A new computer program at College of the Canyons is helping students find jobs at a rate of about one every other day, a success rate that is drawing job-seeking students from other colleges and laid-off workers to the campus.
Margo Dieguez, a job placement specialist at the college, said that more than 900 students, alumni and non-students have been lured into the college's career center by the new program.
The program, called Jobmatch, was started Sept. 1 and has found jobs for 45 students.
"We've had people who come in from General Motors who have been laid off. It's sad. It's for COC students only," Dieguez said. "I found I had a lot of students from Pierce College who had heard about it. I was having to turn them away."
Past College of the Canyons students who have student identification cards, as well as current students, can use the service, which is free to both students and the college, Dieguez said. Students simply fill out applications, which are loaded into a computer.
Employers then contact the college with job openings or the college retrieves a list of job openings from Jobtrak, another computer software system, Dieguez said. About five new jobs are listed with the college each day.
Instead of relying on job bulletin boards, which may list jobs that are already filled, Jobmatch allows the college to telephone students immediately about a job. The system also provides students with a computer printout describing the job, Dieguez said.
Many of the jobs available pay more than minimum wage, Dieguez said. "When it's $6 or $7 an hour, during this time, a recession, that's not too bad for a student," she said.
Dona Giordano, 18, agrees. A freshman, Giordano got a $6.25-an-hour job as a switchboard operator with Carpeteria in Valencia through Jobmatch. "I think that it is the greatest thing they've got," she said of the program.
Dieguez said students receive referrals to only three jobs at a time. To receive any more, they must provide the career center with feedback on the first three jobs. Those who obtain a job inform Dieguez, who takes the listing off the computer.
"That way we're not sending students out to jobs that are already filled," Dieguez said.
College of the Canyons and Cerritos College are the only two colleges in California using Jobmatch, said David Franey, vice president of Jobtrak Corp., the Los Angeles company that creates both Jobtrak and Jobmatch.
Pierce, Valley and Mission colleges are expected to consider Jobmatch for their career centers, he said.
More than 100 colleges use Jobtrak, which also is free. Employers pay the company to list their job ads, Franey said.