Red Deer College Student Association president Brittany Lausen says student use of the food bank is up, and so are applications for the bursary program. There are fewer summer job opportunities because of COVID-19, says Lausen. (Contributed photo).

With few summer jobs and stalled federal relief, more Red Deer College students are using food bank

STA president fears impact of fewer job prospects for students

With summer jobs in short supply and federal relief programs in limbo, more Red Deer College students are turning to food banks and applying for emergency bursaries.

This coronavirus-afflicted spring is proving difficult for many young people who have finished the school year and run out of student loan money, with no summer jobs to transition to, said Brittany Lausen, president of the college’s student association.

The group gave out five times the number of student food bank hampers last month (36, compared to seven in April 2019), and also handed out $1,715 in food vouchers.

Lausen said demand for RDC’s emergency student bursary program was so great this spring, that college officials had to put $50,000 more into it.

“Students have finished the term, the dust has settled, and they are all waiting to get summer employment,” she said.

But given the economic shutdown to help slow the spread of COVID-19, “there isn’t tons (of work) out there, with recreation centres and summer camps closed,” and fewer postings on the college’s job board, said Lausen.

While some students were hired for the summer before the business shutdowns, and are now getting called to work at essential services, such as big-box stores, many others are not as lucky.

Lausen believes students who didn’t manage to line up summer jobs before the shutdowns, or who had lost the part-time jobs they had during the school year due to COVID-19 reduction measures, are in a tough economic spot.

Some hadn’t worked enough hours to qualify for unemployment insurance benefits, and are waiting for more information about the federal student relief programs recently announced.

No one yet knows when they will start accepting applications, or who qualifies.

“We haven’t heard anything new since April 22,” said Lausen.

One program is supposed to pay students for volunteering at non-profit agencies, and another is to provide an “emergency benefit” for students who can’t find work.

She knows many young people are eagerly waiting for the economy to reopen so they can apply for employment. Golf courses are now operating, so that should provide some prospects, she added.

But Lausen fears there won’t be the same variety, or number, of jobs that are usually available — or ones that provide full-time hours, rather than part-time or casual.

She noted many students depend on steady work for the entire summer to pay for their education and other expenses during the school year.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


RDC Student Association president Brittany Lausen. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).

Brittany Lausen, RDC Student Association president. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).

Just Posted

$2 raise for some health care workers in Alberta over a month late

Delay isn’t from Alberta Health, spokesperson confirms

Central Alberta drowning and Ontario homicide connected: police

Police say there is a connection between two recent deaths – a… Continue reading

Wind warning issued for central Alberta

City of Red Deer and Lacombe under wind warning

QUIZ: Test your knowledge of the world of summer sports

In a typical year, there are plenty of summer sporting events and tournaments held across Canada

SpaceX’s historic encore: Astronauts arrive at space station

SpaceX Dragon capsule pulled up to the station and docked automatically

Ottawa pledges millions to promote holiday travel in Canada during pandemic

Funding announced include $30 million originally earmarked for attracting foreign visitors

Sweats are in, slacks are out: Could ‘work-leisure’ become business as usual?

Many desk-dwellers are opting for sweatpants as work-from-home era has loosened up dress codes

Minimum wage goes up June 1 in B.C. as businesses face COVID-19 challenges

Increase is part of the government’s pledge to implement a $15 per hour minimum wage

In hard-hit Quebec, families struggle to mourn those lost to COVID-19

The province recorded more than 50,000 confirmed cases and over 4,300 deaths as of Friday

Most Read