Despite the cloud of atrophy covering much of the nation’s job market, employers still regularly call Seth Ohms seeking employees.
But these aren't just any employers, and they aren't looking for just anybody. They're federal agencies and they want Thunderbirds.
When the Intergovernmental Internship Cooperative at Southern Utah University in 2007, the initial focus was on connecting land management agencies Outdoor Recreation.
However, as students have entered employment at these agencies, their work ethic and skills have impressed their employers, prompting these agencies to specifically seek out more SUU students from a wider range of majors.
"We’ve found jobs for history majors, construction management majors, English majors, art majors -- everything from accounting to zoology," says Ohms, with a smile of pride.
Students have been employed to produce training videos, design buildings, write instructional material and a host of other positions.
Ohms explains, “While a lot of our students sign up for summer jobs, they’re a lot better workers than most summer labor. These students are interested in these fields as careers, so they work harder and smarter than normal summer employees would.”
Agencies apparently agree with Ohms about the value of SUU students, as evidenced by the growing list of agencies that partner with SUU to provide employment opportunities.
While it is not uncommon for a university to partner with a specific agency to provide employment, it is unique for one University to partner with such a wide range of agencies to provide jobs in so many different fields.
"Our program is actually unique in the whole country; there's nothing quite like this out there. We have other universities calling us all the time asking for help in setting up something similar at their schools," boasts Ohms.
SUU students are definitely taking advantage of this unique program, using the resources Ohms provides to find quality jobs that often lead to full-time employment. Last year alone, Ohms helped more than 200 students find employment with a variety of agencies.
The list of participating agencies and job types continues to increase, and Ohms expects further growth in the future.
“Because funding for the agencies we work with can change from year to year, we’re never quite sure what the next year will bring. But I fully expect the number of jobs we’re able to find for students will continue to increase.”
A number of agencies will be on hand at the upcoming Public Lands Employment Day Wednesday, February 2, from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the Student Center Living Room. Students of all majors are welcome, and agencies like Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks, the Division of Wildlife Resources, and the Utah State Parks will be attending.
In addition, Ohms maintains a mailing list to provide students with current and upcoming opportunities. If you are interested in receiving these updates, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
IIC at SUU
The Intergovernmental Internship Cooperative was established as a partnership between Southern Utah University and Public Lands Agencies in the Southern Utah Region to develop a more effective work and project based internship program that will benefit students, agencies and faculty.
For students, the process has been streamlined to make it even quicker and easier to apply for internships with the public land agencies in the Southern Utah region.
For agencies, there is now one centralized location to advertise internships, post one-time projects and check out needs from university classes.