College graduates entering tough job market

By Michael Handy - bio | email

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - It is the season for college graduations which means thousands of more people are looking for work, and Johnson C. Smith University added about 200 students to that category Sunday.

3 out of the 5 graduates we talked to had already found a job.  It is certainly a surprise when you consider the current state of the economy, but make no mistake, it was not an easy assignment.

"It took six months," said Laurie Kemp.

Ask anyone there, and you would get almost the exact same answer.

"You just got to be diligent, finding a job is a job, so I just keep working at it," said Timothy Cokley.

Angel McKnight said, "With the current job market and the hiring freeze, it's kind of tough, but you just have to keep looking and keep trying, keep those contacts open."

The two things we kept hearing over and over were number one -- the importance of networking -- and number two -- the importance of internships.

"It really depends on what your degrees in and your work experience, have you had an internship or not," said Cory Warren.

Warren is walking proof that in this economy, internships are the key to success.

"I signed a contract to work with Vanguard back in September," said Warren.  I started off as an intern there and they offered me a position."

Warren knows he is extremely fortunate, and Cokley hopes to have the same kind of luck.

"I plan to work at the school in the print shop to build up my skills a little bit, and try to move up to the Bobcats, Panthers, do some graphics for them," said Cokley.

Employers are expected to hire 22% fewer college grads this year as compared to last year which shows the important of internships.

Johnson C. Smith University is the first of dozens of local colleges with graduations happening all throughout the month of May, so the job market is expected to get even tougher as more and more graduates enter the workforce.