If you’re planning on getting a summer job in your field, it’s going to get easier. NAITSA VP External and President-elect, Naomi Pela, is working hard with various departments at NAIT to bring summer job opportunities to students by next school year in what is being called the “Summer Experience Initiative.”
“I know that income is a huge thing, mental health, having a good résumé for when you get out there, is huge,” said Pela. “I’ve gone through having to cold-call 30 employers in two days to try to find a parttime job, so I understand the struggle. I’m trying to find the best way to help out my fellow students, and it’s just a matter of figuring out what that exactly looks like.”
Pela was inspired to focus the Summer Experience Initiative on students who are “still in school, where they can still build some skills and add to their résumés, but maybe just for a few months at a time, before they come back and continue their schooling.”
The goal is to accommodate as many students as possible with opportunities for paid work, volunteering and unpaid co-ops, so that students can decide what they are looking for.
“[We want to] meet the needs of students as a whole, so we’re not just targeting one group,” Pela said.
While trying to keep as many opportunities available to students as possible, Pela understands that a paying job is important for many post-secondary students. “Ideally, as a student, I know that you need money and if you are working, you prefer to be paid, even in co-ops and internships. So my goal there is to help ensure that students are getting experience, but along with a wage and some funds to help them out,” said Pela.
The Summer Experience Initiative is different than the Career Fair that happens annually at NAIT. Where the Career Fair is a longterm employment program, while this opportunity is meant in the short-term, for students still enrolled in school.
Pela says she has full support from the advising and career services department and that the partnership is very collaborative. She envisions few obstacles in the future.
“The idea is that [we will] create more of a system as opposed to something that’s just related to a course, which would give us the chance to connect with all the programs and not just funnel into one.”
As it stands, the Summer Experience Initiative is slated to debut in 2019. NAITSA is currently hoping to get students’ wants and needs regarding summer employment to help ensure the event becomes the best it can be.
When her time at NAIT is done in May of 2019, Pela will be passing on the event to her successor, Karen Velasco. Currently, there are meetings happening with the Advising and Career Services department, as well as the Advancement Department, to figure out the best way to get this employment
– Bryn Lipinski