Northern students looking for a part-time job can find help with a social networking site that is connecting them with local businesses that are hiring.
Community Ties to Entrepreneurship is a multi-year program developed by professors at Michigan State University’s Department Telecommunication, Information Studies and Media, and is funded by a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture. The goal of the program is interaction between students and local businesses in rural areas through a social networking site.
This Web site allows students to look for jobs and internships in the Marquette area and communicate directly with the businesses that are hiring. And like many other social networking sites, it is free of cost and only requires a simple registration in order to use it.
But the Community Ties Web site is not like many other job boards on the internet, said Becky Roth, the graduate student assistant at MSU and a member of the project team.
“The whole idea of the project was to make a social networking site. We’re trying to encourage business to post part time jobs and we’re also trying to get businesses to come looking for talented young people in the community,” Roth said.
Robert LaRose, professor of Telecommunication, Information Studies and Media, and director of the Community Ties program, said that another objective of the program is to educate young people on the jobs available for them in their hometowns.
“The brightest young people go away to college and don’t come back to their hometowns. Part of the reasons for that is they aren’t aware of the opportunities beyond the obvious like doctors or lawyers. We are trying to link them online to adults in the community to show them there are opportunities in rural communities that are visible to everyone.”
Right now, Community Ties is sponsoring a contest that will provide one local business with a paid intern from January to May 2010. In order to apply, students must visit the community ties Web site and post on one of the forums why they should be given a paid internship, Roth said.
Businesses interested in applying for the internship contest should also visit the Web site to enter. The contest ends on Dec. 1, when a committee of community members, MSU faculty and Community Ties will decide on the winning business and student.
Marquette was one of the four rural places in the state chosen to help pilot the program with the intention of studying social networking in rural areas. Other sites include Grand Traverse County, Oscoda County and Otsego County.
The Web site has been active for a year, but hasn’t yet received much traffic, Roth said. She hopes that the internship competition will change that.
“Right now, it’s a great resource that isn’t utilized as much as it could be but if it is, it will stick around.”
Students interested in participating can visit www.communityties.us/Marquette.