May 13, 2020
Graduating from college can be a time of uncertainty and transition for many, but members of the Class of 2020 face a unique challenge in navigating a job market that has come to a near standstill in some sectors and a country dealing with unprecedented unemployment.
Colby College, a small liberal arts college in Maine, recently launched its Pay It Northward campaign, in an effort to help find opportunities for graduates who have not landed jobs yet.
C. Andrew McGadney, Colby College vice president and dean of student advancement, told Cheddar Wednesday about mobilizing the school's 30,000 alumni, faculty, and friends to help.
“Research shows that students earn less when they graduate during a recession in comparison to those who graduate during prosperity. We also realized that this is one of the worst economic downturns since The Great Depression," he said. "So, because of that, we’ve created this initiative to secure 300 jobs for our graduating seniors.”
The campaign’s goal is to find jobs for the graduates in three months or less, and the school has even called on its fundraising team to work on the effort.
Despite record-high unemployment numbers, McGadney is confident that with the help of supporters, they will be able to secure post-graduate opportunities for their students.
“We actually had an alumnus call yesterday who connected our team with the human resource department of a biotech firm," he explained. "They’re looking for talent. In any type of situation, whether in prosperity or recession, it’s important to have great talent, and we have great talent at Colby College.”
The Pay It Northward campaign could become a new model for how the college markets its post-graduate success, according to the vice president, and if it is successful they plan to continue the program.
“Imagine if we are able to be successful in securing 300 jobs for the seniors that need them, in the worst kind of economic times. If we are able to do that now what can happen in normal times? We believe this is an initiative that every college and university should think about,” McGadney said.