LSU graduates prepare for May 9 ceremonies, and then for an uncertain job market
BATON ROUGE - Two years ago, the average college student didn't associate campus life with masks, social distancing, and lengthy periods of isolation.
But in the era of COVID-19, university students who were already inundated with heavy loads of course work faced the added struggle of remaining focused on their studies during a pandemic.
Despite the odds, a number of Louisiana State University students adapted beautifully and now look forward to celebrating their achievement by participating in LSU's Friday, May 7 commencement ceremonies, which begin at 9 a.m.
Throughout a day that marks an exciting new chapter in the lives of these graduates, no doubt there will be much well-deserved congratulations and celebration- along with masks and social distancing, of course.
However, just as most new chapters introduce a brand new set of adventures, LSU's new graduates will soon face a series of new challenges. At the forefront of these hurdles is an ever-shifting job market.
Throughout the pandemic, U.S. workers have found themselves navigating layoffs, furloughs, hiring freezes, and rescinded offers.
The drastic changes have forced some businesses, large and small, to close shop.
Though the novel coronavirus health crisis triggered economic woes that led to an uncertain job market throughout 2020, at the start of 2021, COVID-fighting vaccines were introduced to the public and some feel this may lead to a positive shift in certain aspects of the job market.
For example, as capacity restrictions loosen throughout Louisiana, many employers are eager to replenish their staff.
So, jobs are available.
But these positions may not be what recent university graduates had in mind for themselves.
A number of industries with coveted positions are not quite back on track, and new hires aren't necessarily at the top of their list of priorities.
This is why LSU's Career Center is offering students a LinkedIn-Meets-Facebook sort of system called 'Handshake.'
Handshake aims to connect employers with entry-level employees, giving new graduates the opportunity to get their foot in the door in an industry that needs hard-working employees.
Recent graduates who have the chance to obtain employment with reputable companies are being encouraged to take such opportunities with gratitude, even if the job isn't their top choice.
This advice comes from Career Coaches and Recruiters like Carrie Lewis of Robert Half Staffing Agencies and Recruiters.
During a recent interview with WBRZ, Lewis encouraged recent graduates to continue to be open-minded when it comes to accepting job offers.
She said, "And I do believe that they're open-minded. Maybe they had this perfect dream about exactly what their career was going to look like. This is the time that you maybe want to listen more to what opportunities are out there, and maybe adjust that dream for right now, just to get your career rolling."
According to the Associated Press, as of Friday, America’s employers added 266,000 jobs in April, a number which is significantly lower than it was in March and a sign that some businesses are struggling to find enough workers as the economic recovery strengthens.
Job concerns aside, Friday will be a day of celebration for LSU's new graduates.
The university originally had a ticket system in place for graduates' friends and family members who would be attending the ceremony, but LSU nixed this arrangement.
Now, each graduate is allowed a maximum of seven guests.
In addition to the new cap on guests, LSU says that all participants of indoor graduation ceremonies are required to wear a mask.
Click here for more information on the university's Spring Commencement ceremonies.
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