New USF graduates may struggle to find jobs in down economy

4:23 PM, May 7, 2010   |    comments
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Tampa, Florida - New numbers show the national unemployment rate rose to 9.9% in April, up from the previous month.

Though 290,000 new jobs were created, the most in four years, for thousands of people in the Tampa Bay area about start looking for work for the first time, it could be a long wait.

For Genine Morton, putting on the cap and gown is a five year dream finally coming true.

But will all that hard work actually pay off?

Florida's unemployment rate is at a record 12.3%, and many new University of South Florida grads may soon be among them.

"It's kind of discouraging not to hear back from a job that you know you are qualified for," Morton explained.

It has elementary education major Kelly Budnick even searching in Korea for a job.

"To have to look outside of the United States for work, it's hard.  It's scary," she said.

The job situation is especially concerning at USF, where a record 5,600 students will walk across the stage this weekend, many of them looking to head straight into the workforce.

"Employers that typically would have come to a college campus, even during previous recessions, didn't come this year," said Dr. Drema Howard, from the USF Career Center.

Career counselors say many graduates seeking entry level jobs are now competing against candidates with years of experience in their field.

"This economy has made it much more competitive for students," Dr. Howard told 10 Connects.

It means some new graduates may be waiting more than six months to find work.

"Now, it's like if you just have a bachelor's degree, OK, what else do you have to offer my company?" Morton said.

They're learning that cap and gown may not be worth as much as it once was.

Adam Freeman, 10 Connects

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