The United States unemployment rate continues to increase with a new record of 22 million Americans claiming unemployment. Across the globe, everyone is seeing COVID-19‘s effects on the economy. In the U.S., many people have been laid off or given paid leave due to the large amount of businesses, restaurants and stores that have had to close.
Although stimulus checks were distributed earlier in the month of April, many people are still finding it difficult to make ends meet. Student Kensey Hall was working as a barista at Blip Roasters when the spread of coronavirus began.
“I stopped working at Blip a month ago,” Hall said. “The managers called a meeting and told us that since we’re a local company it would be hard for us to bring in customers, which meant that they wouldn’t have enough money to pay us while we were working there. That’s when they recommended that it would be best if we filed for unemployment.”
This is the case for many college students that work at a non-essential business. The lack of income will continue to impact the lives of most people. There are still costs of living and necessities that can’t be ignored, which, without a stable income, are difficult to afford.
The college is trying to combat this with the help of the Career Development Center. Prior to the pandemic, the Career Development Center was available for all students who were looking to get a little help with finding and applying for jobs as well as internships. Since the college closed, they have moved all of their resources online.
“One of the things we want to emphasize is that the services and the resources that are offered are still available,” Crystal Stokes, coordinator for the Career Development Center, said. “If you go to the website there are so many resources that we have there. So, that’s the message we’re trying to get out to students.”
There are multiple ways for students to get in contact with the center. Whether it’s through their website or social media, the resources are there waiting to be accessed.
“Students can still receive resume and cover letter critiques via Zoom or schedule a one–on–one appointment about the job search process,” Stokes said. “They can meet with any of the information specialists as well. So, a lot of our services are still available, and we really want let students know, ‘Hey, don’t forget, we’re still here.’”
In addition to those resources, students can also explore careers through workshops, learn about the job market, apply for internships and prepare for interviews. With the current state of the world, the center is working extra hard to find jobs for students who are now unemployed. Leslie Washington, Internship and Employer Relations coordinator, has been working with students directly to find them jobs and internships.
“What I’ve really been doing is directing [students] to our job links page, where we are posting any job or internship opportunities that are coming in to us,” Washington said. “We have employers coming to us all the time, so as soon as I get them, I’m [posting] them to the jobs link page.”
Washington believes that making connections is the best way to start the job searching process. She has contacted organizations in the Kansas City area that have job boards for companies that are looking for extra help during the pandemic. While a lot of them are entry level jobs, they are still providing employment opportunities for students in need.
“Right now, the internships are going kind of slow because they don’t know if this summer will be a virtual one or not,” Washington said. “The organizations are having to adjust to online setting so there’s been a decrease in internships. However, I am still connecting with organizations and receiving internship opportunities.”
While there is still a lot of uncertainty about what the future will look like, the Career Development Center is continuing their mission of preparing students for the future regardless of what that may look like.
“This is the new normal,” Stokes said. “This is the new way that business will be conducted. There’s talk about opening the economy little by little, and letting companies start hiring again, or bringing back their old employees who got laid off, but the virtual world is here to stay. I don’t see it going away, and even if they are hiring again, I think you’re going to still see that world stay in place.”
By Alieu Jagne (firstname.lastname@example.org).