Each summer, the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Business Administration Information Technology Services unit partners with the Lincoln Human Resource Management Association (LHRMA) in conjunction with the Career Academy of Lincoln Public Schools to give local high school students the opportunity to work in IT. The program known as 1st
Job-Lincoln began in 2013 and promotes the concept of preparing youth for their first professional job. Ty Biggerstaff, help center supervisor at CBA, believes the reciprocal nature of the program benefits the students and the college.
“The students experience what it’s like to get up every morning and go to work,” said Biggerstaff. “These are students interested in computer science, and this lets them see first-hand whether the technology industry is the right step for them. It also prepares them for college by showing them whether this job fits with a particular major they have in mind.”
Practical life skills are also an important benefit. Biggerstaff sees students grow in ways beyond learning individual job skills.
“It teaches them to take responsibility and effectively communicate with peers and other individuals at the college. These are 17-year-old kids entering their senior year in high school and experiencing all the things that come with working with other people professionally for the first time,” he said.
He has seen many of the high school workers contribute quickly to the IT Services support needs at CBA. It also gives the college a chance to evaluate potential future employees.
“Brandon Warren worked for us as a member of the 1st
Job-Lincoln program. After graduating high school, we asked him to come back as a regular employee. CBA was able to get a fantastic worker who has continued with us for two years,” he said.
David Hartline, director of information technology and facilities operation, helped facilitate the program at CBA. Hartline himself began working at CBA while in college and understands the importance of learning to blend school with a job.
“Information technology at a place as large as UNL is complicated, and the 1st
Job-Lincoln interns have made great strides in understanding and helping out,” said Hartline. “We have no doubt the program works and look forward to working with 1st
Job-Lincoln again next year.”
Kim Michael, LHRMA Readiness Committee Director, helped spearhead the project in 2013 and recognized the interns from various employers at a ceremony held at CBA on July 28. She lauded the students for their excellent work.
“The program is very competitive,” said Michael. “The students had to go through a vigorous vetting process just to become eligible to participate. We tell our employers to look at the candidates and if they find a match that’s great but these aren’t mercy hires. The students have to work hard for these jobs.”
CBA ITS participants included Adam Zastrow, Pius X High School, who worked in the new media unit and assisted with video production; Sabrina Nelsen, Lincoln Southeast High School, who worked at the Help Center with general help desk tickets and CBA storage issues and Grayson Clark, Lincoln Northeast High School, who worked at the Help Center and contributed to replacing the ITS checkout system.