Columbus college graduates leave classrooms for careers - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Columbus college graduates leave classrooms for careers

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

While many in the Valley and in the state are struggling to find jobs, one local college says many of their graduates are walking straight from the classroom into careers.

On Monday, Columbus Technical College celebrated the largest commencement to date. 

Almost 600 students have qualified to graduate from Columbus Technical College from summer and fall semesters.  Nearly 400 of those students marched into their future at the school's largest commencement to date.

William Foster, a new graduate, is moving to a new position as an electrician.  He is grateful that he has a job while the unemployment rates in Georgia and Alabama seems to linger around about 10%.

"I've got friends of mine with kids who are unfortunately out of a job due to some lay-offs, but hopefully, the economy's going to turn back around and start picking back up," said Foster.

The Technical College System of Georgia says Columbus Technical College placed 96% of its graduates in jobs during fiscal year 2011.  The school says about 90% of graduates find jobs within 50 miles of Columbus.

"We train and educate students for a specific workforce placement.  In other words, they come to us looking for carpentry, cabinet making, and that's what their degrees and diplomas are in," said Linn Storey, Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Storey explains there is a high demand for healthcare and business degrees.  She also says the job rate includes the graduates who choose to continue their education and those joining the military.

Storey adds many of their students are older and looking for careers with specific skills. 

Joy Wallace McDuffie, left previous business career to head back to school.  After years of work, she receives a diploma and a new career as a registered nurse at a hospital in Atlanta.

"I feel very secure.  I feel very anchored.  The fear of graduating and not having anything to look forward to or anticipating, ‘Will I get hired?  I'm a just a new grad.' I don't have that."

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