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New Position Will Help JSU Students Find Better Jobs

Sarah Aultman

By Sherry Kughn
JSU News Bureau

20 September 2004 — A full-time position added to Jacksonville State University’s Department of Career Placement Services will help students find quality jobs or improve their chances to obtain co-op job opportunities.

“We are proud to announce that Sarah Aultman, who has served as a graduate assistant for the past year, has been hired as our new cooperative education coordinator,” said the department’s director, Janet White. “She is passionate about helping students and is a perfect fit in helping us improve our programs.”

Ms. Aultman is a Long Beach, Calif., native who previously worked for a corporate recruiter. She holds a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies and human development from California State University, San Marcos, and has lived in Hokes Bluff for about a year. She will continue to complete her master’s degree at JSU as she undertakes her new full-time role.

“I’m so happy to help provide opportunities for students to obtain quality jobs,” said Ms. Aultman. “It is really satisfying.”

Coupled with the announcement is the department’s release of its highest number of state placements, which is up to 32 during the first two quarters of 2004. The number in the area of co-operative education is up to 40 for the fall semester 2004.

Ms. Aultman said that about four or five students have applied daily for assistance since the end of June. Sixteen companies have requested workers for approximately 50 jobs. Figures in both areas represent the largest numbers in JSU history. She believes her department is poised on the brink of more growth.

The first reason is the university’s participation in the Internet program, which has improved communications between students, the department and the business community.

The second reason for growth is efforts by the department. “Mrs. White has made a focused effort throughout the past few years to establish relationships with those who offer jobs in state and federal governments and with those who recruit from corporations,” said Ms. Aultman.

A third reason is the improved economy along the I-20 corridor related to the automotive industries. A 2004 report released by the Center for Economic Development and Business Research (CED) at JSU stated that the corridor, which runs from the Alabama state line near Atlanta through Tuscaloosa, is the main artery for the influx of 127,310 statewide jobs and the input of $5.4 billion now fueling Alabama's economic growth.

Undergraduate students who need assistance with job placement or co-op opportunities are eligible after they have 24 hours of college credit and have declared a major. Because JSU is small enough to give individual attention, Mrs. Altman finds that she also “does a little bit of career counseling” to help those who are interested in co-op but are unsure of their career choice.

The advancements in JSU’s co-op and placement programs appear to be a part of a more positive view by businesses throughout the nation to seek qualified workers through universities. The National Association of Colleges and Employers released a 2005 Job Outlook Fall Preview bulletin that states 61.4 percent of employers plan to increase their college hiring this year and next. Government and nonprofit agencies plan to hire 19.8 percent more college graduates. Those responding to the hiring surveys were in three areas – manufacturing, service, and government/nonprofit.

Students working in co-op programs may choose to work one of two work periods – the alternating or the parallel. In the alternating period, students alternate semesters with either full-time work or a full schedule of classes. In the parallel period, students work at a job in their field (sometimes complete with benefits) and attend at least two classes per semester, either at night or as time allows in their day schedule.

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