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State's job market remains optimistic for many graduates

By Susan Simpson Published: May 11, 2008
For Oklahoma State University landscape architecture graduate Jessica Waugh, the job search was more of a job sort.

Before Waugh even walked across the commencement stage May 3, she'd had four employment offers, including two from out-of-state companies. She picked a Tulsa firm and will start work next week.

Southern Nazarene University physical education graduate Clay Schubert is still looking for his first teaching job. Many districts are hiring fewer teachers this year because of tight budgets and low turnover.

"I really want to teach, but it's not looking good,” he said.

Hiring managers and college career specialists say the job market is still ripe for most Oklahoma graduates, especially those with degrees in architecture, engineering, accounting and healthcare.

They say growth in the oil and gas industries has helped shield Oklahoma from job worries faced by many other states.

"In Oklahoma, we are not seeing any slowdown at all,” said Meg Salyer, who owns Excel Financial Staffing, a job placement firm in Oklahoma City. "The energy sector is gobbling up loads of folks.”

OSU career services director Pam Elhers said that in recent years, demand for workers has outpaced supply. This year, it may be evening out, but she's had few students complaining they can't find work.

"Those who want jobs can find jobs,” she said. "The employers that have come (to OSU) late looking for employees aren't finding anyone left.”

But at least one sector, education, is starting to see a hiring slowdown, said Beth Adele Waddelow, career services director at the University of Central Oklahoma.

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Oklahoma State University graduate Jessica Waugh fielded several job offers as a landscape architect. Hiring managers say the job market hasn't slowed down for most Oklahoma grads. By MATT STRASEN, THE OKLAHOMAN

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