Labor Program Office

Labor Program Office

Labor Program Office

To promote learning and serving in community through the student Labor Program, honoring the dignity and utility of all work, mental and manual, and taking pride in work well done.

Berea College, Fourth Great Commitment

Work to learn, learn to work

Every student works a minimum of 10 hours per week at a campus job in one of more than 130 departments. In working on campus, students support the operations and mission of the College and also gain important workplace experience even before graduation. Berea is one of only ten federally recognized Work Colleges in the United States and the only one that provides its students with a paycheck to help cover personal and educational expenses.

Hands-on Experience

Minimum number of hours each student works each week at a paid on-campus job.

Our students graduate with a labor transcript that will impress future employers.

percentage of students who credited skills they learned in their labor position as supporting academic development

Number of campus jobs available for students

Goals of the Program

  • Develop and apply the six soft skills (attendance, accountability, teamwork, initiative, respect, learning) directly related to the work-learning-service level, the description of duties and the learning opportunities sections of the job description
  • Develop and apply the hard skills articulated in the work-learning-service level, the description of duties and the learning opportunities sections of the job description
  • Develop and apply, whenever possible, the four core general education goals (Writer, Speaker, Researcher, Critical Thinker)
  • Work in labor positions that support the student’s academic goal and/or field of interest
  • Progress over time to more skilled and responsible levels of work, as defined by the seven Work-Learning-Service levels

Chart your own path

The lead repair technician performs maintenance on a bike for the Berea College Office of Sustainability bike share program.
Audio Visual student and staff member working in booth at a convocation
Student photographer taking pictures of a group in the studio

Just as you will do with academic courses, you will also start out in entry-level work assignments and move into positions requiring more responsibility, knowledge and skill. The program usually places first-year students in areas with the highest needs: facilities management and dining services. The philosophy here is the long-held Berea conviction that there is dignity in all work, mental as well as manual. After this first year, you are free to pursue other jobs on campus wherever you wish.

Supporting the whole student

The Work Program is a vital component of Berea’s educational experience. Our graduates enter the workforce or graduate/professional schools as well-rounded individuals ready to take on the world. You’ll graduate with four years of specific job-related experience and a valuable toolkit of soft skills employers eagerly look for in candidates. Additionally, each student is awarded a work transcript, in addition to an academic transcript, detailing their entire work experience upon graduation. This work transcript can effectively answer the question so many applicants face in an interview: “So what did you accomplish in college?” At Berea, you’ll be equipped and prepared to answer compellingly.

Develop skills and pursue your passions

The Work Program is a gateway to endless career possibilities. You will have a special opportunity, for example, to align your work position with your chosen academic major, another way that a Berea education makes you especially prepared over graduates from other institutions.

So take advantage of the endless opportunities to explore passions you might not typically pursue. From herding cattle on the Berea College Farm to performing research in state-of-the-art chemistry labs, there's meaningful work to be found for everyone.

Student ceramist Zoe ‘20 enjoys spinning pottery in the College’s Visitor Center and Shoppe.
The Value of Labor

“We strive to make every position meaningful and connected to the mission of the College.” – Rosanna Napoleón ’13, Assistant Director of Training and Development

Pictured: Student ceramist Zoe ‘20 spinning pottery in the College’s Visitor Center and Shoppe

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Cody Myers ’17 credits his role as a student programmer as fundamental in his college education, and as the reason he landed a job at Red Hat, an IBM subsidiary software company.

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