Career center pilots summer webinars, virtual job fair for federal work study recipients

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Rachel Brown, the assistant provost for university career services, said the online programs serve as a "jump-start" for incoming students to understand federal work study and find job opportunities.

Federal work study recipients now have two new resources to help them secure a job ahead of the fall semester.

Officials earlier this month debuted a series of webinars and a virtual job fair for students who are eligible for federal work study. Officials said the programs, which are hosted on the job-search platform Handshake, were created after they reviewed feedback from working students, who requested more communication about the application and hiring process for fall jobs over the summer.

The Center for Career Services will host a total of four webinars this month focusing on two topics – the basics of federal work study and resume-writing and interview skills, according to an information sheet about the program.

Students will also have access to a virtual job fair Wednesday, six days after federal work study jobs went live on Handshake. Participants will be able to meet and interview with employers online, according to the document.

“The summer series was designed to provide additional tools and a jump-start to help incoming students understand the FWS program, be better prepared to enter GW as a student employee and learn how to be successful in their job search,” Rachel Brown, the assistant provost for university career services, said in an email.

To advertise the programs, Brown said officials emailed federal work study recipients in April and continued to showcase the resources on social media and during freshman orientation sessions. She declined to say how many participants registered for the new programs.

Brown said registration is still open for the job fair and the last two webinar sessions, which will take place on Thursday and Monday. She said officials will send all participants a survey soliciting feedback to “gauge the success of the virtual programs.”

The online programs branch off employment tools that were first launched last academic year, including online Handshake videos detailing the hiring process for federal work study recipients, Brown said. Officials switched from GWork to Handshake last summer in an effort to boost the career center’s online presence.

Career service experts said the new Handshake programs will likely most benefit incoming freshmen, who may not know how to navigate their federal work study and want to secure a job before the fall semester.

Alex Ray, a customer relations specialist at Brigham Young University, said that by offering new resources throughout the summer, freshmen will have a better idea of what their schedule will look like before their first semester begins, alleviating added stresses on top of their classes.

“In the fall, you’re so busy with classes, you’re overwhelmed and it falls to the bottom of your priority list,” Ray said. “Having the summer helps them put it higher on the priority list.”

Kristan Venegas, an expert in financial aid policy for minority students at the University of Southern California, said the Handshake programs could allay freshmen’s concerns about balancing classes and work by helping them find a job before classes become their main priority.

She said the programs will also be useful for incoming students to learn how to craft a resume and make good impressions on employers before even stepping on campus.

“Gaining those kind of resources would be helpful for any student, so when you’re a junior you’re not starting from scratch,” she said.

Meredith Roaten contributed reporting.

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