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Some NY Colleges Working Hard to Get Grads Jobs

Some NY Colleges Working Hard to Get Grads Jobs

The Daily Star

December 14, 2009

But child advocacy also is high on her list of interests, Hoffman said, and the college staff is helping her identify requirements to work in the field, possibly as an intern in a social services office.

“They’re helping me prepare so that I’ll be more qualified,” said Hoffman, of Sharon Springs. “It’s been real good.”

Students in high school and college will be a smaller portion of the work force in 2016. The aging of the baby-boomer generation will cause not only an increase in the percentage of workers in the oldest category, but also a decrease in the percentage of younger workers, the federal study said.

Changes in consumer demand, technological advances and population growth will change the employment structure in the U.S. economy, according to a U.S. Department of Labor study of the jobs market from 2006 to 2016. Total employment is projected to increase by 10 percent from 150.6 million to 166.2 million, and the long-term shift from goods-producing to service-providing jobs is expected to continue, the department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics said.

In the civilian labor force, the bureau reported, the youth sector — those ages 16 to 24 — will decrease its share of the labor force to 12.7 percent by 2016. At the same time, the primary working-age group — those between 25 and 54 — will decline from 68.4 percent to 64.6 percent, and the share of workers 55 and older is projected to rise from 16.8 percent to 22.7 percent.

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In its 2008-09 Occupational Outlook Handbook, the bureau projects the three fastest-growing occupations will be network systems and data communications analysts; personal and home care aides; and home health aides.

For 19 of the 30 fastest growing occupations, the most significant source of education or training is an associate or higher-level degree, the report said. Registered nurses, retail sales staff and customer service representatives are the occupations projected to have the largest numerical increases between 2006 and 2016.

In considering academic studies and career options, deans and faculty at the State University College of Technology at Delhi encourage students to find subjects that fascinate them, college spokeswoman Kimberly MacLeod said.

“They have to do what they love, and that’s how they’ll find their success,” MacLeod said. “That’s really what we stress with our students.”

But local college officials said their institutions also have responded to demand for nursing programs and been successful developing degrees in niche markets, such as golf turf management, culinary and hospitality services, management and criminal justice.

SUNY Delhi’s enrollment is about 3,155 students.

MacLeod said the job-placement rate is almost 100 percent for students earning associate or bachelor’s degrees in golf course turf management programs, a result college officials attribute to paid internships at courses throughout the nation. In May, 11 students were the first to graduate with a newly offered bachelor’s degree in construction management, she said, and all had jobs.

At SUNY Delhi, a student can earn credentials to become a licensed practical nurse, a registered nurse and a bachelor’s degree in science in nursing, MacLeod said. The college has many agreements to support teacher education students planning to earn advanced degrees at other SUNY colleges.

Hartwick College, a private college enrolling about 1,480 students, focuses on liberal arts education but also has programs geared toward preparing students for jobs in nursing, teaching and business, officials at the Oneonta college said. Traditionally, Hartwick liberal arts majors continue their education in graduate and professional school.

Hartwick officials suggest high school students stop at a college’s career development office as part of campus visits. The staff can answer questions about how their office works with students to prepare for employment, from resume writing to internships.

The State University College at Oneonta has bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in education, plus a range of liberal arts studies. Recruiters visit the campus, and some departments have networking or other assistance in connection students with jobs, said Kristy Cable, director of the career development and student employment office.

SUNY Oneonta has about 5,880 undergraduate and graduate students.

The career development office helps students with tools — resume writing, interviewing skills, search techniques and job-market information — to find employment opportunities, Cable said. Starting a job search six months before graduation is encouraged.

But students who have done internships or volunteer work will have a head start because they have developed communications and leadership skills and gained experience, Cable said. The first two years of college are time for students to explore, she said, but having career options in mind sooner can be advantageous.

“It’s better to come in with some ideas and try stuff on,” she said, “rather than having no direction.”

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