PIQUA — The City of Piqua takes great pride in keeping our town a beautiful place to call home.
Spearheading the effort every summer is a group of young adults — high school and college students — who spend their summer earning money while building job experience and their resume’.
This summer, 45 students, mostly from Piqua but also from other county school districts, are being employed as “part-time seasonal” help by the city. The workers can be found doing everything from mowing and weeding to life guarding and working at the concession stand at the Piqua pool.
Student employees are hired to be responsible young adults who not only work along side full-time employees but also independently.
City of Piqua Human Resources Director Catherine Bogan said that part-time seasonal staff workers learn much more than how to do a variety of jobs. “The have to show up for a schedule.The have to work weekends. They have to show up for a shift at 6 a.m. so it builds a lot of good core characteristics for an employee that HR people like to see, that you have that ‘good work ethic’. When you are young and are committed to working every summer with the same employer, I would definitely see that as ‘oh wow!’
Ages for part-time summer employment range from 15-16 for concession workers and lifeguards to college students who typically work for the parks or water department. The older employees may find themselves operating weed trimmers and lawn mowers, including the large zero-turn-radius mowers.
As part-time seasonal workers, students are not eligible for benefits, although they do earn their paycheck. A benefit that seasonal workers are getting, but may not realize, is that, as city employees, they are enrolled in the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System. “They are actively paying into OPERS. If you are a state, county, municipal employee, we are all part of that OPERS system,” said Bogan, “They may not realize it yet, but if they stay in government or the public sector, they are earning time now that will help them retire sooner.”
The City of Piqua has been employing part-time seasonal help for more than two decades. With a total work force of around 200 full-time employees, the student summer workers add an additional nearly 20 percent to the work force, allowing the city and its various departments to get needed work done that it could not do without the extra help.
Another benefit to everyone from the program, according to Bogan, “It gives a greater sense of community. I think it’s neat when the kids see how their local government works. I think it’s neat for their parents and the citizens to see that our kids are invested in our community. We have kids out there making streets safe, making sure that the city is beautified, keeping your kids safe at the pool, supporting your recreational activities in the City of Piqua.”
“If we didn’t have all of those kids,” said Bogan,”supporting those kind of ancillary seasonal functions, because golf, pool, you know, all that is not year-round. So, we make those functions happen with these kids. If we didn’t have the seasonal kind of safety net, I don’t know that we could open the pool. It’s a win-win. It’s benefiting the kids who are working there, but it’s benefiting our community greatly by making some of these attractions that we enjoy, available and open.
Some part-time seasonal employees see more than “just” summer employment opportunities. Chase Gambill, a Bradford High School graduate who is in his second year at Hocking College is working to attain his Class 1 Water Operations License and hopes to return to Piqua as a full-time employee after graduation from college.
Piqua High School graduate Brandon Hohlbein attends Wright State University and is in his fourth season with the City of Piqua.
A number of other student workers are in their first year and all expressed love for what they have been given the opportunity to do, and hope to return to their job next summer.
City of Piqua employee Ben Gover is a shining example of a part-time seasonal employee whose hard work and dedication leads to a career with the city.
Most everyone who ventures through Piqua has seen Gover, happily hard at work on a project and always ready with a greeting and smile.
Gover graduated from Piqua High School in 2008. In 2011 he applied for, and was accepted, as part-time seasonal help. “Originally, I was supposed to go to water,” said Gover, “but they thought that I would be better suited for parks with my landscaping background and mowing experience.”
Gover worked two seasons as part-time before being hired on as full-time.
When asked about giving advice for those wishing to follow in h is footsteps, Gover said, “Dedication, getting your CDL (Commercial Driver’s License), taking the initiative.”
For Gover, working for the city is a dream come true. “I love it. I’m a very ‘people person’, said Gover, ” I don’t know a stranger and this is right up my alley. It’s something different every day. I love that aspect. One day running the paver and the next day mowing grass.”
Those jobs, along with plowing snow, leaf removal, hanging banners and Christmas lights, as just a few of the many jobs where the citizens of Piqua might find Gover. “Its endless,” said Gover, ” and for me, that’s perfect.”