Frequently Asked Questions: 

  • What are the dates of employment?

    • Dates vary slightly each year, but typically span six weeks from June to July. Employers who will be paying their students directly have more oversight on the dates and hours worked.

  • What if I attended a Business Training in the past?

    • It’s best to attend the trainings each year. We are always making improvements and trying to broaden the scope of our work with the students, ensuring they are getting experiences that will prepare them for post-secondary education and career planning.

  • How much does it cost my company to be an employer?

    • If you participate only as an employer, the cost to you is nothing. The program will cover the payroll, FICA, and insurance costs for the students. If you choose to sponsor a student employee, the cost is roughly $1300 for the six-week period. This option involves making a contribution to the program that will cover the cost for that student’s participation. If you hire the student directly, the cost is variable to the hours and length of employment you choose to offer. This option involves your company hiring on the student and covering all payroll, FICA, and insurance costs.

  • Who covers insurance and liability for the students?

    • We do, unless your company hires the student directly.

  • Why do I need to attend the Career Fair?

    • This is the most critical point for our matching process. You will have the chance to meet the students who are participating in the program, and may conduct mini interviews with those interested in your career field. You will be asked to provide a list of your top prospects at the end of the night, as will the students. These lists provide the most solid basis for our matching process. Without these lists, the matching process can still work but it becomes more difficult to ensure the strongest placements.

  • Why do I need to attend the Kick-Off Celebration?

    • This is the first chance you’ll have to meet the student(s) placed with you in a fun, low-pressure environment. It can be a meaningful first step in building a mentoring relationship with your student(s).

  • What if a student employee is not a good match after being placed with me?

    • We always try to make the best placements possible, but sometimes things don’t work out as expected. If it’s an option, we want to facilitate a meeting between you and the student to see if changes can be made to improve the experience for both parties without moving the student. However, we will not force a placement if it’s clearly not benefitting both parties. When possible, we will try to place a new student in a position that becomes vacant due to a switch.

  • What does the matching process involve?

    • We coach the students through a Skills Assessment and personality assessment to see where their main interests, skills, and character traits are leading. We also take into account previous placements and their success/challenges. Finally, the Career Fair provides valuable insight into the matching process.

  • Who do I contact with questions or concerns?

    • You will be assigned a staff member for the duration of the summer. This person will be your main contact. You can always reach out to year-round Program Supervisor, Mindy Smith, with anything that may arise before, during, and/or after the summer.

  • What skills will the students learn before beginning their summer job?

    • We try to cover a variety of topics in our trainings. Specific areas of focus are: financial literacy, professionalism, communication, teamwork, accountability, and time management.

  • What are the benefits to being an employer?

    • On the surface, your business receives positive exposure by participating with the program. On a deeper level, employers have the opportunity to become mentors to the students they work with. This connection can positively impact the student’s education and career endeavors. You are also helping to strengthen the future workforce for the community by providing valuable training and educational opportunities. The mentor relationship is likely to have a positive impact on adults as well as youth, and many of employers feel changed by their experience.

  • What if I want to sponsor my student employee?

    • You can reach out to Mindy Smith to express an interest in covering the cost for your student. A check can be made out in the amount desired and will go directly to the payroll costs for your student. The total cost for one student was about $1300 last year.

  • What if I want to work with the same student I supervised last year?

    • We always want to keep meaningful matches in place when possible. If the student is participating again, and also expresses an interest in returning to their prior placement, we try to honor those requests. Employers can make a note at the Career Fair, or notify Mindy Smith in advance of this preference.

  • My student was not the best match last year. How do I ensure a better match this time?

    • The best way to ensure solid matches is to do the following: use as much specificity as possible in your job form, attend Business Trainings, and attend the Career Fair. We are hoping to arrange the time during the Career Fair to better facilitate mini-interviews so employers can get a better sense of the students they are considering.

  • What are the expectations of a worksite supervisor?

    • Above all, we expect our worksites to provide meaningful work experience for the students placed with them. The goal is to link our students to potential future career paths and help them begin building bridges to those futures. Students should have clearly communicated responsibilities and expectations. They should also have a supervisor who will be present and available to them on each shift, even if that person changes from time to time. Supervisors should also be prepared to adjust their communication as one approach doesn’t fit the learning abilities of every student.

  • What if my business requires additional paperwork, such as a background check, in advance?

    • We will be happy to help facilitate this if we know about it in advance. Please make sure to mention these needs as early as possible so we can plan ahead and ensure that things are completed well ahead of any deadlines.

  • What if I want to keep my student employee beyond the dates of the program?

    • The best result is when an employer chooses to hire a student after the program ends. After the six weeks, the student will need to be hired directly by your company. We are only able to cover the cost of the student for the duration of our program, but we are always thrilled to hear of students who are able to remain employed.

  • Who can I contact if my Worksite Coordinator isn’t a good match?

    • Please contact Mindy Smith if there is an issue with your coordinator. As with students, the first approach is to sit down with everyone involved and see if changes can be made to improve the situation. If this is not an option, we will immediately arrange for another coordinator to take over.

  • What if I have a student employee who has a lower English language proficiency?

    • The program works with students from very diverse backgrounds and experiences. We have an excellent ESL connection through Champaign Unit 4 Schools, and will try to provide translators in the early stages of the program. We do not send translators to students’ shifts, but they can work with supervisors in advance to prepare you with skills and tips for working with our ESL students.

  • What is the Tiered System and how does that affect me as an employer?

    • The Tiered System is based on a rubric that gauges each student’s skills, personality, age, previous experience, and general abilities. We will assign employers a tier category for the purposes of matching students with appropriate positions. One student will have only one tier level, but employers may span more than one depending on the position and responsibilities described in the job form.