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 thatcollege graduates had an unemployment rate of a mere 3.5 percent. In comparisonunemployment sat at 7.6 percent for those without degrees.

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

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

Representatives from more than 50 businesses set up boothsinside 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 togo."

Turner does not graduate until 2015, but she hoped thecareer 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 Ichanged and realized I don't have to be a nurse to help people. Then, Irealized there's not many social workers, so I thought that'll be better forme."

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

The 46-year-old former Marine decided to enroll at ASU in2009 after losing his job during the recession. He never thought he'd go tocollege because 18 years had passed since he graduated from high school.

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

Riley now works with students at the ASU Career ServiceCenter, which organized the career fair Tuesday. He came to the same fair threeyears ago and got an internship with CalFrac Well Services. The company has nowoffered him a full-time job when he graduates next year. He hopes hisexperience will inspire other students to seek out opportunities in their ownfields.

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

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

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

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

"They're goingthrough the same process as me," he said, "so it just motivates me more to workeven harder."

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

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