Florida Governor Rick Scott is urging Florida University to increase job placement rates among graduates, as part of his new “Ready, Set, Work” challenge.
One major goal is to encourage students to pursue majors with high earning potentials. In his recent appeal, Governor Scott, cited that the employment rate for students remains just around 60 percent.
“The problem is that although colleges do have programs geared at finding jobs for students, too many students are pursuing courses where there are relatively few job vacancies,” says Broward County career specialist, Sadie Francis. “Colleges should be more involved in directed students to pursue courses that leads to realistic employment opportunities.”
Students however, says former college guidance counsellor Dannielle Finson said, seem to be motivated towards courses that “leads to an easier graduation path,” rather than focusing on immediate job prospected related their chosen degree.
One antidote to this, says Finson, is to increase internship programs exposing students to practical work experience with employers in their chosen field of study.
“These internships are proving to help graduates more easily, as interns get practical work experience,” says Finson.
This was certainly the case for FIU graduate Mikhail Robbins, who had entered the college to pursue a medical degree, “but couldn’t cope with subjects like chemistry. I switched to psychology which was much more attainable, and interned for six months at a law firm. Now I am employed at the firm, and with its help is going to pursue a law degree.”
Florida’s most popular major is psychology, with nursing, business, mass communication, English, and criminology following behind. But, “with the exception of nursing, the state simply doesn’t have enough jobs in these areas, especially in urban markets in South and Central Florida, to place graduates in these courses in jobs,’ says Francis.
However, many college educators like Professor Orlando Zimbab reject the employment focus of higher education. Instead, the purpose of a university or college is “to provide a student with a rounded education that will adequately equip that student during his adult life,” says Zimbab. “Granted, this education should enhance a graduate’s job potential, but it can’t be the responsibility of the college or university to lead that graduate to a job.”