Daily Dupaco

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Job market for college grads gaining momentum

By Emily Kittle

A new online initiative is trying to attract a specific crowd: soon-to-be college grads.

Launched in September, MyTernNow aims to help college students everywhere "find employment in a place you'll love to live"--eastern Iowa. The site is managed by Priority One, the economic development arm of the Cedar Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce.

"Because we've seen such a shift in the importance of that demographic for our employers, we launched a whole new initiative," says Kari Lammer, director of workforce initiatives at Priority One. "It is where we see our future going."

Priority One might be on to something. Nationally, employers say they will hire 19.3 percent more new college graduates this year than they did last year, according to a new survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

"This is the first time since 2007 that we've seen a double-digit increase in spring hiring projections," Marilyn Mackes, NACE executive director, says in a press release.

Locally, Lammer says employers are turning to college grads to prepare them for leadership positions that will be vacated through retirements. MyTernNow posts everything from job and internship openings to links that give students a better picture of what it's like to live in Iowa.

Once college grads land their first job, Priority One helps them get connected to their community through a spinoff initiative, MyLifeNow. Young professionals and college interns are invited to weekly events like bowling, volleyball and barbecues.

"We want them to have a great experience at the company but also help them find things to do in their community," Lammer says.

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