Thousands of students graduated from all 3 state universities Saturday.
For many, their next steps will be into an uncertain job market as they work to pay off thousands in student debt.
At Iowa State University 1700 students took their seats at Hilton Coliseum eager to move on to the next chapter of their lives.
“It’s going to be nice to be done with school”
“I’m done. Finally, no more lab experiments!”
But where that next chapter begins is still unclear for many graduates.
“I hear that the job market for teachers isn’t looking good.”
These sentiments reflect the most recent numbers that show a national unemployment rate of 7.7%. That’s 12-million Americans unemployed.
“It’s flooded with college graduates and not a lot of jobs right now.”
For those planning on staying in the state, that number is lower.
In Iowa, the unemployment rate is 5.1% and companies are reporting an excess number of jobs in high skilled fields with not enough qualified candidates to work them.
That’s good news for students like Luke Swanson.
He just received his degree in mechanical engineering and has high hopes for his job search.
“I have second rounds of interviews lined up for this month and January. I’m not too worried.”
For students not entering the world of science and technology, the job hunt isn’t quite as promising.
For all young workers ages 18-29, unemployment jumps up 10.9 percent.
It could make finding a job more difficult for students like Anna Sanyk, but she says she has a back-up plan.
“It makes me think I should go get a master’s degree. We’ll see. Let’s hope some jobs open up for teachers.
Graduates say they’re also concerned about debt. In 2010 the average debt for Iowa State graduates was about 30,000 dollars.
In Cedar Falls, about 600 students took part in commencement exercises at the McLeod Center while in Iowa City, 1500 graduates took the stage over the last two days for ceremonies at the University of Iowa.