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ISSUE 117 VOL 16 PUBLISHED 4/23/2004

Help Wanted

By Executive Editors
Executive Editor

Friday, April 23, 2004

Six to twelve months after all of us leave St. Olaf, the Office of Institutional Research and Planning and the CEL are going to ask us what were doing with our lives. The stats arent ready with the class of 2003 stats yet, but the class of 2002 looked like this:

 27 percent were continuing their education

 7.2 percent were volunteering

 65.7 percent were working

Of the graduates classified as working, 12.8 were working part time and 19.9 percent were actually unemployed. But even so, the overall stats look pretty encouraging.

But the members of the class of 2004 are looking for jobs. Theyve been to the CEL, theyve looked on OleRecruiting, they went to the job fairs and they read the weekly job posting emails.

Despite the class being composed of proactive students, though, many of whom have sent CEL-approved resumes to dozens of hiring employers, the job offers have not flowed in. Or even trickled in. Or dripped in.

Of course, some of the frustration with the job-seeking process is due only to the natural panic that sets in about this time of year, the pressure that seniors put upon themselves as the world tells them (and they tell themselves) that they MUST have a job lined up before they graduate. There ARE jobs out there. There must be.

But some of the frustration cannot be put upon the students alone. When we visited St. Olaf as high school seniors, we were told that the CEL would help us find jobs. That is true for some people. Many people are going into alternative programs like Lutheran Volunteer Corps or the Peace Corps. There seems to be a large amount of opportunities for employment within the Lutheran Church or the financial and marketing fields. The CEL seems to have a handle on Target Corporation and Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. And its true  the majority of the students who seek the help of the CEL are looking for jobs in Minnesota

But what about the rest of us? What about, for example, publishing jobs in San Francisco? Walk into the CEL and we get peer counselors and career counselors who are very nice and exude positive energy, but all we get past that is a generalized book on jobs in the San Fran and a suggestion of a career website that weve already decimated.

It seems like if we want a job outside of Minnesota or outside of summer Bible camp, were out of luck.

Now, of course, this is an exaggeration. Now, of course, we are panicky, because we were under the impression that we would have a job upon leaving St. Olaf, and that the CEL would be the place to go to find that job. Now, of course, we are pushing aside the fact that the job market is currently very competitive (although, coming out of St. Olaf, arent we supposed to be able to compete?). And, of course, we are ignoring such job prospects as Starbucks and J.Crew, even though the former offers health insurance and the latter requires three references that they DO check.

Nevertheless, we are getting a little panicky. And when we go into the CEL, we dont find a lot of help. Or when we look up Political Organization/Lobbying jobs on OleRecruiting, we get (yes, among appropriate hits) job opportunities like Caseworker and Systems Analyst. Or when we look more closely at the statistics for the class of 2002, we find that only 50.1 percent of the class responded to the survey.

Were getting panicky, we know, but were sure that the students in the non-reporting 49.9 percent havent sent their surveys back because they cant afford a stamp.

The CEL is a good option for students who want to stay in Minnesota and work for the Lutheran Church. But it needs to be more proactive in finding job opportunities for students who want something different. We are getting a competitive education here, but we need help finding the playing field.

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