No shortage of student jobs this summer

For many students, finding a summer job is a scary prospect each year. Fortunately, opportunities this year are ample, says Tirzah Keffer, summer jobs service co-ordinator at Northern Community Development Services here. view counter “Last year, I’m not sure if there was an issue with funding or if it was because of the mill situation, but there weren’t very many student jobs,” Keffer noted. “This year our job board is just full,” she added. “So full that I don’t know where to put the next posting.” NCDS was able to employ more than 140 students last year—and Keffer hopes to pass that number this year. “We are very proud of our numbers because we are very enthusiastic and we always try to hold ourselves to a higher standard,” she remarked. “We try and help every single student that goes through our door and I’d like to say we do.” Shooniyaa Wa-Biitong, which specializes in employment opportunities for First Nations’ youth of Treaty #3, is reporting similar success. Although most deadlines have now passed, Anokiiwin Job Connect project manager Dana Bridgeman Cross said Shooniyaa Wa-Biitong’s Career Employment Match program was able to employ more than 20 students within the Treaty #3 area. The program allows First Nations’ students to find an employer that fits their interests, career goals, or field of study. They fill out an application form with that employer and then work from there. “It’s an excellent employment opportunity that’s here in Fort Frances every year,” Bridgeman Cross enthused. “But that being said, we still have a lot of great employers that have been posting with us for the summer,” she added. Shooniyaa Wa-Biitong works closely with First Nations’ communities, as well as employers across the district, to maintain valuable employment connections for its clients. NCDS offers a similar program. The Summer Jobs Service, funded by the Ontario government, also is designed to match students with their interests or field of study. Students must be aged 15-30, returning to school in the fall, and not be related to their employer. But unlike Shooniyaa Wa-Biitong’s Career Employment Match program, this one is ongoing and students can apply at any time during the summer. Keffer said even those who are unsuccessful with the program still have a chance at employment. “The students who are unsuccessful with the matching process, I save their contact information,” she explained. “And when jobs come up throughout the summer that I think they might be interested in, I can give them a call and see if they want to apply.” Both NCDS and Shooniyaa Wa-Biitong also offer services that work with students one-on-one to perfect résumés, cover letters, and job interviews. These services are available either by appointment or walk-in. Students can begin their active job search by checking out the job banks offered online on the NCDS, Shooniyaa Wa-Biitong, and Ministry of Northern Development and Mines websites. But Keffer said for NCDS, it might be more beneficial to drop into its Scott Street office since the online job bank is not updated every day. “Searching for a job is difficult sometimes but that’s why the services are here,” she remarked. Kurtwood McGuire, a Grade 12 student at Fort High, can attest to that. McGuire, who first came to NCDS two years ago, said it has been one of the most helpful services he’s used for landing a summer job. “When I first came to NCDS, I didn’t know how to write a résumé,” he admitted. “They helped me through the steps and gave me some good tips.” McGuire, who still works at Safeway, where he first got hired through NCDS, has tips to offer those who still are looking for a summer job. “Relax, calm down, and don’t stress the whole time,” he suggested. “Apply wherever you want to,” he added. “You might not get it but it helps to apply. “They can help you a lot here at NCDS,” McGuire continued. “Without a place like this, I wouldn’t have been able to do a lot.” Keffer said she believes teaching students the skills they need to find a job is a high priority. “Students are the younger generation and we need to raise the importance of job searching; the importance of getting into the workforce and having a valuable employment experience, especially in the field that you are interested [in],” she reasoned. “They are a very valuable member of the community and we need to recognize that.” Northern Development and Mines minister Michael Gravelle agreed ample positions are available this year. “My ministry is currently in the process of evaluating requests for subsidies and we are encouraged by the volume of applicants,” he noted in a press release. “It is expected that we will support approximately 4,200 student jobs this summer. “Our government is proud of our Summer Jobs Service, which has proven to be an attractive program for employers in the north,” Gravelle added. Gravelle said the job opportunities offered by his ministry vary from positions in mines and city parks to post-secondary institutions, shops, and restaurants.