Students who work the entire summer are expected to make $3,400 in gross wages plus another $1,000 through the scholarship. While that total may pale in comparison to the annual cost of attending college, students have already responded favorably to the program with 40 inquiries to the student employment office in the first 24 hours. "We reminded students to inquire about summer employment opportunities when they went home for spring break," said Holmes. "Some will find jobs, but many will not. We want our students to know that if they are unsuccessful on the home front, they may have a chance to make money here at school."
Not only will the program provide much needed income, but it will also support the institution's primary mission to educate. "We want this to be a learning experience, too," he said. "For example, if a student lands a job with the paint crew, time will be spent to educate him or her about restoration of some of the historic structures where they will be working."
Although the increase in jobs may be modest, it will give hardworking students a chance to continuing working toward their dream of earning a college degree.
1189 Beall Avenue, Wooster, Ohio 44691. (330) 263-2000
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