As the U.S. economic recovery continues its struggle to gain traction, companies across the nation are eager to hire new college graduates who can replenish their aging talent pool in specific areas. With a record graduating class next month, Missouri University of Science and Technology is helping fill the growing demand for technologically savvy individuals in areas that are most poised for growth: business, computer science, and electrical, computer and mechanical engineering.
Missouri S&T will award more than one-third of its approximately 730 bachelor’s degrees next month in these areas. More than half of the employers participating in a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) identified these five fields as their main hiring focus.
Brian Phagan of New Baden, Ill., is one of the more than 40 Missouri S&T students expected to earn a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering. Phagan has accepted a software development engineer position with Microsoft Corp., where he’ll be part of a team responsible for the Windows Phone Marketplace.
“The education at Missouri S&T is unrivaled in the Midwest,” Phagan says. “The combination of excellent academics and an abundance of available scholarships made it an easy decision for me to begin my education here four years ago.”
Like many Missouri S&T students, Phagan credits his internship experience with helping him stand out to potential employers.
“I obtained both of my internships through the Missouri S&T Career Fair, which is held each semester,” he says. “Without the experiences I gained from these internships, I would not have been hired at Microsoft.” Missouri S&T’s career opportunities and employer relations department hosts two career fairs annually on campus.
More than 700 employers recruit at Missouri S&T each year, according to Dr. Edna Grover-Bisker, director of the career opportunities and employer relations department.
“Employers tell us that co-op provides an opportunity for them to complete significant projects that might otherwise go unfinished efficiently, while giving both the employers and students the benefits of an extended interview to gauge professional fit,” Grover-Bisker says. “Additionally, Missouri S&T co-op students also are one-and-a-half times more likely to obtain a position in their field at graduation and enjoy 7 percent higher starting salaries over their less experienced peers.” That 7 percent translates into about $5,000 a year, Grover-Bisker adds.
As one of the nation’s top technological universities, Missouri S&T is committed to preparing its students to tackle the local challenges and global opportunities they’ll face in their careers, says Dr. Cheryl B. Schrader, Missouri S&T chancellor.
“We recognize that a workforce of technologically savvy and innovative leaders is key for our nation’s economic recovery,” Schrader says. “It’s our commitment as a land-grant institution to ensure we are producing highly qualified graduates to fill the technological talent gap facing industries across the United States and around the world.”