USC graduates concerned with sluggish job market

By Tim Pulliam - email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A new batch of graduates are entering the real world.

Monday was commencement exercises for the fall class at the University of South Carolina. 2,500 students earned their degrees, and while graduation is a joyous time, for those without a job, it can also be scary.

As the newest class of 2010 turn their tassels, some march with uncertainty, like Shalon Genwright. "Oh my gosh. I'm out in the job market," says Genwright, "What am I going to do now?"

She's just one of many graduates entering into a weak job market. Nearly 11% of South Carolinian's are still out of work. "It's kind of difficult now to know where to go right now," says Genwright.

"I'm just ready to get out there and start helping people with my skills," claims graduate Kathryn Williams.

The state's Department of Employment and Workforce Center expects to see graduates looking for help. "Everybody has this misconception that this is the unemployment office," says case manager Carrie Powell, "It's not the unemployment office. It's the employment office, and we want to be seen that way."

The office assists in matching people with jobs ranging from healthcare to engineering. "They can expect a little bit of everything," Powell explains, "Anything from helping someone with their resume, we can also help them with their job searches and job referrals, meaning we can go to our system. The SC One Stop website, go through jobs that match their skills and actually give them a referral and help them fill out the paper work and send it to the employer."

Since June, they have referred more than 5,000 people to about 1,200 hundred jobs. Many of them were hired.

Case managers at the workforce center say they can provide that extra push some jobless people need, even those entering in to the market for the first time. "I'm hoping to find something before the new year rolls in," says Genwright.

Economists at USC expect the job growth will be slow next year, only moving up 1%.

Copyright 2010 WIS. All rights reserved.