In face of discouraging statistics, recent graduates flock to career fair

    The great recession has hit young people in the labor market particularly hard. New numbers show recent grads still are looking for a light at the end of a long, long tunnel. It took an hour’s drive from Philadelphia in heavy traffic and navigating a maze of campus construction, but hundreds of students showed up for a Campus Philly career fair at Villanova University.

    “I’ve read about all the companies, but I’d like to have a personal interaction with them,” says Sophie Tran, a 2012 graduate of Philadelphia University. Drexel University’s Center for Labor Markets and Policy reports that conditions for young college grads such as Tran have not improved much during the economic recovery.

    An update to a 2011 study found even fewer young grads in the workforce, and more in lower-paying jobs that don’t use their education. The Campus Philly event at Villanova was intended to connect young graduates with opportunities that would keep them in the Philadelphia region.

    Haley Post, a public health student at Franklin and Marshall College, says that strategy could work. She says a job could convince her where to locate after graduation. “Probably,” says Post. “It’s hard to turn anything down right now. It’s so hard to get any work, even if you’re an adult, so as kids I think it’s pretty incentivizing to get any kind of work.”

    At least at Campus Philly’s annual career. organization president Deborah Diamond thinks she sees a bright spot. “This was our easiest year to recruit employers to the fair,” she said. “We’re seeing more employers with multiple job openings.” Even if Diamond can’t turn the employment situation around for young people, the national jobs crunch at least gives Philly a fighting chance to attract the best and brightest.

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