Matching grads to jobs a big challenge

A college education is a major financial investment, but some college-bound students and their families are not doing the research necessary to ensure a maximum return.

When it comes to higher education in Texas, the focus has always been on increasing graduation rates, making sure students are college-ready and increasing access to a quality education.

There has never been much focus on the path those students should take once they embark on their higher education career, and for many years, things just seemed to work well. Dramatic economic changes eliminating jobs in the public and private sectors left many recent college graduates unable to find jobs in their chosen fields of study.

Up to half of all recent college graduates are jobless or underemployed in low-wage jobs that have nothing to do with their college degrees, the Express-News reported.

With an average debt load of about $25,000 in college loans, recent graduates are finding that their dream jobs are just not there.

That does not mean there are no jobs or that there are no well-paying jobs. It means students must do some homework and target their education to meet the needs of the marketplace.

Students need to do some career planning and research into the job market before selecting their majors, advises Patrick W. Newman of Workforce Solutions Alamo.

Beginning salaries for petroleum engineers are about $85,000, yet there were only 271 students graduating with degrees in petroleum engineering in 2010, the Express-News reported.

Newman and his staff have posted information online to help students make informed college career choices before they enroll. They have included information on the most sought after occupations, which degrees result in higher paying jobs and occupation growth projections for the region.

It can be accessed at

The education attainment level of the workforce will shape the economic future of Texas. It is not enough to just increase the number of college graduates in our state.

A better effort must be made to meet the employment needs of the companies choosing to do business in Texas.

Matching grads to jobs a big challenge – San Antonio Express-News.

Jimmy Kilpatrick, a national recognized professional special education advocate since 1994.

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