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Lehigh Grads Enter Workforce in Higher Numbers

After a year-long process of obtaining student destination information, Career Services has reported that 96% of students polled secured their first destination plans. Of the data collected, 69% of 2014 Lehigh graduates who earned bachelor's degrees directly entered the workforce–a 3% increase from the year before. Other destinations included graduate school, volunteering opportunities, or joining the military. Career Services impressively collected report data from a record number 91% of the 1,112 bachelor degree recipients, which translates to just over 1,000 undergraduates.

“Lehigh students continue to make the university proud by their work ethic, their ambitions, and the determination they show in obtaining their dreams,” said Lori Kennedy ’93G, director, Office of Career Services. “These impressive outcomes are also a testament to the quality education and experiences they receive at Lehigh. These students are highly sought after by recruiters.”

The Class of 2014 benefited on and off campus from increased opportunities provided by Kennedy and her team. These included 28% more full-time employment postings, 30% more companies interviewing on campus, and almost 200 more campus interviews conducted than the year before.

"Knowing that the economy was on the upswing and that employers would be hungry for talent, we increased our outreach efforts to employers,” said Rich Freed, associate director, Office of Career Services. “We identified and contacted companies that had declined to participate during the recession years knowing that these organizations would have a renewed hiring demand for excellent candidates.”

Employers also use early identification models such as internships, co-ops, and leadership programs to get to know and hire Lehigh students prior to senior year. Last year, Career Services cultivated and posted 1,132 internship and co-op listings-a 17% increase over the previous year.

Mechanical engineering alumna Maria Qirjollari ’14 completed two co-op positions during her junior and senior year at KCI Technologies in Maryland and was hired full-time by the company as an engineer in training before she graduated in May. In addition to working directly with the Career Services staff, she regularly searched LUCIE, Career Services’ job and internship posting system, to find co-op listings.

“Career Services definitely helped, from making all of the postings available to me to personal consulting on possible professional dilemmas I had,” said Qirjollari, who added that getting hired in a permanent position by her co-op employer was “fantastic” and took a lot of anxiety away during senior year.

A Perfect Resumé Is Not Enough
The Career Services staff has developed a career development journey to help students navigate their path to success. Starting as early as their first year at Lehigh, students are encouraged to work with the team exploring options, developing skills, gaining experience, and networking.

Technology continues to be vital in the way employers and students find, communicate, and interact with each other. First time job seekers must become adept at online networking that includes Skype interviews and following companies on social media.

Learning how to strengthen connections to the job market and cultivate relationships for impact and mutual benefit are also important parts of a student’s action plan. Lehigh’s campus culture offers students on-going partnerships with faculty, alumni, employers, and volunteers. Career Services is always seeking ways to expand these relationships, which includes bringing more employers with job offers to campus for the September and March Career Fair events.

Last year, 11% of the 2014 graduates said they found the job they were hired for through Career Fair. Between Career Fair and other vehicles Career Services used to promote employment positions, such as LUCIE, almost 3,600 jobs were advertised to Lehigh students.

Posted on Wednesday, March 25, 2015

- Dawn Thren