KuyperWorks Students, Staff Journey to National Student Employment Conference

A recent trip to the National Student Employment Conference in Savannah, Georgia,
helpeda group of Kuyper students and staff strengthen both the
KuyperWorks program and their connections with each other.

The event, which took place in early November, saw higher education institutions from across the country – including all of Kuyper’s fellow Work Colleges – gather to discuss many different aspects of student employment and to collaborate on best practices and emerging trends within the industry.

Dean of Students and Work Curt Essenburg and Director of Student Success Emily Perton teamed up to lead the trip and said that because Kuyper is the only Work College in Michigan, attending the conference came with big benefits.

“It was wonderful because there was session time dedicated to Work Colleges,” noted Perton. “We were really able to learn from them, see how they run things and find out different job opportunities for students.”

Essenburg sounded similar notes.

“It was a great opportunity for our students and students from other colleges to get together and share ideas. They (Kuyper students) get to see what others are doing in their work and be encouraged by the amount of responsibility that they are being entrusted with at Kuyper,” he said.

The conference began with a few days of training for student employment administrators, Perton added.

“We learned about the legal aspects of conducting work study programs, and it also allowed Curt and I plenty of time to talk about how to make KuyperWorks the best it can be. We don’t often get that kind of dedicated time together,” she said.

Later in the week, a group of four students – Thiara Herrera-Leiva, Addison Eckelbarger, Bradley Eldridge, and Emily Karsten – joined Perton and Essenburg and were able to attend sessions on topics such as financial literacy and more. 

Meanwhile, there was plenty of time to get out and explore Savannah when the group was not actively in session.

“We really connected with Bethany Global, another Christian Work College. We all went out to dinner one night and then, another night, we got to go to Paula Deen’s restaurant in Savannah. It was just a lot of fun,” Perton said.

Essenburg said that the Kuyper contingent also had the opportunity to do a service project with representatives from other Work Colleges, partnering with an organization called Keep Savannah Beautiful to clean up an area of the city.

Both Perton and Essenburg said they left the conference with fresh ideas, feeling encouraged for the future of KuyperWorks.

“We’re thinking about things like different ways to train our students and scheduling options, as well as expanding job responsibilities and promotions,” Perton said.

She added that the students felt similarly.

“It was so great for our students to talk to students from other Work Colleges; they really enjoyed it. Since we’re the only Work College in Michigan, they don’t run across other people who understand that often. The whole thing was such a great experience,” she said.

Majors & Programs

You will graduate with professional and biblical skills to think critically, communicate effectively as a Christ-centered leader.


You will graduate with both an academic and a work transcript detailing your work experience for future employers.


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