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Wednesday, April 23, 2014 | Last updated: 10:26am

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UA Career Services alone not enough for job security in competitive market



A bigger achievement than actually graduating from college is finding a job afterward. Earning a bachelor’s degree used to make finding a job after graduation a virtual certainty. However, job opportunities have been slowly disappearing, especially since the recent recession.

A lot of money, time and resources are invested in getting the best college education available. Higher education is expensive for everyone. The job market is highly competitive and each university prides itself on trying to mold some of the best candidates for the workforce.

The UA Career Services attempts to do that by offering a variety of programs and resources such as career fairs, resume referrals and mock interviews, among others, so that students can gain internships and experience, and ultimately land their dream job.

Susan Miller-Pinhey, marketing and special events coordinator for Career Services, said that although her department is relatively small, Career Services has many resources available to students, especially online, such as Wildcat JobLink and numerous job databases. It even offers an alumni page that provides access to some of these programs after graduation.

Although Career Services is valuable on campus, considering what other colleges are doing for their students, the UA could definitely do more to help set its students up for success.

Just last week, administrators at Davenport University, a private college in Michigan, began talks about a program that would be a huge step toward ensuring that students have a job upon completion of their degree. The proposed program is part of Vision 2015, a public plan for the future of Northern Kentucky.

A program being discussed at Davenport University, would give students the option of signing a contract with the university at the beginning of their college career. This contract would have a list of requirements for the student, including a 3.0 GPA, an internship and a willingness to look for a job in a certain area.

The best part of this program is what can be considered a “money-back guarantee.” If a student signs this contract and successfully meets all these requirements, but does not find a job within their field of study, they can return to Davenport and get more education and training, completely free.

Davenport is not the only college considering offering students this type of deal.

Thomas College in Maine has also has a guaranteed job program in place, which offers graduates who do not land a job within six months up to two more years of tuition-free schooling. Not only that, if graduates do not wish to return to Thomas, the college said it will cover the monthly payment on their federal student loans for up to one year, or until the student finds a job. The student just has to sign a contract that includes maintaining a 2.75 GPA and participating in an internship.

Many degree programs here at the UA have these types of criteria in place for a successful completion of academic study, so it’s not unthinkable that a program like those at Davenport and Thomas could become a reality on campus.

However, Miller-Pinhey said she thinks a type of program like this would only be remotely possible at a state institution like the UA.

“I would say it’s unlikely,” Miller-Pinhey said. “There are just so many variables.”

True, there are many factors that go into a university education, but that does not mean a program like this would be impossible. Rather, it suggests a unique opportunity to create a program tailored specifically to both the capacity and needs of the UA.

The innovative changes occurring across campuses should inspire administrators to discuss and modify these programs to fit their own unique needs while keeping their students’ interests in mind.

This is what an investment should be. Students pour thousands of dollars into getting the best education. But the university needs to give students their money’s worth.

—Razanne Chatila is a journalism sophomore. She chan be reached at letters@wildcat.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions.


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