Career Center aids seniors

As the semester comes an end, many graduates of the fall class of 2003 will pursue jobs, internships and advanced education. However, as unemployment figures rise, new college graduates are also starting off at a disadvantage with limited job opportunities and wary employers. But due to the resources at the FAMU Career Center many of the students who graduate will enter positions pertaining to their major.

The FAMU Career Center is a facility where students can utilize resources that can help them advance in their majors and careers. The center imparts interview, resume writing and networking skills.

“Out of the 500 students who utilize our resources, 70 percent of them will jump right into their careers,” said Delores Dean, director of FAMU Career Center.

“Rather than leave school to face job markets, at least 25 percent are opting to pursue internships and graduate school,” Dean said.

Due to the help of the Center, Stephanie Rodgers, a 23-year-old senior journalism student from Tallahassee plans to move on to graduate school.

“It’s really important for me to obtain my masters degree,” Rodgers said.

Many students don’t utilize the Center until their junior or senior years, but officials from the center advise differently.

“We stress that students start making themselves familiar with the career center their freshman year,” said Joan Sweet Assistant Director of FAMU Career Center.

The center imparts interview, resume writing and networking skills.

“We offer the SIGI plus program and MonsterTRAK that help students get familiar with who they are and the employers they would like to work for,” said Sweet.

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), 42.4 percent of surveyed employers plan to hire fewer new graduates than they did last year.

“In many cases, starting salaries were lower than those of a year ago,” said Marilyn Mackes, NACE executive director. “Overall, it was a difficult year.”

The environment is tougher than it has been in a long time. Many employers are cutting back on the number of recent college graduates they typically hire each year.

Moreover, 1.2 million new graduates will be competing against each other and they will also be competing with nearly nine million unemployed for only three million available positions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment for people ages 20-24 rose to 10.1 percent in April, up from 9.9 percent at this time last year and 7 percent in 2000.

Although the Class of 2003 found the job market to be tough and competitive, early projections suggest that the job market may improve in time for the Class of 2004. The Winter 2004 Salary Survey report, to be published in early February, will be the first indication if those positive projections are on track.

“We continually advise students not to wait until the time of graduation to utilize the Career Center,” Dean said.