Employment app could change service industry

By Kaci Watt

SnapShyft, a service employment app created by Indiana native Thor Wood, has brought an innovative tool to the job market. 

Once users download the free app, they have the option to create a profile as a service professional or as a venue or business. After a profile is verified, workers are matched with venues in the area that need a shift filled.  Employers can post the type of employee needed, and workers accept or decline shift opportunities  within 30 seconds of notification. After completing the shift, both the worker and venue give each other a rating, similar to Uber.

The app could be helpful to students who may benefit from a flexible work schedule, according to freshman filmmaking major Chris Jones, who works at the Bookstore, 624 S. Michigan Ave.

“Millennials are known for having multiple jobs and sometimes [they] can’t commit to all of them,” Jones said. 

Junior cinema art and science major Avery Otten, who works at the front desk in Columbia’s Fitness Center, 731 S. Plymouth Court, said he finds working only 20 hours a week at his on-campus job unsustainable for a lifestyle in Chicago. 

“I have done the math several times, and working at my max capped hours would not be enough for rent in most areas of Chicago,” Otten said. “I had to choose which books I wanted to buy this semester, which ended up being two out of all of my classes’ books, because I couldn’t afford the rest of them.”

Students employed by Columbia can only work up to 20 hours per week. Capping work hours for students employed on campus is not a practice specific to Columbia but across the country, according to Assistant Director of Student Employment at Columbia Eric Wordlow.

“Student employment is intended to be an experimental, supplemental way for students to make part-time wages. It is not designed for students to engage in more than 20 hours a week,” Wordlow said. “Students are here … to obtain a degree in their selected industry, so the primary focus is always on the academic side of things.”

The difficulties that arise for college students when seeking outside work can be lessened by use of the SnapShyft app, according to Otten. 

“A lot of people don’t understand how difficult it is to keep up school and a job, sometimes multiple jobs,” Otten said.

It is good to remind students to be selective of the work they take, according to Wordlow.

“It’s important that students are intentional about the type of work they want to embark upon, on campus or even off campus,” Wordlow said. “If [service] is not your  primary industry, it may not necessarily be the best outlet for someone in the creative industry wanting to seek more opportunity.”