'The market is quite strange': New grads add to influx of job seekers

Posted at 1:17 PM, May 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-13 07:09:20-04

LANSING, Mich. — The job market is already tough for more than a million out of work here in Michigan. Add an influx of recent graduates and there's even more vying for a job.

"Obviously most of them have not experienced this level of intensity and for this to be global, this is unprecedented times our students are facing," said Dr. Connie Smith, Director of Nursing at Lansing Community College.

Smith said the pandemic has actually helped her students get jobs faster.

"They are taking positions in long-term care, acute care settings, bedside nursing, and residency," she said.

While medical remains in high demand, that's not the case for all jobs. With unemployment numbers at the highest since the Great Depression, graduates are entering an uncertain workforce.

Getting that job right now also looks a lot different than in year's past.

"It's pretty difficult at the moment. A lot of industries are being hit, departments are taking cuts," said Austin Colligan, who graduated last month from Western Michigan University.

Colligan said his search has been anything but normal.

"If you keep getting denied, it makes you want to look more, look further, maybe look at other opportunities, or ventures, or opportunities you wouldn't normally think about going down," he said.

For those helping recent graduates find jobs their work has also changed.

"The market is quite strange," said Karin Hanson, Director of Employer Relations and Communications at Michigan State University.

She said MSU is using virtual job fairs to connect students to potential employers.

"A lot of employers who have offered students full-time jobs have early on, they are actually keeping those commitments to those students, we're finding, which is great," Hanson said.

As for Austin, his job search is not over. But has some advice for anyone looking to hire someone from the class of 2020.

"If they look at us and see how these people can survive the worst and come out on top, then what could they potentially bring to our company," he said.

Michigan State said it holds around 37 job fairs a year. The school said it plans to make all of them virtual this fall.

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