College Graduates Enter Job Market

5/17/2008 Fresno, CA Thousands of people packed into the Save Mart Center Saturday for Fresno State's commencement ceremony. After years of hard work, the former students are entering the real world.

Music major Natalie Meek said she is looking forward to teaching. "It feels like I can start making a difference now rather than just learning how to. I just can't wait," said Meek.

As the students enter the job market, the floundering economy is on the top of many minds. The head of the university's career services says the outlook is still good for the graduates, despite the economy's condition.

"It will be a while before it affects the new college graduate market. That tends to lag behind the larger economy," said Rita Bocchinfuso-Cohen. Bocchinfuso said new graduates mean cost savings when it comes to employers replacing the number of baby boomers who are retiring.

Still, the market is softening. Though employers say they'll hire more graduates this year than last, they won't be hiring as many as they had earlier anticipated. "In the fall when you surveyed them, they said about 16 percent. When we surveyed them again around March, you can see they've dropped the number of new hires, but it's still more than last year, which was a good year," said Bocchinfuso-Cohen.

Many of the graduates have already found work. Kinesiology Major Stephanie White is working as a personal trainer in San Diego and she's still being recruited by four other companies. "It's really kind of a scary time. So the fact that people are trying to persuade me to come work for them is pretty exciting," said White.

Laura Tamez, criminology major, has not found a job yet, but she's still optimistic. "I have had job offers, they haven't been exactly what I wanted yet, but I'm still looking and I don't think I'll have a problem," said Tamez.

Job or no job, students and faculty say Saturday was a day to celebrate their accomplishments and the future. University President John Welty said, "Today is the day I'm very proud of our students and faculty. They're worked so hard and for many of them they've overcome incredible obstacles. When you hear their stories, it just brings to your eyes."

Bocchinfuso-Cohen said if the economy stays depressed over time; it will eventually hit the newer college graduate market. For now, some of the degrees in highest demand are in engineering, accounting, and in the medical fields.

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