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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Students opting out of job hunt

    Sergeant First Class Julian Gonzalez, a U.S. Army recruiter, speaks with a student at the UA Career Day held in the Grand Ballroom of the Student Union Memorial Center yesterday afternoon.
    Sergeant First Class Julian Gonzalez, a U.S. Army recruiter, speaks with a student at the UA Career Day held in the Grand Ballroom of the Student Union Memorial Center yesterday afternoon.

    Seniors approaching graduation in May may be resorting to “”plan B”” to help them sidestep the scarce job market and harsh economy for a few years.

    Volunteer programs such as the Peace Corps and Teach for America have seen a signifi cant jump in the number off applicants this year.

    Kate Kuykendall , public affairs specialist for the Peace Corps said that there was a 16 percent increase in Peace Corps applicants nationally this year, which has been the largest increase in five years.

    The UA is the number one producer of Peace Corps volunteers in Arizona, Kuykendall said. Over the years, 1,269

    UA alumni have served in the Peace Corps and 39 UA graduates are currently overseas.

    Alex Birdsill , psychology senior said he planned to join the Peace Corps since his sophomore year, but the timing couldn’t

    be better to begin his service.

    “”I hope that when I get out (of service), the economy is better,”” he said.

    Leslie Newman who is the Peace Corps recruiter for the UA said inquiries have definitely been up this year.

    “”I think everybody is just trying to consider all of their options,”” she said.

    Teach for America, another popular volunteer program, is comprised of recent college graduates and professionals with expertise in all-academic majors who commit two years of teaching in urban and rural public schools.

    UA alumni, Steve Erickson, graduated in 2005 and now works as a manager of district strategy for the Teach for America
    office based in Phoenix. He said there were over 35,000 Teach for America applications this year nationwide, compared to 24,000 applicants last year.

    Michelli Murphy, a journalism senior, is the campus campaign
    coordinator and recruits for Teach for America at the UA.

    She said from what she has seen, the economy has definitely
    lead to an increase in applications on campus.

    Erickson said that he always sees a large number of applicants from the UA, but this year there was an even larger increase coming from Arizona State University.

    ASU recorded 207 applicants this year, up from 139 in 2008. The UA brought in 179 applicants, with 168 recorded last year.

    “”I am a UA alum, so I’m definitely a Wildcat at heart, so I’d like to see the UA make the same strides,”” he said.

    Erickson said that he believes the economy is linked to the increase in applications, but stressed that Teach for America looks for applicants who are not only looking to be bailed out of an economic pinch, but who are prepared to embrace the challenge of the program.

    Whitney Munroe, a business management senior, and Teach for America recruiter said she has seen a peaked interest
    among graduating seniors looking toward the program for a job after they graduate, but they are not accepting any more applications.

    “”We don’t start hiring again until next fall,”” Munroe said “”but a lot of seniors were looking for positions for the upcoming year, but we just don’t have any right now.””

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