Student Spotlight: The American Dream Fueled by Education at Work

I keep hearing that inequality and flawed systems have killed the American Dream.

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I was born in Bogota, Colombia, a city seemingly identical in size and diversity as New York City or Chicago, but in reality plagued by classism and tainted with a dark reputation. Colombia is by no means impoverished or underdeveloped, but job security and opportunity are fleeting luxuries shared between 48 million people. In 2000 when my parents decided to move to the United States, my father was a well-educated civil engineer whose only fault was being an ambitious man in a country with little opportunity for growth. He found himself unemployed after yet another year of working odd jobs, as life had pushed him, his wife, and his two young children to a region outside of the city that promised only an unstable future. They were not the only family in these circumstances, but it was my parents’ bold decision to move to the United States and risk everything for a better future that made them different. In this was and still is the American Dream.

During the past 17 years, my family has endured racism and prejudice not unlike many other immigrants. However, the American Dream is not for the easily offended or the unambitious. This ideology is about opportunity; opportunity that is obtained through hard work and fierce ambition. Some may say opportunity is scarce, but I believe opportunity is everywhere; you just have to have the right mindset to appreciate it. In this spirit I found Education at Work, the organization that changed my life.

I knew from a very young age that if I were to pursue higher education, it would come out of my pocket. Because of this, my focus has always been academically oriented because I knew that scholarships were my only avenue to affordable higher education. Despite my efforts, I started college in August of 2013 facing about $9,000 of out-of-pocket tuition per year.

After two years of living with my parents and saving every dollar I earned from babysitting to pay for tuition, I began to consider transferring or taking a year off to catch up financially. However, God had a different plan for me in mind because that is when I found Education at Work.

The same resilient spirit that fueled my parents and now fuels me, I have seen manifested in every student that I’ve had the pleasure of working with at Education at Work. Education at Work is an organization that is fueled by ambitious students who recognize the value of having a college degree and refuse to let the weight of high tuition costs inhibit their futures. Each of their stories are as colorful as mine and filled with hope for this American Dream. I will graduate in May of 2017 having earned $12,000 in tuition assistance and prepared to excel in any career I choose thanks to the experiences I have gained while working in this inspiring organization.

So for those of you who have given up on the American Dream, I beg that you reconsider. I will introduce you to 500 Education at Work student-employees across the nation who have looked beyond the voices telling them they will fail in pursuing a stronger and brighter future. That, to me, looks an awful lot like living the Dream.

About Laura Forero

Xavier University Student

Laura Forero has been the Marketing Intern for Education at Work since August of 2015. She is currently a senior at Xavier University studying Public Relations and Advertising with a minor in Digital Media. She enjoys reading, writing, and following a good PR crisis unfold in modern day media. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

8 Reasons to Hire College Students for Outsourcing Jobs

You need great employees, and college students want great employers.

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You need great employees, and college students want great employers. Consider us career matchmakers.

1. College students are digital natives.


The millennial generation has grown up in the age of the internet – and that’s not even considering Generation Z. Chances are, they got their first smart phones when they were in high school or even middle school, and that means they’re good multitaskers and can navigate between screens and activities with ease. That call that requires switching between seven different systems? They got it. The data analysis that requires two screens and running three programs? No problem.

2. They're smart.


In addition to already being accepted into an institution of higher learning, college students are actively working toward their degrees and have to put their thinking caps on every day. Employing them while they’re already in learning mode means they’re engaged, quick on their feet, and thinking creatively before they clock in. They’re basically sponges!

At Arizona State University, an Education at Work student employee figured out a keyboard shortcut that cut the average session for a common contact type by nearly 25%. The client adopted it across its entire enterprise. ???

3. There's a lot of them.


In the fall of 2016, 20.5 million students enrolled in American institutions of higher education – talk about a massive candidate pool. With that many individuals, you’re able to locate and hire the all-star candidates who are interested in your work and available during the hours you need.

And there’s not just a lot of students to pick from across the country; there’s a lot at each university. Within three weeks of announcing 40 positions at Education at Work’s Arizona State University contact center over 700 Sun Devils applied.

4. They want to (do good) work.


Believe it or not, students want to work and do well on the job. Based on a study completed by Georgetown University, more than 70% of college students over the past 25 years have worked while in college, with 14 million students working today.

And once they’re at work, students want to hit metrics and be considered great employees to keep their jobs, whether it’s for their resumes, skill development, professional references, or cash flow. (Check out #6 to see how long the average Education at Work student-employee actually works at an on-campus center.)

5. They live in large, centralized areas.


Lots of full-time students attending public and private universities live on campus – 40% at public and 64% at private. If a contact center is located on or near campus, then students who are hired and live on campus can schedule work conveniently around classes (potentially even working more hours than they could at an off-campus job), reduce their travel time, and cut their transportation costs. ??

Having a contact center on campus also opens up the talent pool to those without cars and students with challenging course loads looking for 16-20 hour weekly schedules.

6. They want need a steady job.


Besides not wanting to go through the headache of reapplying for a summer job year after year, college students need a consistent cash source so they can pay for their living expenses plus their college expenses. (In 2014, the average annual price for tuition, food, room, and board for a public university was over $16,000. Wow!) Maybe that’s why the average tenure for an Education at Work employee working at a campus contact center is 1.5 years, more than double that of a traditional US-based contact center employee.

7. They need BPO skills.


We probably don’t need to tell you this, but teamwork, decision making, problem solving, and verbal communication are the skills which employers say that recent graduates lack the most. And coincidentally, the BPO industry provides not one, not two, but all four of those skills, plus others like written communication, conflict management, critical thinking, and working in a fast-paced environment.

8. Their positions can lead to full-time jobs with your company.


When you hire someone for a campus center position, you have the opportunity build some serious loyalty with them. They get to learn your business, and you get to learn about their skills and personality. And if you hire that person before they’ve ever applied for a full-time gig, you basically get first dibs on them after they graduate.

Furthermore, a recent study showed that 80% of 13-25 year olds want to work somewhere that cares about its impact on the world, and Education at Work’s clients get to show their student-employees they do care because our clients help fund our students’ educations. We bet that’s why one of Education at Work’s clients has already hired 76% of its graduating student-employees into full-time positions, keeping 94% of them after a year of corporate employment.

We want to see you benefit from this workforce’s skills while you build your full-time talent pipeline. Drop us a line today.



The College Board







Student Spotlight: How my EAW Mentor Changed my Career

Ever since I started working at Education at Work (EAW), I have been eager to grow.

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Ever since I started working at Education at Work (EAW), I have been eager to grow. I always try to put my best foot forward and make a lasting impression at my workplace, and when I was hired at EAW in May of 2016, they had first opened up the Arizona State University (ASU) contact center. I knew that being among the first in the door was going to be critical for me to make an impression and develop my skills, and I am glad to say that I have already been able to accomplish both goals. During my time at EAW, I have not only been been trained in multiple departments, but over two semesters I’ve earned $3,000 in tuition assistance. In addition, I’ve developed professional email skills, become a certified email agent mentor, and mentored two classes of new contact center hires. Still, I am looking forward to continuing to expand my horizons within EAW.

Today, I can still remember the first time I met Amanda Nash, the Associate Director of Educational Outreach at EAW. Amanda often organizes tuition assistance celebrations and other events at the ASU site, and it was at the first tuition assistance celebration that I instantly connected with her. I continued seeing her at events, and every time we spoke was a laugh fest. At some point amidst those interactions, I stopped looking at Amanda as simply a supervisor, and began seeing her as my mentor. In fact, it was her involvement in student engagement that sparked my interest in a potential internship opportunity.

I spoke with Amanda about how I needed an internship to graduate and was stressed about obtaining one while knowing I needed to continue working to support myself financially. After some discussion, Amanda presented me with the opportunity of a lifetime - working with EAW as a social media intern. This was especially exciting because as a journalism major, I focus not only on print but multimedia and have always been interested in expanding my social and digital media expertise. Furthermore, the position Amanda offered me was not just the one i needed, but the one I wanted. The hours would be flexible, and I would expand my skills and experiences in the ways I had hoped. I was especially confident I could manage EAW’s ASU Twitter page and write testimonial stories about ASU students, and knew those projects and the opportunity as a whole would help me strengthen my resume.

As someone who is very active on social media and the digital world, I have always wanted to experience the professional side of things and I’m excited to be working for a company that I have already been familiar with for several months. I am active on multiple platforms: Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, YouTube, and Pinterest, and have kept up with them almost daily ever since I had access to a computer when I was 14. I love social media because I can always keep up with my friends and family outside of my busy life, and while it is not face-to-face, you still get that personal touch of how their lives are going through what they post and share. Social media is such a powerful tool today, especially in the journalism world, and it helps get stories exposed to a public audience. As a journalism major I knew I needed to learn to thrive on social media.

When it came down to it, Amanda was able to help connect me with this internship, and move from my student teammate role in the contact center to my current social media intern role. I am so glad she saw the opportunity as something I could strive in. Having Amanda as my mentor in the workforce was great before, but now that I have her as a supervisor and mentor for this internship, it’s a blessing. Even in the first short month of me working at this internship I have already learned so much that I can apply to my future, which will benefit me as I continue to work hard and make sure all I produce is the best it can possibly can be.

About the Author

Emily Kingsley, Arizona State University student

Hey y’all! My name is Emily Kingsley and I’m currently a junior attending Arizona State University and studying Journalism and Mass Communications. I have two amazing cats, Juno and Artemis, and I love to draw and paint in my free time when I am not working or at school continuing to work towards my career goals. After college I hope to have my own media organization and be the editor-in-chief of said organization. I have been working at EAW since May of 2016 and was among the first wave of EAW ASU student-employees. I have been cross trained in two departments, mentor certified to help in the incoming classes, and I am currently also a Social Media Intern for EAW.


Fidelity Expands Partnership with Education at Work to Expand Talent Pipeline at NKU

Fidelity Investments has created 40 part-time student jobs on Northern Kentucky University’s (NKU) campus.

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Partnership celebration VIPs – Larry Lutz, Education at Work President; Mark Scheid, SVP & Fidelity Investments Workplace Investing Covington, KY Site General Manager; Geoffrey Mearns, Northern Kentucky University President; Kim Scranage, Northern Kentucky University Vice President of Enrollment Management; Nicole Hannon, EAW/NKU Alumna & Fidelity Financial Associate; Dave Dougherty, Education at Work Chairman and Founder

CINCINNATI, OH – Fidelity Investments has created 40 part-time student jobs on Northern Kentucky University’s (NKU) campus as an expansion to its four-year partnership with Education at Work (EAW). The global financial services company partnered with Education at Work in 2013 to bring a collegiate workforce onto its Covington, KY location through EAW’s on-site staffing model. Since the partnership’s inception, it has seen a 74% post-graduation full-time job placement rate of Education at Work student-employees.

“Our partnership with EAW has provided Fidelity with a unique opportunity to extend our talent pipeline directly to students at colleges and universities across the Tri-state,” said Mark Scheid, senior vice president, Fidelity Workplace Investing. “Collaborating with EAW and NKU to build out the on-campus contact center takes it to the next level, creating more flexibility for students to transition between classes and work. Ultimately, we are excited to prepare more students for post-grad careers and potentially recruit these same students for full-time roles at Fidelity.”

Students at the NKU contact center will support Fidelity’s goal in making financial expertise broadly accessible and effective in helping people live the lives they want. Student-employees will learn professional communication skills including business writing, problem solving and how to multi-task while managing inbound customer inquiries.

Each EAW student-employee at the (NKU) on-campus contact center earns an hourly wage and has the opportunity to earn up to an additional $5,250 in tuition assistance per year through EAW’s tuition assistance program. To date, EAW student-employees working on-site for Fidelity have earned $550,000 in tuition assistance and $1,020,000 in wages.

Fidelity is EAW’s second on-campus partner at NKU since the grand opening of the campus center in October 2016. The University prepares its more than 14,000 students for success after graduation through innovative partnerships like the one with EAW.

“NKU is pleased to partner with Education at Work and Fidelity in offering additional real-life experiences for our students,” said Kimberly Scranage, NKU vice president for enrollment and degree management. “We know that one obstacle to a student’s success is often financial. This is yet another example of how NKU works daily to put our students first and help them to succeed.”

EAW is an affiliate of USA Funds, an Indianapolis-based nonprofit organization that supports Completion With a Purpose, enhancing student success in college and careers. EAW is the first non-profit in the business process outsourcing industry, and is committed to helping college students graduate with less debt and more professional skills through innovative partnerships with clients and universities like Fidelity and NKU.

Since Education at Work’s inception in 2012, EAW student-employees across the country have earned at total of over $3.2 million in tuition assistance and $13.1 million in wages.

“With the support of Fidelity Investments, we have an opportunity to expand our partnership at Northern Kentucky University and continue to produce career-ready students,” said Dave Dougherty, chairman and founder of EAW. “Not only are these students filling Fidelity’s talent pipeline post-graduation, they are graduating with significantly less student loan debt.”

For more information about the Fidelity expansion or Education at Work, please contact Tanya Gantzer by phone at 513-351-1555 or email at [email protected]

About Education at Work

Education at Work logo

Education at Work is a nonprofit contact center provider helping college students graduate with less debt by partnering with clients to address customer service needs through a high-achieving, millennial workforce. To learn more about Education at Work, visit its website.

About Northern Kentucky University

Northern Kentucky University is a major metropolitan university enrolling more than 14,000 associate, undergraduate, graduate, professional, and doctoral students in six colleges - the College of Arts and Sciences, the Haile/US Bank College of Business, the College of Education and Human Services, the College of Health Professions, the College of Informatics, and the Chase College of Law. Located just 7 minutes south of downtown Cincinnati, NKU's innovative academic programs and strong commitment to student success both in the classroom and beyond have helped the university earn the designation of one of America's Best Colleges by Forbes magazine for eight consecutive years. To learn more visit its website.

About Fidelity Investments

Fidelity Investments

Fidelity’s goal is to make financial expertise broadly accessible and effective in helping people live the lives they want. With assets under administration of $5.6 trillion, including managed assets of $2.1 trillion as of July 31, 2016, we focus on meeting the unique needs of a diverse set of customers: helping more than 25 million people invest their own life savings, nearly 20,000 businesses manage employee benefit programs, as well as providing nearly 10,000 advisory firms with investment and technology solutions to invest their own clients’ money. Privately held for nearly 70 years, Fidelity employs 45,000 associates who are focused on the long-term success of our customers. For more information about Fidelity Investments, visit https://www.fidelity.com/about.

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