Record number of graduates at UH Manoa: Are there enough jobs?

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After years of long nights, exams, and even tears, their moment is finally here.

“This is the biggest number of graduates we’ve ever had in our history. It’s really inspiring. It’s amazing the way the graduates are almost overflowing Stan Sheriff Center,” said Robert Bley-Vroman, UH Manoa Chancellor.

According to the state’s Department of Labor, the unemployment rate for March was at 4.1 percent — the same rate as January and February.

“The unemployment rate is not bad. So the job prospects for these graduates is actually pretty good. We’re pleased,” said Chancellor Bley-Vroman.

Chancellor Bley-Vroman says students are actually getting in and out faster. In fact, according to UH, over the last four years, the four-year graduation rate has increased from 17.6 percent to 24.7 percent.

“Increasingly, without a college degree, there’s serious limits on where you can go. But with a college degree, the opportunities are very good in Hawaii,” said Chancellor Bley-Vroman.

Some graduates told KHON2 they have jobs already lined up. While others say, they’re still looking.

“I interned over the summer. And throughout the semester, I was working part-time And they’re gonna keep me on as full-time,” said Travin Nagasawa, who graduated with a degree in graphic design.

Eurielle Blair got her bachelor’s degree in nursing. She says her job market is competitive and the positions are limited.

“So because we’re just fresh out, we don’t have experience as a nurse. We have experience from nursing school, but we don’t have experience as a registered nurse in the field. So once we get that, hopefully the job market will open up a little bit,” said Blair.

Other graduates, like Joseph Joyce, are looking to continue their education. But in the meantime, he’s still looking for work.

“It’s pretty tough. But there are job opportunities in hospitals or rehab centers. You just have to look for them and look what you qualify for. But there definitely are some,” said Joyce, who graduated with a degree in biology.

For graduates who are looking for a job, the WorkForce Job Fair is scheduled for Wednesday, May 20 at the Neal Blasidell Exhibition Hall. For more information, click here.

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