21 Aug 2014
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NU Website Connects Students to Local Part-Time Work

Evanston residents can post odd jobs or permanent gigs for NU students.

NU Website Connects Students to Local Part-Time Work

Need some help cleaning your gutters? Want someone to organize your garage? Can’t find a sitter for Friday night?

JobCat, a website launched April 11 by a student government group, aims to connect Evanston residents in need of assistance with Northwestern students looking to make a few bucks.

“We envision it as the number one way that students and Evanston residents connect for short-term jobs,” said David Harris, a Northwestern sophomore and vice president of the Associated Student Government, the group responsible for creating the website.

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JobCat follows a dual approach to making work connections. The website’s "find a job" heading allows locals to post gigs for students, while the "find a Wildcat" section encourages students to market themselves and their skill sets to Evanston residents. Locals can also post what they are willing to pay for a service and students can list their asking price.

As of Tuesday, 70 students had already created profiles on the website and four had found part time work — three as babysitters and one cleaning out a garage.

Services currently offered by students on JobCat include mending and tailoring, dog walking, baseball lessons, babysitting, tutoring and computer instruction. All students listed their rates between $10 and $15 per hour.

Harris said he believes the JobCat will have a competitive edge over classified websites, such as Craigslist or Backpage, because all job applicants will be Northwestern students, whom he described as being “honest, reliable and intelligent.” Furthermore, both students and residents will be able to rate their experiences at the end of a gig, helping locals to hire the most qualified workers and students to avoid unpleasant work environments.

JobCat is free to use and has no ad content, Harris said, because the goal of the website will never be to make money for its creators.

“This is an opportunity for us to showcase student initiative,” Harris said, “to better our connections with the Evanston community, to do something that will help provide Northwestern students with some extra cash and do so without costing them anything. … This is exactly what Associated Student Government is all about.”

JobCat representatives have begun to spread word of the website by contacting local schools, nonprofits, religious organizations and even businesses. Harris said the website also recently received verbal support from Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl.

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