Large Scale Layoffs hit RCC

Due to the economic situation, Riverside City College was forced to make difficult decisions and sacrifices due to its budget. The Federal Work Study program has taken an especially hard hit. Students are no longer allowed to work under Federal Work Study for the remainder of 2009.

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By Erene Abdelmeseeh

To the resuce (Joshua Pedroza)

By Erene Abdelmeseeh

Due to the economic situation, Riverside City College was forced to make difficult decisions and sacrifices due to its budget.

The Federal Work Study program has taken an especially hard hit.

Students are no longer allowed to work under Federal Work Study for the remainder of 2009.

This comes from exhausted funds and unusually high retainment numbers of Federal Work Study employees from previous semesters.

Federal Work Study is a form of government-funded financial aid.

It gives students the opportunity to earn funds through part-time employment, while assisting them in financing the costs of postsecondary education. These positions are usually in fields related to the students’ major of study.

Many are arguing that the lay-offs are not only bad for the program’s students, but also for Riverside City College.

“Many of our tutors and lab aides in the Math Learning Center are FWS students,” said Kathy Nabours, a mathematics faculty member. “Without them, we may have to shut down for periods when they were covering and hence offer less service to Riverside City College students who really need the help.”

Most are outraged by the short amount of time given to students to find another job.

Students working under Federal Work Study were given less than a week notice (about four or five days) that they would be laid off, leaving little time to find other jobs to replace their current employment.

Fortunately, places like the Reading and Writing Center are offering an opportunity for these students to find a new job.

James Seals, the instructional support specialist at the Writing and Reading Center, admitted that the center had also exhausted its funds earlier, during the Fall 2008 semester.

“We want to help the students,” Seals said. “We want to give them jobs.”

Seals said that the center had to make sacrifices by cutting hours in order to save funds and be able to hire students before the end of this Spring 2009 semester.

“It is our intent that these new hires will be approved before semester’s end so that we can begin their training during finals week,” Seals said. “We will then be rehiring them for summer employment with the potential of moving into the fall semester.”

Requirements for the available positions are: either concurrent enrollment into or having passed English 1A with high marks, a resume to be presented for review two business days prior to the start of interviews, familiarity with MLA style and an ability to operate with a diverse student population.

The Writing and Reading Center will be accepting applications until April 24, with interviews to be scheduled through the weekend until April 29.

The interviews will be conducted in the Martin Luther King Building, room 126.

“Believe me; I know how hard this economic crisis is,” Seals said. “And I do not accept the caveat that this was a decision that anyone over at Student Employment made lightly. But times are tough. We must rise to meet these challenges, and serve our students to the best of our abilities.”

Seals said that the Writing and Reading Center hopes to increase the student employee population for next semester.

For more information on the positions offered in the Writing and Reading Center, contact James Seals at james.seals@rcc.edu.