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So This is What Students are Learning in College

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Chantal Stepney is a senior at the University of Georgia. An article she wrote appeared in the November 16, 2004, issue of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She takes issue with anti-Bush types on campus who want to flee America for a better life in Canada where they can get "free health care." Some of her friends thought that finding a piece of land in Namibia to start a family in Africa might be a good choice. Fiji sounded nice since Bush could not bother them there.



To her credit, Chantal dissuaded her leftist associates from running away from what they perceive to be a problem. But instead of leaving well enough alone, Chantal descends into a vacuous, misinformed, and naive diatribe about conditions in America, all the fault of "four more tortuous years of less money and more problems."

Because of Bush, she writes, we can say "Good-bye to our hopes of finding jobs after graduation." I guess she’ll have better luck in Fiji or Namibia where 50% of the population is below the poverty line and 35% of the population is unemployed. Keep in mind that the unemployment rate is around 5.4% in America. If you want electricity in Namibia, you’ll have to get it from South Africa. Most of the roads are unpaved. Fiji’s better, but not by much.

There’s always Canada where health care is "free." Like manna in the wilderness, prescription drugs appear on bushes and trees every morning in Canada. All you have to do is get up early enough with your basket and pick what you need. Free indeed!

If Chantal and her friends can’t get jobs after they graduate, don’t blame Bush. The latest news is that job prospects for graduating seniors is looking very good, unless, of course, you majored in "women’s studies" or some other feel-good but unemployable major.

According to an AP story that appeared the day before Chantal had her article published, things are looking up for college graduates. Here’s a summary of the article:

  • The recovering economy and looming retirement of the baby boomers are making this a very good year to be a college senior looking for a job after graduation.
  • Accountants are again finding increased demand for their services–thanks to the wave of post-Enron regulations that were implemented by the Bush administration, I might add.
  • Technology companies, investment banks and consulting firms appear to be picking up the pace, as do some defense contractors and even smaller businesses that haven’t traditionally recruited on campus.
  • "I haven’t been to school in the last three weeks because of my interview schedule," said Eric Golden, a senior at Bentley College, a business-oriented school in the Boston suburb of Waltham. He feels lucky to be graduating this year. Golden says he’s been juggling about a dozen interviews with companies including money managers, investment banks, and General Electric.
  • College hiring is expected to increase 13 percent over last year, according to a new survey from National Association of Colleges and Employers.
  • Seven out of 10 employers said they expected to increase salary offers to new college grads, according to the survey released late last week, with an average increase of 3.7 percent.
  • Four in five employers called the job market for new grads good, very good or excellent; last year fewer than two in five did.
  • Michigan State’s College Employment Research Institute will release a report Thursday that director Phil Gardner said will show overall campus hiring is up as much as 20 percent this year, depending on the region.
  • At California State University, Fullerton, the number of companies at a fall career fair was up about 40 percent from last year; at the University of Florida, the number of recruiting companies is up as much as 15 percent.
  • At the University of Notre Dame, interviews are up roughly 30 percent.
  • Don Brezinski, executive director of corporate relations at Bentley, said "we’re seeing companies that, instead of looking to hire one or two, have openings of a dozen. It’s when you have the big companies going really deep, then you know you’re hitting stride with employment recovery."
  • PriceWaterhouseCoopers plans to hire about 3,100 people off U.S. college campuses this year, up almost 19 percent from last year.
  • Ernst & Young, another big accounting firm, plans to increase hiring about 30 percent this year and bring on 4,000 new college grads.
  • Nursing skills are also in demand, and job hunters willing to move have a big advantage.
  • Computer science jobs are also returning after the tech slump.
  • Even liberal arts majors need not despair, said Wayne Wallace, director of the career resource center at the University of Florida. "’Any major’ is the No. 1 demand," he said. "We have plenty of employers that say if you are a college grad and want to … learn our business, we will take you from that point on."

So then, Chantal and her friends have a good four years ahead of them if they stop whining and get out there and apply for jobs. They need to quit with the idea that government is a womb-to-tomb provider.

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