Advertised alumni job rate 4 years old

Nathan Bottiger, Managing Editor

Some people who look at Pitt-Johnstown Magazine may wonder whether a 94 percent job-placement statistic on page 4 is true.

The magazine claims, in fine-print, the statistic is based on a post-graduation survey.

“Our efforts to focus on job and/or graduate school placement has enabled us to achieve a placement rate of 94 percent,” the magazine says.

What the magazine does not tell you is that the statistic is based on a survey of the 2009. Bob Knipple said 78 percent of 2009 graduates returned a post-graduation survey.

The survey does not pertain to only graduates who have received jobs related to their careers, but shows a more generalized placement rate.

According to Knipple, a graduate must be in military service, attending graduate school or working a job that provides at or above livable wages to be counted positively as a placement.

He said he could not be sure whether it is an accurate assessment to date because he has not seen any of the data from the last few years, but he said he feels the statistic reflects their efforts.

“We’ve doubled our efforts in job placement.”

Knipple said the Career Services office has been nationally recognized for their “100 for 100” post-graduation program.

The program promises that, for the first 100 days after graduation, staff members are to devote 100 percent of their time helping recent graduates get jobs.

Knipple said the staff makes an effort to be involved with each graduate, making sure they have helped everyone.

“If we haven’t heard from a student, we track him or her down and start a conversation about what we can do to help,” he said.

Knipple said Career Services staff also has a “Have you hired a Pitt-Johnstown graduate?” campaign, where contact employers, explaining the value of Pitt-Johnstown graduates.

He said their main selling point is that Pitt-Johnstown students have already been prepared with real world experience. They also receive feedback from employers who have hired graduates.

“Dr. (Jem) Spectar and his leadership team are always examining and assessing the efforts that we employ to get students ready for the real world… and making sure that we are keeping our promise to students,” he said.

Pitt-Johnstown graduate Bill Kashin was graduated in 2012 with an electrical-engineering technology bachelor’s degree. He now works for ANH Refractories in its Windham, Ohio, manufacturing plant.

Kashin said his official job title is plant engineer.

Kashin said he cannot speak for all majors, but he agrees with the statistic when it comes to engineers.

“All our grads for (electrical-engineering technology) had jobs except for one, and I think he has one now,” he said. “So, I think it’s pretty good.”

Environmental studies graduate Mike Jenkins said he feels the placement program favors engineering and business majors– that those who were graduated with a degree in liberal arts are having a harder time.

Jenkins said he believes this because he has friends with liberal arts degrees who do not have jobs yet.

Jenkins said he was upset that his University of Pittsburgh email services were canceled. He said his account was canceled this month, so he can no longer use it to be linked to the university community.

“If you use it for anything important, change it,” he said.

As for himself, Jenkins said he doesn’t feel like Pitt-Johnstown has gone out of the way to help, but he also has not been giving his best effort in his job search.

“I don’t feel that I have been placed or handed a job, but I also have been slacking and haven’t asked for assistance from UPJ in acquiring a job,” he said.

Knipple said university staff extend their efforts to any alumnus, helping them with a full job search or if they just need to be critiqued on how to improve their own searches.

“Our relationship with our students doesn’t end when we hand their diploma to them,” he said. “Any graduate of Pitt-Johnstown is able to use the services offered by Real World Career Services…regardless of when he or she graduated.”