Job-placement rates sound good here

Lucy Li, Features Editor

One of the components that students and parents look at during college selection is the school’s job placement rate after graduation.

According to Real World Career Services Director Sherri Rae, Pitt-Johnstown had an overall  96 percent placement rate of graduated students last year.

Rae said that she doesn’t have a specific breakdown of the placement number in each division, and she would have to do some math to provide specific numbers.

Nursing and Health Sciences Division Chairwoman Janet Grady and Engineering and Computer Science Division Chairman Jerry Samples had statistics for their divisions.

Grady said the Nursing and Health Science Division has an almost perfect job placement rate.

“We’re very proud of the placement rate in the Nursing and Health Sciences Division. It’s typically near 100 percent, which means that almost all students find employment in their major.

“Occasionally, students choose not to accept jobs immediately due to their personal reasons. For example, a student may be moving out of state or going to graduate school. 

“Some students may decide to pursue part-time work (for their own personal reasons), but this is the exception rather than the rule. Last year, all of the nursing students who wanted jobs found employment,” Grady said.

“Placement rate means the number of students who get jobs in their field upon graduation.

 “If all students get jobs, the placement rate is 100 percent. Of course, we depend on students telling us where they will be working, and they are not obligated to do so. In other words, our information depends on students self-reporting to us.

“We have had wonderful success at Pitt-Johnstown in placing students in jobs, or preparing them for graduate school, if that is their desire.

“It’s a combination of our excellent students, terrific faculty and staff, and high-quality programs that combine to get the job done,” she said.

Samples said that the Engineering and Computer Science Division has a placement rate of 95 percent or better.

“(The standard measurement method) is the number of graduates with jobs compared to the total number of graduates. If a student turns down jobs to stay in one place, I consider them employed. 

“We had one student turn down four jobs and then complain that they could not find work – they really wanted to stay in a specific zip code and we cannot help them if there are no engineering jobs in that location.”

Samples also said that students who found jobs unrelated to their area of study were not counted in the placement rate of their division, and students who went to graduate schools were counted as a job because most students get a stipend to attend.

Humanities Division Chairman Michael Stoneham and Natural Sciences Division Chairman Steven Stern both said that they did not have division records on job placement rates.

Raymond Wrabley, Social Sciences Divison Chair, and Education Division Interim Chairman Gerald Zahorchak did not respond to emails for comment.

When gathering student information for the job placement rate, Rae said that they send out surveys to graduating students.

“There are surveys out right now for students who are graduating in Decemeber. Students self-report and we continue to gather information through January.

“Questions are specific to whether (their jobs) are related to their area of study. The 96 percent job placement rate are students who work full-time in their areas of study or graduate school,” Rae said.

Since the information relied on students’ self-report, there is the question of reliability, but Rae said surveys always get 40 to 50 percent reponse from students.