February 2009, Volume 13, Number 2

Features

In a tough job market, MDC students have leading advantage

State Farm, one of the nation’s largest insurance providers, has hired nearly 80 MDC students and alumni from the Miami area during the past 20 years. 

Within the last year alone, nine MDC students were hired in the claims department of State Farm’s Miami-Dade Operations Center.

Among those recent hires is Chris García, a history major who is working on his associate degree part time while working full time as a claims service assistant.

“The fact that I am going to MDC gave me an edge over other applicants,” García said. “I learned how to set and meet goals in the classroom and have been able to bring these skills to the job.”

Married with two children, García hopes to graduate in spring 2010. He has also focused on upward mobility at State Farm, with the goal of becoming a processor by the middle of next year and then a claims representative, which requires a four-year degree. He would eventually like to try out jobs in different departments, such as the Special Investigation Unit.

“The main reason I came to State Farm is because they don’t want you to stagnate,” he said. “I like the fact that they promote their employees; and everywhere you look at State Farm, there’s opportunity for growth.”

Viviana Cobas, a social work major, was also hired by State Farm last year as a claims service assistant. Before securing a job at State Farm, Cobas worked as a student assistant at MDC. Part of her training as a student assistant involved attending a customer-service workshop, which she said helped prepare her for her current position.

In addition to workshop training, Cobas said her professors have been instrumental in preparing her for real-world employment.

Social science professor Teresita Pedraza is “very realistic in her presentation of classroom material,” Cobas said. “This has prepared me to be an open-minded person and also to be very patient in the workplace, which helps me provide excellent customer service.”

State Farm recruiter Priscila García (no relation to Chris García) said the company was impressed with MDC’s candidates. “When a job candidate is studying at MDC, it gives me the impression that they are developing themselves to compete for better positions in the job market,” she said.

— Staff Report


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