A recent publication from Chinese online news company SINA writes about Executive Director Jeff Kobayashi’s story of how OnLife has played a positive role in a downward economy. OnLife is honored to be featured internationally and hopes to continually spread throughout other large publications, not only domestically but internationally as well. Here is a translation from the article:
By Lu Yao, Sina
April 15, 2010 5:11pm
Los Angeles, California
While economists and scholars widely believe that the U.S. economy is recovering, the job market situation remains grim. New graduates in the upcoming months will likely continue to suffer from challenges in landing a job so they need to be thinking outside the box in order to creatively gain experience, and seems to be crucial to overcome obstacles in job search.
Entry-Level Employment for New Graduates in 2010 is Bleak
2009 has proven to be one of the most difficult years for new graduate employment – the projected available positions dropped by 40 percent. Although the situation has improved slightly, employment rates are still lagging behind the economic rebound momentum; combined with California itself being one of the deepest in unemployment rates, for college and graduate students graduating this May, job prospects for 2010 remain uncertain.
According to a survey conducted by Michigan State University, the job market for new graduates hit an all-time low particularly in 2009. The situation in 2010 does not seem to have significant improvements compared to 2009; recruitment for entry-level positions continues to shrink.
Statistics, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, show that the employment for new graduates in 2010 is still conservative, and the hiring of new graduates dropped by 7% compared to 2009. Although some industries are picking up in hiring, more business owners are still reducing the hiring of new graduates.
Difficult Job Market for New Graduates
Although the National Association of Colleges and Employers pointed out that the 2010 graduates face a harsh job market, the nation’s employment index has been on a continuous rise, which means that the worst is over. Employment rate is on the recovery, including the hiring of new graduates.
However, beginning in 2008, the slow job market resulted in the job loss and unemployment of many individuals, which was also a grim situation for graduate students who were struggling to find a way out. Many of those new graduates took a long time to find a formal job.
Students who studied science and the arts have very opposite situations. For example, industries such as agriculture, food processing, engineering, and computer sciences maintain a relatively stable recruitment and wage. Meanwhile, many liberal arts students are still struggling to find work or are in positions where they are not applying their degrees.
Maxwell, who graduated from San Diego State University a year ago with a Degree in Anthropology, became a victim of the employment downturn. Due to the lack of available positions in his industry, he was forced to return home to Kern County where he remains unemployed. On the same token, Chad, who was a Master of Communication graduate from Orange County, CA, returned to a high school in Southern California to be a part-time water polo coach. He is working part-time while applying for a proper full-time position.
A Different Approach to Gain Experience
For graduates facing difficulties in job search, instead of being selective, it seems much wiser to have a part-time earning position or a non-paid internship. Many graduates have also chosen the path of their own ideal and established new organizations to pursue their own passion.
Japanese student Jeff Kobayashi graduated in 2008 with a Master’s Degree in Communications. Faced with the same pressure to find work, Kobayashi received tremendous amount of support from his mentors and friends to build a non-profit organization called “OnLife Prevention.” The organization aims to promote youth mental health and suicide prevention education in the San Diego area.
Kobayashi used $2,000 of his own money to register the organization. From volunteer recruitment, fund raisers to organizing community activities, he has played multiple roles to ensure everything gets done. He is learning about various management methods while building experiences. Kobayashi said, looking at the organization grow day-by-day, even not for profit, has been extremely rewarding. For him, the social and spiritual satisfactions are much larger than the organization itself. Over the past year, he not only gained hands-on experience, he also found an ideal full-time job for himself. He has successfully turned the downturn in employment into the perfect opportunity. Jeff has also noted that the employment situation has an impact on each graduate and that self-pity can only undermine confidence. People should recognize that nothing is a waste of time; instead, explore their passion and believe in their abilities to lay the right foundation for the future.
USC employment centers are advising students to not underestimate non-paid internships. Even though these opportunities do not offer wages, it exposes students to work environments and experiences that one would otherwise not have gained. In more cases, it can also help students figure out their interests and find their own paths.