Trojan Works Program provides UA Little Rock students with jobs, experience
April 17-23, 2023
By Angelita Faller
The University of Arkansas at Little Rock has launched a new work-study program that is helping students get ahead by matching them with on-campus employment opportunities that help students afford college, focus on their education, and gain professional experience for their future careers.
“What makes Trojan Works different is that it goes beyond the Federal Work Study program, offering a broader range of students access to a work study program,” said Dr. Cody Decker, vice chancellor of student affairs and chief data officer. “The institutional work study program specific to UA Little Rock is intended to serve students that are ineligible for federal work study, ensuring that every student has the opportunity to succeed academically and professionally. I believe that our institutional work study program can be a powerful tool for promoting academic excellence and equity on campus.”
UA Little Rock started Trojan Works, a work-study program, in 2022. The institutional work-study program, which is funded by a grant from the George W. Donaghey Foundation, provides on-campus employment for 50 students in partnering units across campus.
“The institutional work study program is designed to fit the needs of students who don’t meet the requirements for federal work study but have a need for part-time jobs,” Trojan Works Coordinator Nancy Hyde said. “The goal is to keep students on campus, so they are more successful in their educational pursuits.”
Trojan Works provides year-round employment opportunities for students, real-world work experience, and builds leadership development for students. Additionally, students receive financial literacy training, attend professional development activities, and experience opportunities that foster their total growth, promoting development in and out of the classroom. Students who work on campus are also more engaged in campus life and have higher retention and graduation rates than students who don’t work on campus.
“Trojan Works program students can build their resumes while in college, which can result in greater confidence in moving from the university and into the workforce,” Hyde said.
Trojan Works is open to all students except international graduate students with graduate assistantships. Students who qualify for the Federal Work Study program must apply for that program before they can be considered for institutional work study. Students in the institutional program can work up to 640 hours at $11 per hour, earning up to $7,251.20 per year.
Charla Tozer, a sophomore graphic design major, is gaining invaluable experience as a graphic design assistant in the Office of Communications and Marketing.
“Trojan Works has impacted my time in a good way,” Tozer said. “I am learning different programs in the Creative Cloud and how to use Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator, which will really help me with my goal of becoming a graphic designer. Even though I am working, I have a lot of time to do homework, and my position has helped me with learning new things that go towards my major.”
Trojan Works students are not limited to working only while school is in session as they are with the Federal Work Study program, which means institutional work study students don’t have to leave campus to find additional jobs during school holidays, the winter break, and the summer. Hyde also works hard to match students with engaged supervisors who can give them meaningful job experience and professional development opportunities.
“I seek out engaged supervisors who have an interest in growing their students and working with them and mentoring them,” Hyde said. “I have some great managers who help with the holistic needs of the student, helping them improve their soft skills and communication skills, everything outside of the classroom that is involved in developing the students until they graduate.”
Peter Scheidt, assistant professor of 3D/woodworking, said Trojan Works is an excellent learning opportunity for student workers to get on-the-job experience, get paid, and take pride as an integral part of our department as an employee as well as a student.
“Student workers are learning preventative maintenance on our woodworking and metalworking equipment,” Scheidt said. “Our student worker, Kim Arcega, learned how to weld this summer on the job. She built tables, racks, and shelving for our metalworking studio. Kim is an incredible asset to the department. She has a great work ethic and is a fast learner. I’m glad we’ve been able to provide some permanency in terms of employment to help her out and allow her to focus on completing her degree.”
Students work in units and departments all across campus. Some of the offices that house Trojan Works students include the Ask Desk, Admissions, Campus Garden, Communications and Marketing, Conference Services, Dining Services, Fitness Center, Housing, Intramural Sports, Multicultural Center, Procurement, Student Experience Center, Student Affairs, and the Windgate Center for Art and Design Woodshop.
Taylor Arnold, a December 2022 graduate of UA Little Rock, worked in the Campus Garden as a horticulture and research assistant. During her varied duties, she has learned everything from how to take care of the Campus Garden, oversee a volunteer program, and create a website.
“Overall, Trojan Works has helped me learn more about myself and my passions,” Arnold said. “It has helped me grow and taught me more about responsibility. If any student is looking for ways to be involved and find something more meaningful to do on campus, this is the place for them - an organization where you can help others and learn more about your school’s community.”
Dr. Stephen Grace, associate professor of biology and director of the Campus Garden, said that Trojan Works presents a great opportunity for UA Little Rock to have a great program that offers a unique experience for students.
“Students learn many skills, including basic gardening knowledge, leading volunteer teams, and building support for an emerging program including service, teaching, and research,” Grace said. “The program builds relationships with faculty and staff members and enhances the development of valuable life skills.”
In the Trojan Transition and Assistance Center, university employees work closely with student workers that help run the office as they work at the ASK Desk and the main university phone line.
“Being able to participate in the Trojan Works program has enabled us to support students that can work, help with their financial need, and support their study-work-life balance,” Director Leah Ford said. “Trojan Works opens up so many more opportunities for students to work on campus. They are given the opportunity to network on campus with other faculty, staff, and make so many student connections. For example, we have had multiple students from our office eventually end up working for the university in a full-time position or attend graduate school and continue their employment in our office through graduate assistantship opportunities.”
1. Kim Arcega, a woodworking student, builds furniture pieces in the woodworking workshop
in the Windgate Center of Art and Design.
2. Taylor Arnold (bottom), a December 2022 graduate of UA Little Rock, worked in the Campus Garden
through the Trojan Works program.
3. UA Little Rock students Olivia Hicks and Charla Tozer (below) work in the Office of Communications
and Marketing through the Trojan Works program at UA Little Rock. Photos by Ben Krain