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98 Percent of 2012 Augustana Graduates Accept Employment

While a recent national study aimed at illustrating the depth of the Great Recession shows that one in two college graduates of the last five years remain without full-time employment, Augustana’s recent job placement rates tell a much different story.

Today the College reported that 98 percent of its 2012 graduates seeking employment have accepted a position related to their major or chosen field.

In addition, 28 percent are enrolled in, or are planning to enroll in, graduate school.

In the face of stark economic challenges and bucking the national trend, over the last five years more than 93 percent of Augustana graduates reported pursuing their desired course following graduation, on average.

According to a recent report by the Augustana Career Center, among the 360 recent graduates who pursued positions in nursing, human services and education, 100 percent report they are now working in those fields.

In education specifically – a sector plagued by constant budget cuts and restraint – 100 percent of Elementary/Special Education and Secondary Education majors report being employed in their field. Augustana’s job placement rates for business-related majors was 97 percent.

Of the class of 2012, more than half of those accepting employment remained in South Dakota, with Sanford Health Systems, Avera McKennan Hospital, the Sioux Falls School District, the State of South Dakota and Wells Fargo Bank ranking among the top employers of Augustana graduates.

Among the 28 percent of 2012 graduates who are enrolled in, or are planning to enroll in graduate school, 29 percent are in a medical-related program; 16 percent are pursuing advanced study in the sciences, such as biology or chemistry; and 9 percent are in law school, with the University of South Dakota, University of Minnesota, University of Nebraska, Creighton University, University of Wisconsin and the University of Iowa ranking among the top destinations for graduate study.

“These numbers illustrate that an Augustana education remains one of the best investments young people can make in their futures,” said Rob Oliver, president. “Time and time again, local, national and international employers tell us that Augustana graduates are highly desirable as employees because they can think critically, reason analytically and communicate effectively. Results like these continue to drive home the fact that Augustana graduates are well-suited to thrive in virtually any field, anywhere around the globe.”

“These results would not have been possible without the tireless dedication of our faculty who teach, nurture, empower, inspire and encourage our students to explore ideas and discover their potential; and our administrators and staff, who are committed to making sure our students succeed academically and socially,” Oliver said.

Augustana’s 98 percent job placement rate for 2012 graduates is an increase of 1 percent over the placement rates for May 2011 graduates.

Critical to graduate outcomes is the Augustana Career Center, which works with employers around the world to match students and soon-to-be graduates to internships and open positions. The Center also helps students prepare for the transition from college to career by providing resume-building advice, interview coaching, workshops and the annual Career Symposium, which features panel discussions by Augustana alumni in a variety of career fields.

In 2012, 639 students and alumni utilized services provided by the Career Center, including individual career counseling, resume building and mock job interviews. Over the year, nearly 2,100 job and internship opportunities were posted on the Career Center’s website.

“We’re proud to say that for nearly three decades, our graduates have enjoyed the positive trend of securing their desired employment and continuing their education after graduation,” said Sandi Vietor, director of the Augustana Career Center. “Employers continue to recognize our graduates as well-prepared and thoughtful leaders, creative thinkers and effective decision-makers who bring with them a global perspective and a passion for making the world a better place.”

The national study, “Chasing the American Dream: Recent College Graduates and the Great Recession,” conducted by the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, surveyed college graduates from 2006 through 2011 to “understand how recent college graduates are faring in the workforce, specifically looking at those individuals who graduated before and during the difficult labor market caused by the Great Recession.” The study showed that among those surveyed, one in two college graduates were employed full time and another 26 percent were working part time. One in five were attending graduate or professional school. Twelve percent were either unemployed or underemployed (working part time and seeking full-time employment).