College seniors nationwide will soon don their caps and gowns. While some Plattsburgh State students may not be ready, others seem to have their eyes on the prize.
An article from the Washington Post titled “What happens when college fail to prepare graduates for jobs?” said some college graduates are often asked what they are going to do with their degree once they graduate. Due to the rising cost of college and an increasingly competitive job market, “students and their parents increasingly view college as training for that first job out of college rather than a broad education for life,” the Post reported.
“We coach on career management,” Julia Overton-Healy, director of the PSUC Career Development Center, or CDC, said.
Everything from writing well, to developing a good interviewing style are traits Overton-Healy said the CDC works on with students, making them better candidates in the modern job market.
Overton-Healy said project management is also a primary focus.
“Doing a job search is a project,” she said. “What’s your game plan? What’s your end goal?”
She said these kinds of skills work in any environment.
“A lot of what we teach here for personal skills applies to the professional world,” she said.
The Post article reported that the “underemployment rate” is 44 percent, meaning 44 percent of college graduates are taking jobs that don’t require a bachelor’s degree.
However, Overton-Healy said PSUC students set themselves apart from the pack.
“Plattsburgh State students tend to be very hard-working,” she said, “they have a strong work ethic, they’re personable, they’re polite and they’re appreciative. I think all of those things translate really well in a job search or work environment.”
Overton-Healy said “a lot of things” go into calculating the underemployment rate for graduates across the nation.
“We’re still in recovery from the 2008 economic collapse, we’re still digging ourselves out, (and) I’m afraid we have not learned our lesson,” she said. “Small businesses are struggling because of the tax burden. It’s really hard when you can barely make the payroll of the employees you do have to open up another job to hire a college student, no matter how well-qualified, when you just don’t have the revenue or the profit margin to do so.”
Keito Inoue, a PSUC junior and TV/video production major from Tokyo, Japan, said since he came here, he has had “so many opportunities.”
Inoue plans to graduate from PSUC in the spring of 2016, and hopes to get a job here in the TV/video field, but he hopes to eventually go back to Japan.
Though English-language classes are part of general education in Tokyo’s high school system, Inoue said international students may have a hard time finding jobs due to a language barrier.
PSUC psychology major and biology minor Jennifer Owusu will be graduating this semester and has an internship lined up at a Long Island-based hospital.
“The psych program is very amazing. They have internship programs within the psych major. I volunteered to be part of this study, and I felt I got a lot from it,” Owusu said.
“Being part of that experience in itself helps you with graduation.” She said the job market is more challenging because so many people are going to college.
“(A college degree is) like a high school diploma,” she said. “Sometimes, graduating from college is not even going to take you to another job.”
Overton-Healy said that while the marketplace doesn’t have the capacity to absorb all college graduates, this presents a unique opportunity.
“It’s on you all, frankly, to figure out a new economy for this country, because the old guard didn’t do it right,” she said, “Maybe it’s time for a different kind of economy.”
Email Tim Lyman at email@example.com