Position Assignments

All students hold a primary labor position through which they fulfill their labor obligation. Primary positions, during academic terms (fall, spring, or summer) are assigned in increments of ten (10), twelve (12), fifteen (15) hours per week and (20) hours per week according to student interest, classification, and department allocation. Positions paid at WLS level 5 and 6 require a 15-hour commitment as well as some WLS level 4 positions. Students working a summer practicum position during the summer period can work up to 40 hours a week.

Upper Division Students

At the conclusion of the first year of placement, all upper division students are responsible for securing their own labor assignment for each remaining academic year. Once a position has been entered into the Banner system, the position remains in effect through the end of the following spring term unless special circumstances apply (e.g. mutual release before the Last Day to Change a Labor Position within a term, release for non-performance). While the majority of position placements occur between supervisors and students, the Labor Program Office facilitates this process by sharing departmental descriptions, contact persons, posting vacancies, and connecting students with supervisors according to interest and qualification. If students are unable to locate suitable positions on their own, the Labor Program Office will ensure placement for them. A contracted position assignment is linked directly to registration. Students who have not secured a labor position will be unable to schedule their courses until a Labor Status Form has been submitted to the Labor Program and Student Payments Office.

Securing a New Position

All labor departments are required to have position descriptions which includes specifics of the work performed, the learning opportunities, and the desired qualifications.

Position descriptions are available to each department in a shared online location. Students interested in specific positions may contact individual departments and request a copy of the job description. Students may explore position opportunities in consultation with their academic adviser, current labor supervisor, the Labor Program Office or the Office of Career Development. Once the desired position is identified, the student should contact the individual labor department to determine the appropriate application process. Some departments have position applications, while others prefer to review a resume. From there, the hiring process should closely resemble that of an off-campus job review of resumes, selection of candidates, interviews, reference checks, job offer, and commitment. Supervisors and students should approach the hiring process as they would in an off-campus setting. This helps supervisors identify the right person for the position and familiarizes students with an important process they will encounter after graduation.

While each department should have questions tailored to the needs of their workplace and to the requirements of the position, they may choose to draw from the following general questions when conducting an interview:

  • Why are you applying for this position?
  • What is your knowledge of this position?
  • What motivates you to do great work?
  • Describe a situation where you had to inspire others to perform better and to achieve greater goals.
  • What will your references tell me about your work ethic and performance?
  • Describe how you gain respect from your fellow workers.
  • What skills/abilities would you bring to this position?
  • What are your expectations for this position and from me as a supervisor?
  • What are you hoping to learn/achieve from this labor position?
  • How would you describe your personal style in the workplace?
  • What kind of workplace is most conducive to personal effectiveness for you?
  • At the end of the year, what would complete success in this labor position look like?
  • How does this position connect with your career/vocational aspirations?

For further guidance on conducting and participating in the interview process, supervisors and students may consult the Office of Career Development or the Labor Program Office Training and Assessment Specialist.

Retaining an Existing Position

It is not uncommon for supervisors to encourage their students to remain in a labor assignment from year to year, taking on additional responsibility or even a leadership role. In this case, it is still important to establish clear expectations and goals for the coming year for the new role.   Students should not feel obliged to remain in a position if they prefer to pursue other opportunities once the position ends (as defined by the status form).  Regardless, all essential documentation/forms must be completed in the appropriate time based on the academic calendar. 

Labor Enrollment Agreement

Signed by each student upon entering Berea College, the Labor Enrollment Agreement outlines the expectations of the student and the College with regard to the Labor Program and serves as the student’s acknowledgement of work as a core requirement of enrollment and an integral/required part of their educational program. Below is the present version of the agreement:Labor Enrollment Agreement

Hour Contracts

During each academic term, students have the following hour expectation based on their contractual hours:

 Contract Total Hour Expectation 
 10 hour contract 160 total term hours
 12 hour contract 180 total term hours 
 15 hour contract 225 total term hours 

Labor Overloads

A labor overload is defined as more than 15 hours of labor per week during the regular academic year. Overloads may not be approved retroactively and are subject to periodic review. Approval may be revoked if primary labor hours, labor performance, or academic performance become less than satisfactory. Forms may be secured in the Student Service Center, or Labor Program Office, and should be submitted to Financial Aid for preliminary review. Labor overloads may be continued from term to term within an academic year, provided that the approval guidelines can still be met. The form will specify approval for the Academic Year, Fall or Spring Term.   Student records will be reviewed mid-year and students will be notified if the overload is discontinued. Students may work up to 20 hours during January’s short term without special approval.

Guidelines for Approval:

  • Sophomore, junior, or senior classification
  • Meeting Labor Program requirements in the primary position
  • Not on any form of probation
  • Enrolled in less than 5 course credits with less than 8 preparations (fall and spring terms only)
  • Have a 2.50 GPA, both cumulative and for the previous full term; the required 2.50 cumulative GPA may be waived if a 3.00 GPA is earned during the previous full term.

Requests for over 20 hours are subject to the following additional guidelines:

  • Junior or senior classification
  • 3.00 GPA in the major, overall, and for the previous term
  • Submission of a letter outlining the reason for requesting more than 20 hours
  • Approval of the Dean of Labor and the Student Admissions and Academic Standing Committee.

These approval guidelines may be waived in cases where student parents must work 20 hours per week in order to receive state childcare benefits (e.g., KTAP), but the application must still be submitted and reviewed.

During periods of non-enrollment (vacation periods, summer practicum), hours must not exceed 40 per week.

First-Year Labor Assignments

First year students are defined as freshmen, International, Exchange, and transfer students.  In other words, any student who is attending Berea College for the first time.  

All first-year students are assigned WLS level 1, ten-hour positions, which they will hold until the end of the first academic year. At the conclusion of the first year, and each year thereafter, students are charged with securing their own position placements. Academic studies and work through the Labor Program are the primary concern of students attending Berea College and constitute a full-time load. Accordingly, work outside the Labor Program on a regular basis while enrolled as a student is not permitted without the approval of Dean of Labor or his designate in consultation with appropriate academic and financial-aid officials.

Exchange, Part-Time, and Non-Degree Students

Exchange students are required to participate fully in the Labor Program. Part-time students are required to participate, but a reduction in hours may be approved by the Dean of Labor depending on the circumstances. Non-degree students are permitted to participate in the College’s Labor Program provided funding is available and all degree-seeking students have been assigned.

Last Day to Release from a Labor Position

Signing a primary position status form obligates a student to remain in a labor position for the entire academic year, for the summer term, or, in the case of a December graduate, for the fall term. Should a student holding a Sophomore- Senior classification petition for an early release due to special circumstances, the labor supervisor of the primary position may consider and approve the request for a release on or before the last day to drop a class without a “W” appearing on the transcript. (This dates occurs one week after the first day of class in Fall and Spring terms and earlier in Summer One and Summer Two terms. Please refer to the academic calendar for the official dates.)

Primary supervisors are not obligated to approve a student’s request for release. Rare exceptions may be considered after this deadline and will require approval from the Labor Program Office. The current primary supervisor must complete a “Change of Labor Position Request Form” and submit it to the Labor Program Office, Hafer-Gibson, for review. Note: First Year Students are assigned to a labor position for an entire academic year and may not be released from any position without approval from the Labor Program Office.

Readmitted Students and Students Returning from Leave of Absence

Students returning to Berea College following a Leave of Absence usually secure their own assignment for the upcoming term.  As well, readmit students are responsible for locating their own assignment unless notified otherwise prior to the student's arrival. 

Resume Design and Usage

Students are encouraged to draft a resume before they arrive on campus. This task provides a framework to build upon in the future, familiarizes students with content and language, and identifies areas that will need development over the next few years. The Office of Career Development provides resume and cover letter-writing tips, samples and formats, and activities designed to identify content (e.g., skills and experience). Resume counseling sessions will provide students with what should and should not be included in a resume, and demonstrates the best ways to highlight a student’s talents. A well-designed resume, while enrolled at Berea College, can be beneficial in securing an on-campus position, off-campus internship, or an off-campus summer job.

Individual and group consultations are available on this important topic. Faculty and staff are also encouraged to seek information so that they can better assist students in articulating what they’ve learned through their classes, work, and co-curricular activities.

Secondary Positions

All students are required to fulfill their labor obligations through a primary labor assignment. Those who wish to pursue additional opportunities- out of interest or financial need- may seek a secondary position. Secondary positions are generally reserved for intermittent work and range from 0-5 hours per week, with some extending to 10 hours. Opportunities depend upon department allocations, and students must seek overload approval if they desire more than 15 hours per week.

Secondary labor positions require the approval of the primary labor supervisor, who may decline if there is a concern about the student’s position performance or about potential scheduling conflicts (approval may later be revoked if such issues arise). Secondary positions must not take priority over the primary labor assignment. As well, secondary hours are not factored into the basic labor hours requirement.

First year students are not permitted to hold secondary positions during their first term to ensure focus on academic and primary labor requirements during this time of transition. 

If a student fails to go through appropriate administrative channels to seek an approval for labor overload, the Labor Program and Student Payments Office may terminate the secondary position if the student continually works over the appropriate number of hours per week and fails to heed administrative requests.

Off-Campus Agreements (Community Partnerships)

In the past, some local agencies have had long-standing relationships with the Labor Program and Student Payroll Office to provide primary work assignments during the academic year (e.g., Save the Children, MACED). These agencies are treated like any other department in the way that they secure allocations, fill positions, compensate and evaluate students. Students are paid through the Labor Program and Student Payment Office, but agencies must reimburse the College for the scholarship payments unless a prior arrangement has been made.

In very special cases, students may approach the Labor Program and Student Payments Office to develop a one-time agreement with an off-campus agency. These agreements are made very sparingly and are typically with non-profit agencies directly associated with the student’s intended major.