It is not news that the job market is pretty rough right now. But that reality is hitting new graduates especially hard, particularly those who took on student loans to pay for college. New Channel 3 takes a closer look in Wednesday's Troubleshooters Report. "I had put out at least 30 resumes online, a month before graduation, and I never heard back from one," said former Cape Fear Community College student, Terri Barbee. Terri was looking for a way to find a better paying job, and went back to school at Cape Fear Community College to take office administration courses. There were more than 20 people in her class, but she said she only knows of one classmate who found a solid job when they graduated. "We were all real disappointed. You go back to make yourself more marketable, in high hopes of getting a decent job, so you won't have to live paycheck to paycheck, only to find that the economy is so bad, that there's nothing out there," Barbee said. Terri had a scholarship that paid for her classes, but some of her fellow classmates were not so lucky, and now have thousands of dollars in student loan debt to juggle during their job search. It is a common problem for students graduating all over the country right now, but there is good news. Lead instructor for CFCC Machining Technology, Randy Johnson said, "I talked to a local company just yesterday, and he was telling me they were working 48 hours a week, and were looking for new employees." Randy Johnson teaches machining technology at Cape Fear. Some of his students managed to find jobs before they even graduated, and he said there are plenty of opportunities for future grads. "I don't think they're going to have any trouble finding employment. They may have to go somewhere else besides southeastern North Carolina. Nationwide, there is still a large demand for manufacturing type people." The best advice that New Channel 3 can pass along from college faculty, is to do the research on which industries are hiring, before you commit to a particular line of course work. Industries that provide life's necessities, like healthcare, are continuing to hire. Students graduating with nursing degrees, or medical office skills, will likely get hired. But other fields, like interior design and finance are struggling in this economy. Terri is grateful that she was able to find a job in retail at a local department store, and she is hopeful that when the economy does turn around, the classes she took at CFCC will help her land the job she went to school for. A survey taken at CFCC last spring found that within one year of graduation 96 percent of graduates had found employment, perhaps not in their chosen field but they were working or were back in school, continuing their education. The next survey will not be conducted until this spring, and will likely reflect the upswing in unemployment everywhere. By that time, one can hope the economy will start to pick up, and more companies will be hiring.
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