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Laid-off workers 'temp' between regular jobs

STANFORD -- An experimental, in-house temporary placement service will become a regular, ongoing service center effective Sept. 1, the Human Resources Services' employment department has announced.

The Stanford University Temporary Service was started as a subsidized trial in March 1990. The new, regular program is no longer subsidized and is self-sustaining.

The program can be especially valuable to employees who are laid off from their university jobs through "repositioning," such employees have said. Departments may find the service useful not only because it can save money, but also because temporaries obtained in-house are already familiar with Stanford.

While dollar estimates are not yet available, the service is expected to result in substantial savings to the university, which previously relied mostly on outside temporary employment agencies.

The service helps university departments fill temporary clerical, secretarial and administrative support-staff needs, said Rita Chalon, program administrator.

Over the past 18 months, the service has mainly operated through word of mouth, Chalon said. In that time, approximately 80 departments have used the service, with more than 400 placements being made.

There are currently 56 temporaries on the university payroll. A number of temporary placements have led to regular staff employment at Stanford, including for some recently laid-off employees.

One such person is Dorothy Antwine, who said Chalon helped her to a degree normally associated with a high-level "search" when Antwine was laid off from her job in Human Resources.

Of the temporary service, Antwine said, "I knew it was there but I didn't give it much thought."

At the urging of co-workers, Antwine, an office assistant, got in touch with Chalon after receiving four weeks¹ layoff notice. Within two weeks, she had temporary work in the School of Engineering.

From there, Antwine moved to a temporary job at the Medical Center, then at the Development Office, where earlier this month she started a new, permanent position.

"There is life after being laid off," Antwine said. "The temporary jobs worked well for me because I could keep my 50- percent schedule and I got to move around the university and meet new people. That networking helped me get other offers."

Similarly pleased with the service was Margaret Harris, laid off from her administrative assistant position at the Medical Center in February.

Prompted by a notice given to all laid-off workers, Harris contacted Chalon "and was placed within 24 hours" at Communication Services. With steady temporary work obtained, Harris then could scan employment ads in Campus Report until she found a permanent job that was right for her. She starts her new position with the Cultures, Ideas and Values program on Sept. 1.

"There are lots of reasons why it's a good idea for Stanford," Harris said. "People who worked here before, like myself, bring a lot of the 'Stanford-specific' skills to their new jobs; we're more marketable.

"It's wonderful that Stanford is willing to do this."

Chalon said the current temporary pool includes previous Stanford employees, retirees, and employees recently laid off, as well as individuals external to the university. Skills range from entry level to advanced office experience with extensive administrative skills.

She also observed that providing the service to a broad range of people in a variety of situations can contribute to the university's goals for cultural diversity.

Full- or part-time, and long- or short-term assignments can be accommodated, Chalon said. If the service cannot fill a particular request with a qualified person, it then provides references to Stanford-approved outside temporary agencies.

The Temporary Service uses the same job classifications and pay structures that are used for regular staff employees. It now will be responsible for handling all paperwork related to temporary assignments. Temporary employees will bring their completed time sheets directly to the employment office, from which they will receive their paychecks -- a time-saving measure for the departments, Chalon said.

Hours of operation for the Temporary Service are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The office is located in the Employment Department at 855 Serra Street. More information is available from Chalon at 725-7882, or through electronic mail at at.rlc@forsythe.



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