Other stories in this series
This article is part of a series highlighting how the Ohio Technology Consortium offers Ohio college students employment opportunities that provide hands-on experience in fields ranging from information technology and engineering to communications and administration. Students help the consortium (which includes the Ohio Supercomputer Center, OARnet and OhioLINK) plan and execute projects and contribute to the overall success of its business operations.
OARnet: High school STEM camp leads student to job with OARnet
OhioLINK: OhioLINK opportunity helps Ohio State student succeed at work and on campus
OSC: Ohio Supercomputer Center’s supportive environment helps student develop professional skills
When Michael Labib was searching for a job at the end of summer, he stumbled upon an opening for a student IT assistant at the Ohio Technology Consortium (OH-TECH), a division of the Ohio Department of Higher Education, through The Ohio State University’s job portal.
Labib, a second-year student in computer science and engineering at Ohio State, said the position seemed like a perfect fit for him because he felt qualified, the work was relevant to his major, and the Kinnear Road building was close by on the university’s west campus.
“I bike to work every day, and the location was a pretty huge factor for me,” Labib said. “I pretty much had to limit myself to no more than 10 minutes away from campus, and so OH-TECH was a natural fit for me.”
Labib reports to Doug Line, IT user services manager at OH-TECH. Line has worked with students for 10 years and always tries to find someone who is completing relevant coursework and looking to create a foundation from which to launch their career.
“Michael was very proactive, and from the discussions we had it was very clear to me that Michael is probably going to end up somewhere in IT,” Line said. “The main reason that Michael is at Ohio State is to get his degree and be exposed to different things in a field he’s really interested in. OH-TECH is providing him with this exposure.”
The relationship between OH-TECH and students is beneficial on both sides, Line said. OH-TECH provides students with a real-world experience where they can apply what they are learning in class, while students bring unique capabilities to the organization.
"It’s somebody new coming in with a fresh perspective without prior knowledge about how we have done things in the past,” Line said. “We elicit feedback from them regarding possible improvements they see in the way we provide services to our users.”
In his position, Labib manages OH-TECH’s inventory of laptops and provides other employees with technology they need to work remotely, such as monitors or meeting equipment like microphones. He also troubleshoots technology issues for employees.
In addition to on-the-ground professional experience, the position also has developed Labib’s research and communication skills, he said.
“If you are giving another employee a set of instructions to troubleshoot a problem, you have to be clear and communicate well whatever technical knowledge that you might have researched,” Labib said. “I realized the skill of working with people is pretty important both as an IT assistant and in my major.”
Labib is glad he applied to and was selected for the position because of the support he has received from Line and the OH-TECH community. “This was my first real job, so I felt like maybe I wasn’t adequate for the role coming in,” Labib said. “In the end, I’m definitely glad I applied, though, because I do like my time here at OH-TECH.”
The Ohio Department of Higher Education’s Ohio Technology Consortium partners with The Ohio State University for fiscal and legal support, including hiring processes. While some positions are open only to Ohio State students, others are open to applicants at any Ohio institution.
Governed by the Chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE), the Ohio Technology Consortium (OH-TECH) serves as the technology and information division of ODHE. The consortium comprises a suite of widely respected member organizations collectively unsurpassed in any other state: OSC, OARnet and OhioLINK. The consortium drives efficiencies through common services provided to member organizations through the Shared Infrastructure and Consortia Services divisions.