Penguins waddle through off-campus opportunities

Students can take jobs off campus as a way to learn the professional environment. Photos by Kara Boerio / The Jambar

By Kara Boerio

Students don’t have to limit gaining hands-on experience to on-campus opportunities. They can get involved off campus to expand the knowledge and skills learned and apply them in the professional community.

Kelly Hammonds, manager of strategic partnership and crew development for Program Productions Inc., offers job opportunities for students. They can be hired as Utilities, production assistants, runners and parabolic mic operators for entry-level positions. 

She finds students to hire through media or communications instructors and said an instructor is a student’s best connection to the professional community, as they often have connections a student may not be aware of. 

“Start by looking for opportunities at school and take advantage of them,” Hammonds said. “Instructors are the ones who are going to provide a reference, make an impact on campus and then look for opportunities when you have built a solid foundation of skills.” 

Hammonds starts the hiring process by asking instructors for recommendations.

“If an instructor sees someone who is succeeding on campus and taking advantage of opportunities locally, then they will recommend them for additional experiences that come along,” she said.

Hammonds said it’s an eye-opening experience and a chance to see different career paths, and anything learned in the field can be brought back and applied to the school’s program. Her company will continue to hire students who are getting hands-on experience on campus.

Felicia Hatcher Brown, lead Skilled Utility for Hammonds’ company, works in professional and college sports. A Utility is an entry-level position in the technical field of production and is a good position for someone to start in, she said.

“A good Utility is worth a million dollars to a production, especially one that follows directions [and] they know how to do all the technical cable runs and plug-ins,” she said. “I hope anybody that works with me will understand how to run a cable, they know the male end from the female end and they know how to wrap a cable.” 

Working in a professional setting gives students a chance to secure a job after graduation.

College students benefit by working in production because what they learn can help them secure jobs after graduation, she said.

“It’s a good opportunity because it will give work experience, something to put on [student’s] resume, help [to] get other jobs and to network with people,” Brown said. 

Paul Ditchey, a lecturer at YSU in the communications department, said if students take advantage of entry-level job opportunities and work hard, it can lead to future employment. 

“It could lead to a full-time job, which is why I would assume everybody is in college, plus [it pays] pretty good even while [students are] in college to do those jobs,” Ditchey said.

Off-campus opportunities benefit students because they teach them what they need to do to secure employment in their chosen career fields, he said.

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