The Boys & Girls Club of Corvallis offer students jobs working with youth

Sierra Koefoed, News Contributor

For 15 hours a week, Muaz Kedir can be found setting up for sports events, icing minor injuries and assisting youth in other capacities. Kedir, a chemical engineer student at Oregon State University, works at the Boys & Girls Club of Corvallis and gets paid through the Federal Work-Study program.

OSU offers students the opportunity to gain school and work experience while earning money through the Federal Work-Study program.

Bruce Petersen recently joined OSU as the internship and employment developer. He has been connecting with businesses, primarily nonprofits, in the area to try and expand job opportunities for students, including work-study.

“There really hasn’t been anyone focused on expanding that,” said Petersen. “And so that was a big part of establishing this position was to have someone that was engaging with employers.”

Petersen feels that work study benefits everyone involved.

“The employer wins, the student wins, the community wins and the fourth one is that Oregon State University wins as well because we have a better educated student prepared for their employment after graduation or whatever is next,” Petersen said.

Before Petersen started working at OSU in Corvallis, he worked at OSU Cascades in Bend,in a similar position. He saw a lot of success stories for both students and employers. Some student internships led to permanent positions. Other times, unexpected lessons were learned.

“I had a student that came back in September and just said, ‘oh my gosh, I just saved a ton of money, I’m not going to go to law school,”’ Petersen said. “He did an internship with an attorney and he just said, ‘wow, there is no way I’m going to do that for a living.”’

Students can find out if they are eligible to receive work-study by checking their FAFSA award letter. Work-study limits the amount of time that a student can work to 20 hours a week during the school year, however this goes up to 40 hours a week during vacation periods.

OSU has several on campus options for work-study eligible students, from lab work to tutoring. However, there is currently only one off campus option for students, at the BGCC.

Petersen thinks highly of the BGCC and the learning experiences that they provide for OSU students.

“I’m very focused right now on the Boys & Girls Club of Corvallis because they are our one off campus employer and so I really want to make sure that they are having a good number of applicants,” Petersen said. “They have a big need. They are hiring regularly.”

Brian Mills, the Athletics Director at BGCC, sees the need that the organization has for work-study students.

“A lot of work study students don’t know where to look,” Mills said. “In the past what we’ve done is advertised through (career.oregonstate.edu) and we’ve usually had fairly good success with that until the last couple of years. We haven’t been able to necessarily fill all the needs that we have.”

The BGCC offers jobs in their athletics department and in their after school Clubhouse.

“We’re trying to help students that come to town find a job, basically,” Mills said. “And give them some opportunities in a fun environment. If you like to work with kids or around kids what better place can you do it.”

Mills said that this work-study program is not limited to any particular major.

“I’ve had engineers, I’ve had veterinary students, I’ve had English majors,” Mills said.

Kedir has been working as a gym supervisor in the work-study program at BGCC for a little over a year.

“I liked working at the Boys & Girls Club in the beginning because it worked with my school schedule, but as time went, the reason I stayed was because the work environment is nice,” Kedir said. “After I set up for games, my job is just to watch and be alert as the games go on, which I enjoy, and wait for it end.”

Petersen hopes to have a wider variety of jobs for OSU students in the future.

“My vision would be that we would have plenty of opportunities in the community where students could really, they aren’t limited to just things on campus but they are really out there in the community, whether that is parks and recreation or it’s the library or it’s an arts organization that we have in town,” Petersen said. “That they can be out there utilizing this great funding and then the organizations are benefitting as well.”