Director of student employment addresses wages on campus

Kate Marlett 

kmarlett@uccs.edu 

     With the rising costs of living across the nation, students often seek on-campus or off-campus employment. Differences in pay, working hours and convenience of getting to and from work are some factors that may influence a student’s decision on where to work. 

     Another influencing factor is pay. The on-campus starting pay rate for entry level jobs is $12.32 an hour. However, some jobs on campus fall along a spectrum of low to high pay with the highest paid student employees receiving $25 an hour. 

     CU Boulder and CU Denver offer their student employees a starting pay rate of $15 an hour. This is due in part to local wages; Boulder’s and Denver’s minimum wages are above that of Colorado Springs. 

     Local off-campus employers like Starbucks also offer pay starting at $15 and pay as high as $23, according to an article by 9News Denver. 

     Shannon Cable, director of student employment at UCCS, spoke about the state of student wages on campus and what the university administration is working toward for employment on campus.  

     “The campus does intend to make a choice similar to CU Boulder and is looking to increase our lowest pay rate at UCCS institutionally to $12.95 an hour effective January 1, 2022,” she said.  

     Every fall, legislation is passed for the state of Colorado in order to raise statewide minimum wage. This process also occurs at UCCS and is the reason for on-campus starting pay rising 63 cents in spring.  

     Cable also shared that student employees are valued for what they do on campus. She acknowledged difficult work environment that some students may find on campus and discussed what UCCS administration has done in order to ensure that its student employees are cared for and valued.  

     “We’re listening and hearing all of those things that are kind of going on externally and internally to the campus,” she said. “We have always relied on our student employees at UCCS to fill really vital roles where they are engaging with and interacting with other students on our campus.” 

     According to Cable, student employee positions have not been as negatively affected by the pandemic. “I haven’t seen anywhere have a problem hiring students, finding interested students,” she said.  

     “In Dining and Hospitality services, we weren’t offering food service or we were offering lower levels of food service throughout the pandemic. Now we’re trying to ramp back up to what we could consider a more traditional level of food service,” Cable said. “That takes a lot of people and a lot of effort.” 

     There is an active campaign coordinated by the national labor union, United Campus Workers, to raise the minimum wage at UCCS to $15. They have employed the use of a petition and will present the petition to Chancellor Venkat Reddy once the petition reaches a certain number of signatures 

     UCCS Student Employment remains committed to ensuring that student employees are valued and paid in order to grant them financial assistance, according to Cable. A main goal is to keep a level of quality in services for students as they engage with the university’s programs. 

     “We’re working hard to get that back to a level that we feel like would provide the service that our students are used to,” she said. 

Stock photo courtesy of Unsplash.com