Nearly half of college graduates are working as sales clerks, waiters, janitors, and other jobs that do not require a college degree, according to a new study from the Center for College Affordability and Productivity. In a recent interview with National Public Radio, Dr. Richard Vedder, co-author of the study, said people who go to college expect to graduate and live a comfortable lifestyle with jobs in their fields of study. The results showed otherwise. “A lot of them are getting jobs upon graduation as bartenders, taxi drivers – a million of them are retail sales clerks, 115,000 of them are janitors,” Vedder said. “They’re getting jobs that I’m fairly certain are less than what they expected when they began the college experience.”
Taylor Atkins with his father, Michael, mother, Monica, and brother, Cory, on the USI campus after graduation in April.
University of Southern Indiana Romain College of Business graduate Taylor Atkins ’13 got exactly what he expected upon graduating in May. Atkins graduated magna cum laude with an accounting degree, and recently accepted a position with Harding, Shymanski & Company, an accounting firm in Evansville. Atkins was offered the position with Harding, Shymanski & Company after completing two internships with the company. He completed an internship over the summer of 2012 as well as a tax season internship this past spring.
“My internships presented me the opportunity to apply my college education, and I quickly found out that my university did an excellent job of exposing me to the accounting concepts that I would be utilizing,” Atkins said. “I am grateful for all of the opportunities USI presented me, several of which are a direct result of gifts to the Annual Fund."
Atkins directly attributes his success to his involvement with campus organizations. Through his involvement in organizations and clubs, he was able to network with area professionals and build his rapport within the community. During his time at USI, Atkins was actively involved in Toastmaster’s International Speaking Eagles Club, Beta Alpha Psi, Accounting Club, Beta Gamma Sigma, and the Institute of Management Accountants Evansville Club. He was a member of the Indiana CPA Society Case Study Competition in fall 2011, and also participated in the IMA Student Case Competition this past spring, where his team was selected as one of the final four teams. Atkins and his teammates will travel to New Orleans in June to give their presentation at the IMA Annual Conference.
It is Atkins’s rigorous extracurricular agenda and internships that gave him the upper hand. In the increasingly competitive job market, it is no longer good enough to have top grades, glowing professor recommendations, and impressive classroom work. Instead, job applicants are expected to have real experience in their field of study – experience gained through internships and involvement in extracurricular school and community activities. Involvement in these activities not only shows potential employers students’ professional drive and dedication, but allows them the chance to build professional networks that will assist them throughout their careers.
Gifts to the Annual Fund allowed Atkins the valuable opportunity to travel to conferences as an undergraduate where he not only had the opportunity to present research and ideas, but was able to network with other young professionals.
“I truly believe it was my involvement as an undergraduate that helped me obtain my position at Harding, Shymanski & Company, and I have donors to the Annual Fund to thank,” Atkins said. “Gifts to the Annual Fund helped shape my future, and those gifts will continue to benefit students like me.”