April 12, 2004: Headlines: Recruitment: Web Site: Macon Telegraph: "We had 5.7 million people visiting our Web site in 2003," said Peace Corps spokewoman Barbara Daly.

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Headlines: April 2004 Peace Corps Headlines: April 12, 2004: Headlines: Recruitment: Web Site: Macon Telegraph: "We had 5.7 million people visiting our Web site in 2003," said Peace Corps spokewoman Barbara Daly.

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-151-196-242-91.balt.east.verizon.net - on Monday, April 12, 2004 - 4:28 pm: Edit Post

"We had 5.7 million people visiting our Web site in 2003," said Peace Corps spokewoman Barbara Daly.

We had 5.7 million people visiting our Web site in 2003, said Peace Corps spokewoman Barbara Daly.

"We had 5.7 million people visiting our Web site in 2003," said Peace Corps spokewoman Barbara Daly.

Job market tight for midstate grads

By Maggie Large

Telegraph Staff Writer

When Seneca McRae graduates from college this spring, she worries she'll have to accept a job as a low-paying payroll clerk.

Even with a business degree from Fort Valley State University, a competitive job market means that students such as McRae may have to lower their expectations.

Some of her friends haven't been able to find jobs in their field at all, she said.

"I have one friend who graduated as a computer and information systems major, and she's working as a flight attendant," McRae said.

Unless they're in a growing sector such as health care or education, this year's college graduates may have a hard time finding a job in their field, experts said.

Though some say the nation's economy has rebounded, that hasn't necessarily translated to more jobs for newly minted graduates. The unemployment rate in the Macon metropolitan area was down one-tenth of a percentage point in February to 3.4 percent, but Macon also lost 200 jobs that month, according to state Department of Labor statistics.

This year's graduates may also be competing with past graduates who still haven't been able to find jobs in their fields, said Charlie Schroder, legislative liaison for the state Department of Labor.

"You've got a pool of grads from the last few years that are looking for their first jobs. These are lean times," Schroder said.

Applications to law schools, one of the bellwethers to gauge how the employment market looks, shows that many graduates are choosing to ride out the "jobless recovery" in graduate school. Giles Kennedy, director of law admissions for the University of Georgia School of Law in Athens, said applications for the fall class of 2004 are at a five-year high.

"It's a fairly established fact that applications to law school increase when the economy sours," Kennedy said.

This year, 2,870 applications came in for an estimated class size of 210. Compared with the fall 1999 class, when only 1,680 applications came in, that's a 70 percent increase.

Business schools in Georgia are also experiencing growth. Wesleyan College's executive MBA program, which started in fall 2001 with one "cohort" of students, now has four "cohorts" for a total enrollment of 59, said Danielle Lodge, the college's director of recruiting.

At Mercer's business school on its Atlanta campus, applications to the MBA program are up 10 percent to 15 percent this year compared with last year, said Karen Goss, assistant vice president of admissions.

"People are thinking, maybe I'll want to defer looking at the job market and get my MBA," Goss said.

Another option, the Peace Corps, is seeing landmark interest, said spokeswoman Barbara Daly. She credits the Bush administration's focus on volunteer service for the uptick in interest. During the January to March application period, 4,002 people sent in applications in 2004, compared with 2,576 in 2001, representing about a 65 percent increase, Daly said.

"Right now we're seeing a 28-year high in the number of volunteers serving. We had 5.7 million people visiting our Web site in 2003," Daly said.

Despite the mixed news about the economy, companies are continuing to recruit on college campuses. Mercer University's career fair had 73 employers participate, up from 55 last year.

Geico, which has 3,900 employees at its Macon site, sends representatives to colleges across the Southeast to recruit graduates for the company's professional development program, said recruiter Madie Queen. The company expects to add at least 485 employees in Macon this year across the different departments.

"Typically, we meet with college career services departments, set up information tables on campus and schedule on-campus interviews. We also sponsor events, like a graduation breakfast at (Georgia College & State University) and an 'intern for a day' program at UGA," Queen said.

For students set to graduate this spring, whether or not they have a job offer in hand seems to depend on two things: their field and their contacts.

Todd Greene, a nursing student at Macon State College, said his externship programs at Coliseum Medical Centers and The Medical Center of Central Georgia have helped him secure job interviews that he hopes will lead to a full-time job as an intensive-care nurse. Externships are programs offered that allow students to work in their chosen field during the school year.

"It seems everybody I've talked to in my department that wants a job, has one," Greene said.

Ann Loyd, director of counseling and the career center at Macon State, said accounting students have also been successful in finding jobs.

"We have a co-op program with Robins Air Force Base, and there are lots of requests for accounting majors," Loyd said.

For students who are having a more difficult time in the job market, Loyd recommends lowering expectations a tad.

"Take a job, even an entry-level job, that's similar to your field. To expect a six-figure job right out of school is pretty unrealistic. I'm still waiting for that," Loyd said.

Romelda Simmons, director of the career development center at Fort Valley State University, said some of the hot fields for her students this year are education and agriculture. Dozens of school systems recruit for teachers, and a strong relationship with the U.S. Department of Agriculture helps students in that field, she said.

"When students participate in our teacher recruitment program, they're practically guaranteed a job. Ninety to 95 percent find a placement in a school system," Simmons said.

But some FVSU students said the job market is very competitive for their field. Mario Pye, a computer and information systems major, said he plans to attend Albany State University to get his MBA instead of venturing into the job market.

"I talked to some people in my major who graduated last year, and none of them are working in their field," Pye said.

Mercer student April Thompson, an electrical engineering major, chose to attend graduate school at Michigan State University to learn more about the field of biomedical imaging.

"Some of my classmates are still having a problem finding a job. But a lot of them are tired of school and just ready to get into the work force," Thompson said.

Mercer Career Services assistant director Mary Roberts said some students are having a hard time gaining acceptance to competitive graduate programs. Others are finding it difficult to get a job in their fields, she said.

"We don't have as many consulting firms recruiting on campus as we used to," Roberts said.

Roberts said she counsels students to tap into the "hidden job market" by networking and completing internships.

"I think it's important that students make themselves as competitive as possible," Roberts said. "Do internships in your field. A high GPA is required. Get involved in campus activities."
To contact Maggie Large, call 744-4229 or e-mail mlarge@macontel.com.

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Story Source: Macon Telegraph

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