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College grads' job hunt not bad

Don't worry, college graduates. It's not all doom and gloom out there. Despite the recent economic downturn, the job outlook is fairly bright. Employers plan to hire 8 percent more graduates than they did a year ago, according to a survey by the ...

Graphic: College grads

Don't worry, college graduates.

It's not all doom and gloom out there.

Despite the recent economic downturn, the job outlook is fairly bright.

Employers plan to hire

8 percent more graduates than they did a year ago, according to a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.


"It's not quite as good as we thought it would be originally, but it's still a decent market," said Andrea Koncz, employment information manager with NACE.

For grads wanting to stick around the Midwest, the outlook is a little better. Employers in the region told NACE they expect to hire 12 percent more grads than they did a year ago.

North Dakota State University's spring job fair had a record 180 employers looking for new talent.

The job fair for Minnesota state universities also had a strong showing with more than 160 employers.

"I think there's more opportunity out there than people may think," said Cliff Schuette, director of Career Services at Minnesota State University Moorhead.

It's too early for campus career centers to have statistics on how many graduates have found work in their fields.

But students who have visited the centers are reporting positive results.

Jay Thoreson, director of the Concordia Career Center, said he's been pleased by the number of students who have had several job interviews.


Another good sign is that many businesses are hiring interns for the summer, said Jill Wilkey, director of NDSU's Career Center.

For graduates of Minnesota State Community and Technical College, the technical and medical fields will have especially strong placement rates, said Rhonda Bahls, an administrative assistant.

Even though companies may be cutting back in light of the economy, they still need to hire new talent, Koncz said.

"Especially now with all the baby boomers retiring, there are still openings that they need to fill with new college graduates," she said.

Concordia senior Casi Stedman started her job search last fall and lined up a job in November. The communications and Spanish double-major plans to work for Target as an executive team leader.

Andy Moriarity, a construction management major at NDSU, had multiple job offers. He will work with Wanzek Construction as a project engineer building wind farms.

Other students wait until after graduation to begin the job search.

"Some of them simply, I think, just kind of run out of energy to be going to their part-time work and going to class," Schuette said. "Then looking for a job becomes the last thing."


Aaron Biffert, who will graduate next week from NDSU with a civil engineering degree, plans to finish the semester before looking for jobs in Seattle and the Twin Cities.

"This last semester has been pretty crazy, so my focus has been on graduating rather than getting a job," Biffert said.

Starting salaries

Most starting salary offers are on the rise for 2008 college graduates. Overall, the average salary offer to all graduates will is up 5.3 percent. Salaries in business fields show smaller increases.

Computer and Information science





Business administration/management


Liberal arts





No change


Source: National Association of Colleges and Employers

Note: Numbers are rounded

If you go - Graduations

Concordia College

What: Concordia College graduation

When: 2:30 p.m. Sunday

Where: Memorial Auditorium

Info: About 511 undergraduates and two master's degree candidates are graduating. Benson Whitney, U.S. Ambassador to Norway, will deliver the commencement address.



What: Minnesota State University Moorhead graduation

When: May 9; 10 a.m. ceremony for the College of Education and Human Services and the College of Arts and Humanities; 2 p.m. ceremony for the College of Social and Natural Sciences and the College of Business and Industry.

Where: Nemzek Fieldhouse

Info: About 850 students are graduating. Maj. General Larry Shellito, adjutant general of the Minnesota National Guard, will give the commencement address at the 10 a.m. ceremony. Tomi Sawyer, chief scientific officer for AILERON Therapeutics in Cambridge, Mass., will speak at the 2 p.m. ceremony.


What: North Dakota State University graduation

When: 5 p.m. May 9

Where: Fargodome

Info: The ceremony will be NDSU's largest ever, with 1,796 graduate and undergraduate students eligible to receive degrees. NDSU graduate Clara Presser, who's receiving a degree in music, is the commencement speaker.


What: Minnesota State Community and Technical College-Moorhead graduation

When: 2 p.m. May 9

Where: Concordia's Memorial Auditorium

Info: About 495 students are eligible to receive degrees. Jim Anderson, student government association secretary, will speak.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Amy Dalrymple at (701) 241-5590

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