UConn Graduates Landing Jobs Quickly After Graduation

Melissa Jacques, a 2010 graduate in engineering, found a job working with jet engines at Pratt & Whitney soon after graduating. (Peter Morenus/UConn File Photo)
Melissa Jacques, a 2010 graduate in engineering, found a job working with jet engines at Pratt & Whitney soon after graduating. New figures underscore the effectiveness of UConn's career services, which help prepare students for jobs throughout their time on campus. (Peter Morenus/UConn File Photo)

New figures show that four of every five UConn graduates are established in jobs within a few months of graduating or are continuing their education, a testament to the University’s work to prepare students for careers and other post-graduate opportunities.

UConn’s Center for Career Development recently found through post-graduate surveys and other reviews that 80 percent of undergraduates were employed or in higher education within four months of graduating. Smaller numbers were also participating in social service activities or serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Maryann Colburn, left, from the Internal Revenue Service, speaks with Falak Campbell '10 (CLAS), a psychology major, at the Careers for the Common Good Fair. (UConn File Photo)
Representatives from the Internal Revenue Service speak with an undergraduate at a Careers for the Common Good Fair. The Center for Career Development has greatly expanded its programs in the past several years to focus on students’ needs at all stages of their college career. (UConn File Photo)

The data, presented Thursday to the UConn Board of Trustees, underscores the University’s focus on preparing students to be job-ready with career counseling and other services throughout their time on campus.

Almost 80 percent of the recent alumni landing jobs in Connecticut were residents of the state before coming to UConn, and 30 percent of the graduates who came to UConn from other states also ended up staying in Connecticut for jobs.

President Susan Herbst cited the phrase, “Students Today, Huskies Forever” at Thursday’s meeting to describe UConn’s sentiment toward its students, saying faculty and staff work hard to ensure students’ success as undergraduates.

“Just as important to the students, and to us, is that they also find success after earning their UConn degree,” she said. “We want to ensure we are producing the kind of highly skilled, highly educated graduates not only to serve as Connecticut’s future workforce, but to be thoughtful citizens and community members – most of whom will continue to call Connecticut home.”

Many of the state’s most prominent employers are hiring UConn graduates, including United Technologies, Travelers, Cigna, General Dynamics/Electric Boat, The Hartford, Aetna, Deloitte, and several others.

“When we see very positive news about Connecticut companies like Pratt & Whitney and Sikorsky setting ambitious hiring goals in future years, we know that many of those new hires are going to be UConn graduates,” Herbst said.

James Lowe, director of UConn’s Center for Career Development, told trustees Thursday that the recent graduates’ jobs run the gamut, from positions such as auditor and engineer to teacher, registered nurse, account development manager, research associate, analyst, actuarial associate, and many more.

“UConn graduates are filling leadership development programs as well as highly technical engineering roles for employers across the globe,” Lowe said. “UConn has a worldwide reputation for providing high-quality talent ready to help organizations thrive in the local and world economies.”

The newly released figures are one of several indicators of success at the Center for Career Development, which has greatly expanded its reach and programs in the past several years to focus on students’ needs at all stages of their college career, not just as they’re about to enter the workforce.

For instance, more than half of graduates reported using services offered by the center, and two-thirds of those with positive career outcomes reported completing at least one internship before graduating.

Lowe said that in 2015-16, the center conducted about 400 career-related presentations, with almost 8,800 students attending; had almost 5,300 students participating in career fairs that drew more than 560 employers; and held almost 6,600 one-on-one career counseling sessions with students.

Potential employers also are seeing the value of partnering with UConn in search of talent: They held more than 1,600 on-campus interviews during the academic year, and posted more than 9,300 jobs through the center’s HuskyCareerLink site.

“Students are increasingly more aware that career development is a process, not just a transaction,” Lowe said. “They’re looking to us at every stage of their professional development journey, understanding that they’re building the academic blocks to succeed in today’s world economy.”

Programs at the Center for Career Development include regular events on topics ranging from internships to resume preparation, interviewing, networking, navigating career fairs, and many other areas.

In fact, more than 250 employers will be in attendance at career fairs on Oct. 5 and 6, the largest recruiting event of the year.

Students can take advantage of the services as early as their freshman year, helping set a foundation of skills on which they can build leading up to their search for internships and post-graduation employment.

The center has also been recognized by outside agencies for the quality and effectiveness of its programming. It recently was named the 2016 Member’s Choice Award winner by the National Association of Colleges and Employers for its program to help students create a personalized career-planning model. It is also the 2016 winner of the Eastern Association of Colleges and Employers’ Innovation in Diversity and Inclusion Award.