Temps find steadier work at Penn's Job Center

By Sandy Smith

Looking for work, or looking for workers? Short-term or long-term? The Penn Job Center has you covered.

The Job Center, operated by Todays Penn Partnership since last July, offers one-stop shopping for people looking for and offices looking to fill support positions. The center deepens the partnership between Penn's Division of Human Resources and Todays Office Staffing, which has been providing temporary office staff to the University since 1995.

The cooperation benefits the job-seeker, the employer and the University, said Manager of Recruitment Services Alicia Brill.

"We can negotiate a better rate for temporary services because of the volume," Brill said. And since the Todays staff at the center know Penn offices and their needs, they can better assess prospective office support employees and match them with the right jobs.

Current and prospective employees can use the Penn Job Center to brush up on their skills. Here, manager Michelle Llewellyn helps Safiya Bint-Ishmawiyl practice with spreadsheets.

Photo by Candace diCarlo

The Job Center, which is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays, at 3550 Market St., allows anyone looking for a job at Penn to use its computers to examine all current job openings and apply for jobs on-line.

Edward McAnany, a receptionist at the Institute for Human Gene Therapy, was surprised at the speed of the process. "I went into the office, said I needed a job, and they said 'Can you start tomorrow?'" he said. "Within a day, they had assessed my different skills, told me the kinds of jobs I could do, and the next day I was [working on a temp assignment]." Within a month, his assignment had become a regular full-time job.

And since Todays offers medical benefits, holiday and vacation pay after workers have met hours-worked requirements, even those who prefer temporary work can still come out ahead.

Take administrative assistant Kia Clarkson, for example. "Temporary work fits my schedule, especially with school, and you can write your own ticket in terms of hours," she said.

In fact, she turned down a job offer from her present employer, Penn's Development Office, because it wouldn't be fair. "If you are going to go to school [full-time], you don't want to get something permanent only to have to leave if you are accepted," she said.

There's one more benefit for employer and employee: the chance to win valuable prizes. Administrators can earn frequent-flyer miles for the hours that temporary staffers work, and temps can win a variety of prizes, including a Volkswagen Beetle, for superior job performance. Call the Job Center at 222-3400 for details.

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Originally published on February 25, 1999