The Rocky Mount Telegram ~ Sunday, March 17, 2013
Website matches employers with workers, By Jim Holt
A unique employment networking mechanism aimed at connecting current students with local jobs pertaining to their skill sets is gaining traction at N.C. Wesleyan College.
Originating in New York, the online platform dubbed Hourly.com operates in much the same way Match.com does, except it helps employers find employees with the specific skills needed to fill vacant positions.
N.C. Wesleyan College has been selected as the first pilot school outside of New York to implement the networking tool, which allows students to find local employment opportunities that fit their strengths free of charge.
“For us, there is one overriding objective, and that is to help our students get good part-time jobs while at Wesleyan that will help them afford a college education,” N.C. Wesleyan College President Jim Gray said. “The rising cost of tuition and affordability of college is the number one issue in America nowadays.”
When the college first heard about Hourly.com, Gray said staff saw it as an opportunity to help the students.
“A lot of the students may have part-time jobs now that do not fit their primary skill sets – like if a biology major gets a job waiting tables,” Gray said. “That really doesn’t do a whole lot for the student’s career. If they get a part-time job in the field they are pursuing, that might turn into a full-time job one day, which would mean more of our students ultimately would stay in Rocky Mount following graduation.”
Whereas other websites strictly match employers to resumes, Hourly.com matches employers’ needs to a student’s skill base, Gray said.
“While there is a small charge for businesses to post their openings, it is free of charge for all students,” Gray said. “All colleges are really struggling with how we can help the affordability crisis in America, and this is one of the ways we can do it. The student government association is very excited about it.”
The college recently offered a sign-up session for job seekers, and already approximately 40 college students from freshmen to seniors have filled out short personal profiles to be entered into the Hourly.com database.
Not only does Hourly.com provide an opportunity for college students to find local employment that can assist with college costs, it also represents a new option to link students to career-related jobs that build both resumes and skill development, college officials said.
The website also allows students to develop professional relationships as well as positive credit history.
“(Hourly.com) helps the community in that it connects employers with educated students to fill full-time and part-time jobs,” said Tiffany Alexander, the college’s career development director. “It gets the students out into the community more.”
One of the key benefits of Hourly.com is that it allows the students to begin networking early on, Alexander said.
“It also gives the students another chance to work on their interviewing and resume-writing skills,” Alexander said. “With Hourly.com, the employers also know they are getting a college student as opposed to someone just walking in off the street, and that is a huge advantage.”
Hourly.com CEO and co-founder Brooke Dixon could not be reached by presstime.