U of A students talk job prospects as graduation nears

U of A students talk job prospects as graduation nears

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Graduation at the University of Arizona is a couple days away, and next comes the search for jobs.

Prospects look encouraging.

The Labor Department says the U.S. has about 5.7 million job openings, and that's nearly a record. Graduating seniors told Tucson News Now they are optimistic.

"I think persistence is the key," said Molly Hansen, who works the front desk in the Career Services center on campus.

That "A" for effort is not only a good grade in the classroom, but it could be setting up students for what's next.

"From what we see, there are more and more employers coming to campus, and more and more great names, and they want to recruit in big numbers," said Pete Corrigan, Assistant Director of Employer Relations in the Career Services center. "The job market is the best I've seen it in my experience, being here since 2009."

The positivity is echoed on the U of A campus, with a rosy outlook from certain graduating seniors who are set to walk during commencement this weekend. Many of them have job offers in hand.

"It was actually a lot easier than what we had been led to believe. People say that jobs are hard to find, and that the economy is bad. But no, for those that work on their education, the job prospects are actually pretty abundant," said Luis Breon, a business administration major.

It's a sort of good news, bad news situation. The good news, according to a CNN Money report, is that employers are hiring more than ever before. The bad news is that not all employers can find the skilled workers they specifically need.

"There are some majors that are very specific. For example, accounting or computer science, and sometimes employers come to campus just looking for those skills," Corrigan said. "But the majority of employers that come to campus are more interested in a skill-set. Can you collaborate? Can you communicate? Can you solve problems?"

And the question remains: How do you keep the latest crop of graduates from leaving Tucson?

It wasn't really an option for Ryan Kaye and his computer science degree. The local Tucsonan is moving to Chicago, after getting a job offer.

"It was just where I found a good job," he said. "There were no jobs out here that really fit what I was looking for."

"I think Tucson has been kind of an up-and-coming place for people to stay here. I know, here in career services at least, we have a lot of different companies that come in that are opening places here," Hansen said.

Preliminary data from a career destinations survey, solicited by the Career Services center, found that 49 percent of graduates who responded will be staying in Arizona for jobs after graduation. That includes 25 percent who reported that "they will be staying in Tucson for their jobs after graduation."

Corrigan said local companies are keeping pace with the supply of new graduates, but it's just a matter of students wanting to take those chances.

"If you put the effort into creating a good resume, and cover letter, and working on your interviewing skills, that there are opportunities out there that will give you a satisfying career, that is worthy of a college degree, that will pay you appropriately."

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