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In Demand: UCM graduates

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With plans to graduate at the end of the 2008 spring semester, Sarah Lippe wanted to get a leg up in a competitive job market as an elementary school teacher. Her solution? She attended the University of Central Missouri's annual Teacher Placement Day.

Amidst a sluggish economy nationally, Career Services reports a record number of UCM's graduates found work in the 2006-2007 job market.

"First impressions are crucial, and this is the opportunity to make one so that there is a name with a face instead of an electronic application," she says.

She trekked to the Multipurpose Building in March with an armload of resumes and handed them out to representatives of 11 school districts out of 165 attending the event. It was time well spent. She landed four job interviews. One of them was at Ott Elementary School in her hometown of Independence, where the principal remembered her from Teacher Placement Day. Within four days of her interview, Lippe was offered and accepted her first job as a kindergarten teacher.

Although paths for professional success may differ, Lippe joins more than 1,000 UCM graduates who left campus this spring planning either to launch new careers or continue their education. Whatever the case, those alumni will likely hear from UCM's Office of Career Services over the next several months as it compiles the newest job statistics. Such efforts follow a record year for Central Missouri graduate job placement.

Amidst a sluggish economy nationally, Career Services reports a record number of UCM's graduates found work in the 2006-2007 job market within six months after earning their degrees. The office has compiled job placement stats since 1968.

"This is the 14th year in a row that our employment statistic is above 90 percent. The 96.8 percent is the highest employment percentage in UCM's recorded history," notes Teresa Alewel, director.

Career Services annually surveys graduates to find out about job success, types of careers that are in high demand and salary levels. The most recent survey results are based on responses from 69.7 percent of the 1,946 graduates who completed their degrees in December 2006 and May 2007. New results are released every spring, based on data collected by telephone, the Internet, academic departments and employers. Mail surveys are sent only as a last resort.

"The phone call is a valuable opportunity for us to interact," Alewel insists. "If a graduate is not employed, it definitely tells us who needs help. Then we can continue to make referrals and update any information we have on them. We tell them that it doesn't matter that you graduated, we are still here and going to help you find employment."

"This is the 14th year in a row that our employment statistic is above 90 percent. The 96.8 percentile is the highest employment percentage in UCM's recorded history."

- Teresa Alewel

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