Student Employment: Pathway to Academic and Career Success

Student workers develop competencies they need to excel in the workplace

Paying for college can be a challenge for many students. One convenient and advantageous way to offset the cost is to find employment on campus as a student worker. Dakota County Technical College offers a wide range of opportunities for students seeking jobs that can not only boost their incomes, but also provide the means to build the skill sets they’ll need to compete in the job market and succeed in the workplace.

“Working on campus is beneficial for our students in a number of important ways,” said Anna Voight, associate director of student life. “Students get hands-on, work-related experience. They also make connections that can generate letters of recommendation, job references and/or leads on future jobs.”

Anna pointed out other benefits, including:

Academics: Students working on campus are more inclined to stick with their studies. They create a support structure of friends, colleagues and mentors who promote academic success.

Community: Students are more apt to meet and interact with faculty, staff and other students, which in turn encourages them to become even more involved in their campus community.

Location: Jobs on campus typically reduce travel time, commuter stress and transportation costs.

Financial: Income from on-campus jobs helps students cover tuition, books and supplies, and living expenses, which can diminish their student debt.

Personal satisfaction: Jobs on campus are primarily focused on students serving students with the overall goal to advance the college’s mission.¹ Student workers develop a spirit of service knowing they have helped other students achieve success on their academic journeys. Students who work on campus are more likely to have a positive college experience. They graduate better prepared for life and their future careers.

I had two on-campus jobs when I attended DCTC: Office Careers student worker and student ambassador. My experience as a student ambassador is what propelled me into my current career in Student Life at the college. I loved it so much I didn’t want to graduate—I just wanted to be a student ambassador for my long-term job! 😊
Anna Voight
2009 Alumna
Associate Director of Student Life
Former Student Ambassador and Office Careers Student Worker

Dakota County Technical College

Dakota County Technical College

Student Employment Philosophy

  • The emphasis of student employment at Dakota County Technical College (DCTC) is focused on students serving students in support of the college mission.¹
  • Employment is an important source of student financial assistance.
  • Work experience is important for the achievement of future goals.
  • College commitment to student education is advanced through student employment. An essential knowledge of work ethic and responsibility is gained through work.
  • A pool of qualified and contributing student employees is essential to fulfill college needs.

Check on job openings and apply for student employment by visiting:

Student Employment

Students should apply for employment even if no job openings are listed.
Questions about the application process? Contact:

Michael Crider
Financial Aid Representative

Questions about how to become a student ambassador? Contact:

Anna Voight
Associate Director of Student Life

Building career readiness skills

DCTC is committed to helping students learn and grow through their roles as student employees. The college’s Student Affairs division has implemented performance evaluations for student employees as part of the college’s co-curricular assessment process.

The performance evaluation concentrates on the eight career readiness competencies as identified by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). One key goal of the evaluations is for student employees to develop the eight competencies via their on-campus work experience.

Anna Voight, associate director of student life, pointed out that the evaluations also welcome input from student employees regarding their experiences with the idea to find ways to improve the program. She noted that many of the college’s student employees have gone on to gain employment at DCTC after they graduated.

Student and graduate perspectives

Fawaz Rabiu

Age: 26
Major: Digital Marketing Specialist, A.A.S.
Current Student Ambassador
DCTC graduation date: May 2022
Hometown: Ikorodu Nigeria
Why did you choose Digital Marketing Specialist as your major?
I chose this program because I’m passionate about the digital world and the tools it uses to communicate via internet. Owning my own online business in the future and marketing it are other reasons why I chose this program.

Fawaz Rabiu is looking forward to following his entrepreneurial dreams by launching his own online business. Fawaz is also open to the idea of transferring to a four-year college or university to earn a bachelor’s degree.

An exceptionally engaged student on campus, Fawaz serves as a student ambassador and Student Senate secretary. He also participates in TRIO Student Support Services.

Fawaz Rabiu Q & A

How does your role working on campus as a student ambassador help you acclimate to college life?

My role as a student ambassador on campus has helped me grow my leadership and communication skills. Furthermore, it has inspired me to take a more active role in representing the school as part of the Student Senate team

What do you enjoy most about your job as a student ambassador?

I would say I enjoy everything from representing the college at off-campus events to providing assistance in the office and/or preforming other duties as assigned.

What advice would you give students thinking about working on campus while they go to college?

One piece of advice I would give is to get the most out of the different types of work the school as to offer, which will allow you to develop your skills and gain news ones as well.

In what ways will your experience as a student worker help you adapt to life in your chosen career?

My job as a student worker will help me adapt to life in my chosen career from the work I’ve done in areas such as data entry, Microsoft application entry and document scanning. The experience I’ll gain from networking, time management, customer service, communication skills and organizational skills will benefit me with my chosen career as well.

Lanh Nguyen

Age: 30
2019 Alumna
Major: Accounting, A.A.S.
Former Enrollment Services Student Worker
Hometown: La Gi, Vietnam
Why did you choose to enroll in the Accounting program at DCTC?
I wanted to study abroad because it was my dream to experience education in a developed country. My former high school teacher lived close to the campus, and she recommended that I enroll at DCTC due to the college’s affordable tuition. After searching on the internet, I learned that Accounting program curriculum was practical, which could help me enter the workforce early while saving up for a bachelor’s degree.

Lanh Nguyen attended DCTC as an international student. Before leaving Vietnam to come to the U.S. in 2016, Lanh earned a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) from Hoa Sen University in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

While excelling as a full-time student at DCTC (three semesters on the President’s List), Lanh worked for two years in Enrollment Services the college’s Student Affairs division. She also participated in numerous student clubs, organizations, events and activities. She was a member of Business Professionals of America (BPA), the Student Senate Budget Committee, the Multicultural Student Leadership Association (MSLA) and the Presidential Search Committee.

Today, she works as an export analyst for CHS, a worldwide agribusiness owned by farmers, ranchers and cooperatives across the U.S. Lanh’s future college plans include earning a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a graduate degree in supply chain management over the next five years.

Lanh Nguyen Q & A

How did your role working in Enrollment Services help you succeed as a college student?

Working in Enrollment Services was the bridge that connected me with the activities on campus. It sounds strange, but true. As an international student, I was reluctant to participate in any clubs or activities on campus even though I thought they were interesting. It was mostly because I am an introvert, and I was not comfortable being in a crowd.

Then, I thought I could have some fun working on campus because I knew I was better at working than talking. So, I asked my advisor if she happened to know any job opportunity on campus.

A week or two later, she told me to apply for one in Enrollment Services. Since then, I made more friends and built up my confidence around people. Friends and people in Enrollment Services encouraged me to attend student senate meetings and other routine club events. I became more involved on campus.

How did your experience working on campus help you make the transition to the CHS workforce?

I can say some of the tasks I did as a student worker helped train me to be more detail oriented, which is a must-have trait to succeed in my current job. However, it was the teamwork spirit, I think, that made me stand out among other applicants. At Enrollment Services, I saw fun and smooth cooperation between team members. Everyone in Admissions, the front-desk people, enrollment and financial aid advisors, registrars, and Student Life members all worked together to provide the best service to students and visitors.

In my opinion, clear communication and willingness to take on work are the secret factors making Enrollment Services a successful team. I was lucky to be part of this spirit, and I am grateful to have the opportunities to learn and apply that spirit at my current position.

What did you enjoy most about your job as a student worker?

I can’t decide which I enjoyed the most between the flexible schedule and the friendly work environment.

Unlike other part-time jobs where employees need to choose available shifts or hours that are set by the employer, this job allowed me to set up my own hours that worked best around my class time. At the beginning of each semester, my supervisor and I had a quick conversation on the date and time I would come for work. It varied between 30 minutes to some hour-long periods, provided my total time did not exceed 20 hours a week.

I could also come to work, then leave for classes, and come back to the office to pick up where I had left off earlier. I found this flexibility very helpful when I had some idle time between classes and clubs.

Working at Enrollment Services is also fun! More often than not, I heard jokes and compliments from our advisors and staff members. Their jobs may be stressful at times, but they tried to smile often and make people around them laugh or feel comfortable. I can say from my short working time before and after at Enrollment Services that not all of the work environments I have experienced were as enjoyable as the one in Enrollment Services.

What advice would you give students thinking about working on campus while they go to college?

My first and foremost suggestion about working on campus is to give it a try! Get information at the jobs center on campus. Search on DCTC’s job site. Ask your advisors and friends if a position is open. The positions may not be available at the time, but people who know there may be a need of those positions in the future will give you a head start on the application.

The pay may not be as competitive as jobs off campus, but it is sure nice to earn a little extra while you are waiting between classes. You don’t have to work a full 20 hours per week. Sign up for as many hours as you could.

When I scheduled my work hours, I tried my best to keep the commitment, and I would suggest the same for anyone else. The schedule is super flexible, and the people on campus are very easygoing, but the work needs to get done. If you can’t come to work, make sure to let your supervisor know in advance. This makes it easier for your supervisor to assign the work to other student workers and manage your time.

Tasks at this position vary and are typically simple, yet there is usually something new to learn. So, another piece of advice is to be mindful of what you can learn while assisting others. These takeaways could be helpful when you seek your dream job further down the road.

Nathaniel Gobah

Age: 33
2019 Alumnus
Major: Biomedical Equipment Technology, A.A.S.
Former Student Ambassador
Residence: Burnsville, Minnesota
Why did you choose Biomedical Equipment Technology as your major?
I chose the program because of my passion for and experience with technology. Moreover, I spent most of my time during middle school and high school working on a lot of electronics. I am so glad I made this decision to enroll in this program.

Nathanial Gobah is looking forward to continuing his biomedical equipment studies at the University of Massachusetts.

Nathanial Gobah Q & A

How did your work on campus as a student ambassador help you acclimate to college life?

My work as a student ambassador helped me on campus in many ways. I learned how to work with a lot of students on campus while carrying out some administrative duties. This experience increased my confidence and took away my fear.

What did you enjoy most about your job as a student ambassador?

I enjoyed working with students on campus—helping them and answering their questions respectfully.

What advise would you give students thinking about working on campus while they go to college?

I think all students should take the advantage of this opportunity to work as a student ambassador. This is like your first step in what ever area of work that you are preparing yourself for. Moreover, by working with your fellow students, you can grow your confidence and prepare yourself for the future profession that you are pursuing.

In what way will your experience as a student worker help you adapt to life in your chosen career.

My experience as a student worker offered me the opportunity to relate my school studies to the workplace. I gained insights into the diversity of employees in the workplace and improved my maturity, confidence and self-reliance.

Garrett McAdams

Age: 25
Major: Electrical Construction & Maintenance Technology, A.A.S.
Former Student Ambassador
Why did you choose Electrical Construction & Maintenance Technology as your major?
I chose this program because of my mechanical background and interest in becoming an electrician

Garrett McAdams served in U.S. Marine Corps for five years. Garrett’s Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) was CH-53E Helicopter Mechanic; his rank at discharge was sergeant (E-5). He is focusing his career plans on working as an electrician and becoming a journeyman electrician.

How did your role working on campus as a student ambassador help you transition from life in the military?

Working as a student ambassador on campus helped me to transition out of the military because I went from working in a constantly fast-paced environment that was stressful to a calm office environment that helped me to slow down and be more relaxed while working.

What did you enjoy most about your job as a student ambassador?

What I enjoyed most about working as a student ambassador was all the people I worked with. Everyone was very helpful and patient with me learning to work in an environment I’d never worked in before. They were a big part of my transition.

What advice would you give military veterans thinking about working on campus while they go to college?

My advice to veterans thinking about working on campus while going to school would be to do it. I took a position doing something I’d never done before, and I was nervous about it, but I learned so many things. I worked with amazing people and gained skills that are transferable to my career as an electrician.

Learn more about student employment at DCTC by contacting:

Anna Voight
Associate Director of Student Life

Michael Crider
Financial Aid Representative

¹ The mission of Dakota County Technical College is to provide collegiate-level education for employment that will empower individuals to enhance their opportunities for career advancement and success in a global economy.