ASU students optimistic about finding jobs - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

ASU students optimistic about finding jobs

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – If someone has a college degree, chances are better that they have a job.

In August the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that college graduates had an unemployment rate of a mere 3.5 percent. In comparison unemployment sat at 7.6 percent for those without degrees.

It appears that a lower unemployment rate for college grads has translated to higher hopes about getting a job. An RBC poll published in September found that 88 percent of university students think their education gives them an advantage in the job market.

Nowhere were those high hopes more evident than at the fall career fair Tuesday at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro.

Representatives from more than 50 businesses set up booths inside Centennial Hall looking to hire students, like Delia Turner.

"I just came, and I was prepared for anything," Turner said. "I dressed business casual, got my professional look going on, so I'm ready to go."

Turner does not graduate until 2015, but she hoped the career fair Tuesday could let her see what kinds of jobs are out there – particularly in social work.

"I was in the nursing field at first," she said, "but I changed and realized I don't have to be a nurse to help people. Then, I realized there's not many social workers, so I thought that'll be better for me."

Charles Riley, who's studying chemistry with a minor in disaster preparedness and emergency management, has tried to tell his classmates how valuable career fairs can be.

The 46-year-old former Marine decided to enroll at ASU in 2009 after losing his job during the recession. He never thought he'd go to college because 18 years had passed since he graduated from high school.

"Being a non-traditional student now at age 46 and almost done with my degree," he said, "I can't imagine why I waited so long. It's been so fulfilling and rewarding."

Riley now works with students at the ASU Career Service Center, which organized the career fair Tuesday. He came to the same fair three years ago and got an internship with CalFrac Well Services. The company has now offered him a full-time job when he graduates next year. He hopes his experience will inspire other students to seek out opportunities in their own fields.

"I can't emphasize to the students enough that you put in the work, and good things are going to come out of it," Riley said. "You're going to get out of it what you put into it."

Winston Nwora, a grad student, came to the career fair to start his job search early. He'll graduate next year with a Master's degree in radio-television and hopes to one day work behind the scenes at a television news station.

"I believe I see myself actually making a career in that," he said.

Nwora says he knows the job hunt will get competitive, but he's going to try to keep building up his resume as well as his confidence to become an even more viable candidate. Seeing all the other students looking for work at the career fair, however, doesn't detract him from pursuing his dream.

 "They're going through the same process as me," he said, "so it just motivates me more to work even harder."

Looking at education levels, people with Bachelor's degrees and higher have historically had the lowest unemployment rate even during the recession, but it's unclear how they fared in September. That's because the Bureau of Labor Statistics cannot publish any new data until the federal government reopens.

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