Economic hardship finds many students educated but jobless

The desolate experience of filling out application after application to jobs that you don’t want to work, lucky to get a grueling interview, has become a common undertaking for college students, and even accomplished graduates.

According to the Associated Press, last year, 53.6 percent of college graduates with a bachelor’s degree, under age 25 are unemployed. This number has been rising for more than a decade.

Tony Medak of Tacoma is a holder of a one-year certificate from Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts Program in Seattle. According to Medak he regrets his expensive and time consuming certificate after not being able to get a job in his field since his 2010 externship at The Fairmont.

His interest and passion for cooking notwithstanding, Medak is now doing carpentry and remodeling, hoping to someday start his own cooking business, which he believes will provide him with more personal and professional benefits than his certification has.

Government data shows that there are more graduates employed as waiters, and food service-helpers, neither of which requires a degree, than physicists, chemists, mathematicians, and engineers.

Currently unemployed SPSCC student Eva Ordonez said that luckily, her parents have been supportive, “My education has always been really important to me, and my parents are very supportive in my decision to focus on my education which means that they are willing to let me live with them as long as I need to.”

According to a study done by the Pew Research Center, as many as 3 in 10 young adults are returning home once done with school resulting in the highest share of young adults living in multigenerational households since the 1950s.

SPSCC counselor Colleen Clukey said, “Because of the high employment rate employers can and will ask for the most highly educated and experienced employees possible and they will be able to get exactly what they want.”

“As our economy recovers the “employee glut” will slowly diminish; people who are working will move to better jobs or promote; and the entry level job market will open up,” said Clukey.

The main problem that the poor economy is encountering, according to SPSCC Counselor Yolanda Machado, is “[employers] can only afford to hire people with hard experience.” In order to combat that, students must seek out experience in their schooling, she said. “Resume is key when you are competing in a market like today’s and [many] students don’t stand out.”

Machado said that internships will give students and grads the best chance of securing a job.

Externships and co-ops are ways of getting professional experience and gaining credit toward your degree, and they are an integral part of many study programs at SPSCC, and other schools.

According to Machado she recognizes our country’s current economic situation’s role in young people’s unemployment. However, students who choose their major based on the high paying and high demand fields is a terrible way to career search, she said.

According to prior SPSCC student and St. Martins University graduate, Adam Bakotich, many people go to school for occupations that aren’t right for them, himself included. Recently graduating with a Master of Arts Degree in Counseling Psychology, Bakotich realized many positions in his field are filled and won’t be opening any time soon. “I think one of the biggest issues is that the job market is frozen,” he said, “thus leaving very little [positions] for recent graduates.”

Graphic designer Hannah Peters has been researching the state of America’s job market and rising tuition costs and her own post-grad experience mimics recent data.

“I spent at least 3 hours every day applying for jobs over and over again. I worked through college, but being able to stay home while I went, I was able to save and focus more on school instead of worrying about rent,” said Peters.

Bakotich currently cooks and serves at Paprika Cafe, although he doesn’t have the career he studied for, he couldn’t be more happy playing metal music and strumming his guitar for local bands “Murder Your Gods” and “A.K.A and the Heart Hurt Goods.”

“No matter what job you have just be happy and share that happiness with others,” said Bakotich.