Job outlook for college grads looking better

Published On: May 10 2013 05:39:29 PM CDT   Updated On: May 10 2013 06:55:23 PM CDT
LA Crosse, Wis. -

This weekend, thousands of college students will receive their diplomas, but as they enter the real world, are there jobs available for them?

The Coulee region added about 900 jobs last year.

The job outlook is brighter for college grads, but it's still not where it was before the economic recession hit.

Time is winding down for some Western Technical College students to finish the last assignments of their college careers.

“Cutting it close,” said Susie Martinson, who will be graduating Friday night.
Martinson will graduate with a degree in architectural technology.

She doesn't have a job lined up, but she's hoping there are openings out there.

“In the past two years that we've been in the program, it seems like things are going a little better; there's more jobs,” said Martinson. “People are building more.”

“Actually, things are really looking up,” said Barb Kelsey, career services manager at Western Tech.

About 1,000 students will graduate from Western Tech this year.

“(I’ve) been seeing a lot of people coming in and getting help with their resume and interview skills before graduating, so we know that people are landing jobs,” said Kelsey.

Kelsey said the medical field, industrial technology and diesel mechanics are just some of the fields looking to hire.

“The jobs are out there, they really are,” said Beth Dolder-Zieke, career services director at Viterbo University. “They're out there.”

Over at Viterbo, about 450 students will graduate this year.

“Obviously nursing, anything in health care is doing really well,” said Dolder-Zieke. “Business is doing well. Accounting is doing well. Anything in technology is doing very, very well.”

But finding a job isn't the only thing students have to worry about. There's also student debt.

“(It’s) one of those things I haven't been real interested in looking at,” laughed Caleb Thomas, a Western Tech student graduating Friday night.

Both schools saw an increase this year.

For Western Tech students, the average debt will total $9,375. At Viterbo, it's $25,240.

But before students get too overwhelmed, some will just focus on finals first.

“After today or Monday, priorities will change,” said Thomas.

While some industries, including health care and manufacturing, seem to be the most popular ones hiring, both schools said hiring is up across the board for all fields. However, it may be harder to find some jobs in the La Crosse area, for instance, in the visual communications or the graphic design fields.

It usually takes about six months for the majority of students graduating to find jobs.

Exact numbers on how the class of 2013 did won't be out until this fall.