Growing availability of coronavirus vaccines and declining Maryland unemployment are raising hope for a strengthening economy. MC students and alumni can take advantage of a healthier job market thanks to the College’s Student Career and Employment Services program.
“There are many remote internships,” says Roberta Buckberg, collegewide employer services coordinator. “Some of these opportunities are virtual—based in New York or Philadelphia—which opens them up to job seekers all over the East Coast.”
Buckberg and her team also publicize job postings relevant to the multitude of unique skillsets MC students and alumni have developed.
“Construction is still going on, software development is still going on. Organizations are looking for workers in childcare and remote tutoring. We are getting positions. There are jobs on eJobs in virtually all fields—and students should be looking,” she says.
The eJobs site is a helpful resource to students and alumni. The jobs posted come from different sources: the largest group is from employers in the community posting for MC students and alumni; the second is employers posting at multiple schools, including MC; and the third consists of curated jobs, which, since the onset of the pandemic, is the majority of jobs on the site. These come from other sites, including Idealist.org, USAJobs.gov, or the employer’s website.
Employers interested in listing jobs for Montgomery College students and alumni can contact Roberta Buckberg via email or call her at (301) 873-1872.
Buckberg maintains a highly visible presence with emails to staff and faculty members promoting jobs and internship opportunities. A self-described matchmaker, she says, “I am a good first point of contact for employers. I listen to what the employer needs and I connect them with the appropriate area. For a single position, I will email targeted faculty and all of our programs. If a job focuses on a particular program, say they need an HR intern or childcare worker, I will make a PDF and send it to all faculty in a department.”
The College’s Cooperative Education and Internships Program, run by Angela Beemer, is another avenue students pursue. The Co-op Program allows students to blend classroom learning with on-the-job experience in a business, government, technical, or professional field.
“Internships are structured as a class not only to ensure the student will get meaningful experience and training, it also gives them the opportunity to write about what they learned, to think about the skills they acquired, and revise their resume,” Buckberg says. “They are learning how to incorporate and market those skills.”
Buckberg jokes she will do anything—short of walking around Rockville Pike with a sandwich board—to promote jobs for MC students.
This gives students an advantage because employers are looking for is internship experience, according to a survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the leading source of information on the employment of college-educated students.
Through internships, students enhance their technical skills and their soft skills—all while earning money. Buckberg says the Fair Labor Standards Act stipulates most internships be paid, with only a few exceptions.
Student Career and Employment Services also employs four student employment specialists, who work individually with students and alumni, as well as provide embedded classroom support in the form of in-class workshops on job-search topics. They help with resume writing, interview preparation, and general job search skills. There are two specialists at the Rockville Campus and one each at the Germantown and Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campuses. They are currently offering services remotely.
Buckberg jokes she will do anything—short of walking around Rockville Pike with a sandwich board—to promote jobs for MC students. “Eighty-five percent of our students have to work. Right now, when people are food and housing insecure, it’s the biggest difference we can make,” she says.
The annual Spring Job Fair will take place—virtually—on Friday, April 16 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. “We have an amazing platform for it. It’s going to feel like a real fair,” Buckberg says. “Everyone gets to video chat in employer booths, and employers can create ‘interview rooms’ to conduct private video chats with individual job seekers.” Students will be able to share their resume with recruiters and get advice and input in the same way they would at an in-person fair.
According to Eric Myren, director of Student Employment Services, it is difficult to measure employment outcomes from these services since the data are based on biannual surveys—and many students do not respond. Last year, 290 students reported getting jobs/internships. Myren believes the actual number is much higher.