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Tough Job Market for College Graduates

Do you have a degree in graphic arts, but find yourself slicing meat at the local deli?
MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) – Any recent college graduate have a new degree, but find yourself slicing meat at the local deli? Welcome to the 2012 job market for college grads.

But, don’t get too depressed. Despite some sobering statistics, it’s not all bad.

Social scientists say today’s college grads could become emotionally scarred by the worst job market since the Great Depression of the 1930’s. Even though receiving that new diploma is a proud moment, it might feel a little like walking off a cliff.

“It’s scary, it is,” said recent CBU graduate Kristin Launius, “because I am basically there.”

“Almost fifty percent of students are not going to have jobs fresh out of college,” said incoming University of Memphis freshman, Joshua Klesges.

The new mantra for college students: specialize.

“The days of a bachelor’s degree with just anything, that does not cut it anymore," said employment expert Chris Lawson. "It’s definitely a tough market for those that aren’t specialized.”

“I would definitely consider my major around a field or career where there is job growth,” Klesges told abc24.com.

A big part of the problem is that so many baby boomers are still in the job market, coupled with eight percent unemployment.

Graduates have to find some way to get practical experience while still in school.

“Internships are huge,” said Lawson, “I think they are absolutely critical.”

At Memphis’ Christian Brothers University, internships are required.

Launius said, “They know how important it is in getting your foot in the door, into actually acquiring a job after graduation.”

Part of the equations is value. In a down job market are the costs of college outweighing future employment possibilities?

“You could make a pretty good argument for that,” Lawson said.

“I’m telling myself that the degree I got is rich enough to pay off and be worth the debt I’m in,” said Laurius.

She had better hope that’s true.

Six states, included Tennessee, just recently announced a coalition to offer alternatives to students other than attending a four year college.

A study by Harvard concluded that millions of grads are being shortchanged in career preparation by a one size fits all approach, encouraging everyone to earn bachelor’s degrees.

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