TU Students Discuss Employment Concerns

Saturday, August 22nd 2009, 5:39 pm
By: News On 6

By Jeffrey Smith, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- University of Tulsa seniors are sounding off about finding a job. College classes start Monday and members of the class of 2010 admit they're worried about getting a job in this economy.

Over the last two years, TU has seen a noticeable shift in majors and in the attitude of students as they prepare to enter the real world.

As student orientation winds down, TU seniors say the real fun is just starting to heat up.

"There is a little bit of angst, just knowing how many qualified people are struggling to find a job," said Danny Patten, a political science major.

"It's a lot harder to find a job. It's a fulltime job to get a job," said Shelly Holly, Career Services Director.

Senior Tanner Hesse plans on getting his master's degree. With universities cutting budgets, he says he's worried about finding research grants and scholarships.

"It could mean that I need to go to option four, option five, rather than option one, the school that I want to go to. Simply put because they're going to have less positions available," said Tanner Hesse, an engineering major.

The 86% employment rate for engineers is a big reason why it's the school's most popular program. But this year, engineering jobs are down 15%.

"They're telling me they're considering graduate school instead of looking for a job because they're afraid the market is maybe not so good," said Shelly Holly, Career Services Director.

In 2007, more than half of all college graduates had a job offer in one hand, even before they received their diploma in the other. This year, fewer than one-in-five graduates had a similar offer.

With more than 15% of people his age unemployed, Danny Patten says he's thinking about applying for Teach for America, a program with a mission "to build the movement to eliminate educational inequity by enlisting our nation's most promising future leaders in the effort," according to its web site.

"Just knowing that, a, you have a job, which is great, because we all have a mortgage to pay at the end of the day, but then knowing that what you're doing is really helping out society," said Danny Patten.

Teach for America has seen record surges of applicants in recent years. This year, 35,000 young people applied for roughly 3,500 positions. A 40% increase from last year.

Overall, TU officials say 55% of graduates find a job within three months of graduation.