Networks to the Future: Summer Job Contacts and Job Quality for College Students

Mary J. Fischer, University of Connecticut

Students take on jobs or internships during the summer to get a glimpse at possible career choices and perhaps to pave the way toward obtaining a job in that organization following graduation. Because little is known about the types of summer jobs students hold while in college or how they obtained these jobs, this paper looks at job search methods, types of summer jobs, and earnings for a sample of nearly 4,000 black, white, Asian, and Hispanic students from 28 colleges and universities. Of particular interest is the use of school-based contacts to obtain employment, since it is these contacts that have the greatest potential to level the playing field for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Students who found their summer jobs through these institutional contacts had significantly higher earnings and held positions with higher occupational prestige than students using most other methods.

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Presented in Session 37: Racial Differentials in Schooling and Occupations