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Academic institutions are viable source to recruit employees: Student Educational Employment Program pay$--off for SDDC.

They're young, they're excited about working and they're making a positive difference as students employed by the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command through the Student Educational Employment Program.

Temporary and part-time student employees with SDDC offer additional skills and talents to the many missions the command performs with the possibility of being converted to a full-time Federal employee after graduation.

The program has two components. One component is the Student Temporary Employment allowing a Federal agency to hire students temporarily. One example is a high school student performing office administrative duty during summer.

The other component is the Student Career Experience offering part-time positions throughout the year to students having a direct relationship between their field of study and their position with SDDC. An example is a college student majoring in law and working part time in the Staff Judge Advocate office.

Cathy Cherney, lead human resource specialist with SDDC, started her Federal career under the Student Programs about 30 years ago. She also manages the Student Educational Employment Program for the command.

"The Student Career Experience component is a great start for a college student who is also ready to enter the workforce," said Cherney.

She said there is also an appointing authority to convert part-time students in this component to full-time employees into an authorized position without competition when they graduate.

"As one example, we had a student pursuing an undergraduate degree in business working in our acquisition office," said Cherney. "When she graduated she became a full-time Federal employee with us."

The student Cherney cites is Deonna Murrell now a contract specialist for the Transportation Information Management and Terminal Services Division in the SDDC Contracting Center.

Murrell started as a temporary employee with SDDC while in high school about five years ago. When she attended college her employment status converted to part time under the Student Career Experience component until she graduated. She started her full-time Federal career in June after receiving her bachelor of business administration degree.

"Now, I'm literally working on million dollar contracts on behalf of SDDC," said Murrell. "I feel good because I have more responsibility now than before as a temporary or part-time employee."

"I consider Deonna an asset," said Jackie Woodson, chief of Transportation Information Management and Terminal Services Division in the SDDC Contracting Center. "As a student, she started out doing simple things in the office. If we had any special projects, we could give them to her and she would get them done when we needed them."

Murrell's current goals are to complete all three levels of certification required by her job series, work to acquire a master's degree in contract management and advance as a Federal employee in her field.

Cherney cites several advantages associated with this program.

"When you come out of school you go through that whole process of trying to find a job," said Cherney. "Under the Student Career Experience Program, a job is already lined up. You have all the benefits of being a Federal employee. We have comparable pay, excellent benefits and a good retirement."

Cherney recommends if a student is interested in working as a Federal employee for SDDC, or any other Federal agency, to first touch base with their school's guidance counselor. Federal agencies work with both the counselor and students to see if the program is right for the student and the organization

She also advises current students in the program to find someone in or near their office who they and others think are successful and benchmark from this person. Take time to have a professional appearance, act professionally and just as importantly be committed to the program.

Mitch Chandran, Public Affairs Specialist

SDDC Headquarters
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Author:Chandran, Mitch
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2005
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