LifeWorks creates new student development goals

Mya Sedwick, Campus Carrier staff writer

Recently, Berry’s on-campus work program has undergone some changes, including changing the name to the LifeWorks Program. An email was sent out to faculty and staff last week detailing changes that have been in conversation since this past summer. 

Among those mentioned was an increase in student pay. It was noted that students could easily find off-campus jobs with higher pay, so this change is being made in hopes that students remain on campus. 

With this pay increase comes a decrease in the number of hours each student work, essentially allowing students to work less with no affect to their paycheck. 

The changes in the student work program stem from a desire to be proactive rather than reactive. One of the main concerns with the changes is how they will affect tuition. Since the increase in pay is coupled with a decrease in student hours, the changes made are both manageable and in budget. 

Each position will be reviewed by the supervisors due to the wide range of jobs offered on campus. Places like the dairy may see an increase in the size of their workforce in order to decrease the number of hours worked by each employee, while areas such as the English department may see fewer student work positions. 

These decisions are unable to be made across the board and must be made at the vice-presidential level. Some positions offered to students will be evaluated to determine their necessity. 

Chief of Staff Debbie Heida has been working to help with these decisions. She has been looking to see if down time can be used for work-related development through training modules. 

“How do we use down time for the personal and professional development of the student?” Heida said.

In terms of training, there are not yet specifics ready to be shared. However, there is a goal in mind for implementation. The new Dean of Personal and Professional Development, Marc Hunsaker, began working on campus Oct. 28, and training improvement is one of his new projects. 

In order to remain current in terms of professional development in the work place, workers can engage in reading, workshops and find online platforms related to their field of work. Some services such as LinkedIn Learning provides students with videos, articles and courses for growing their professional skill set.

“Over time, we are going to integrate many of those things in terms of what we’re doing with our student work program because what we want is for you to be able to leave here and know how to stay professionally relevant,” Heida said. 

The addition of The Spires brings new jobs and certifications for a number of students. Students wishing to enter into the field of hospitality will be able to attain certifications in the field. 

Nursing majors and those interested in physical therapy will have the opportunity for hands on experiences with the residents. Even accounting majors could gain experience by working with the financial operations. 

There are also plans for building a hotel during the summer of 2021. The new hotel will allow the LifeWorks program to extend its hospitality track.

Though the hotel is still in the research phase, it could be another place where students participating in the LifeWorks Program can perform a number of jobs ranging anywhere from running the concierge desk to driving the shuttle. 

Most of these changes will take approximately a year to go into effect. During that time, supervisors and administration will continue to be in conversation to see what works for each position and what doesn’t. 

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