Employment rate for recent graduates reaches 97.3 percent

By University Communications
March 14, 2016
Ben Wichmann works in a computer engineering lab on campus.

Photo: Ben Wichmann works in a computer engineering lab on campus.

For the second year in a row, graduates of University of Wisconsin-Stout achieved a higher rate of success landing that all-important first job than the year before.

The 2014-15 Employment Report, compiled by the UW-Stout Career Services office, revealed that 97.3 percent of the most recent graduates were employed or continuing their education within six months of leaving campus.

The report covers graduating classes in August 2014, December 2014 and May 2015.

The 2013-14 employment rate was 97.1 percent, and the rate was 97 percent the year before that.

One of the many 2014-15 success stories is Ben Wichmann of Oshkosh, who received his Bachelor of Science degree in computer engineering in May 2015.

Wichmann had a position with Lockheed Martin as a research engineer secured by the time of his graduation. He then headed to the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, to work with NASA’s Human Research Program, assisting engineers on experiments to be conducted on the International Space Station.

Wichmann said he had the opportunity to work with three private companies while a student at UW-Stout — TTM Technologies, the Kennedy Space Center and SGI — and still graduated on time.

Wichmann said the exceptional employment rate for graduates played a significant role in his decision to attend UW-Stout.

“I enjoyed the fact that computer engineering was a hybrid program, which offered experience in both computer science and electronics,” he said of his decision to come to UW-Stout. “Also, the employment rate for graduates was exceptionally higher than other universities I was looking into.”

Kelly Bloomgren poses while studying abroad.“There are many, many more stories like Ben’s throughout our 2014-15 graduates,” said Chancellor Bob Meyer, himself a UW-Stout alumnus.“I can’t tell you how many of our students I talk to on graduation day who are leaving for a job the next day.”

Meyer said he was happy that in his first year as chancellor the employment rate increased to 97.1 percent. 

“I thought it would be difficult to top that increase,” Meyer said. “So I am overjoyed that we were able to increase the employment rate for the second year in a row.”

Meyer said he also was pleased that the percentage of UW-Stout students finding employment in their field of study increased to 83.3 percent in 2014-15, compared to 81.9 percent the year before.

“That statistic is a true measure of how closely we align our undergraduate program array with the needs of business and industry,” Meyer said. “It means that we are producing graduates in fields where our business and industry partners have openings and need well-prepared employees.”

Meyer and other university officials said it is difficult to pinpoint just one reason for the success UW-Stout students have after graduation.

“It is clear, though, that we are producing the types of graduates who have had the hands-on education and on-the-job experiences valued and needed by business and industry,” Meyer said.

Career Services programs help students

Bryan Barts, interim director of the Career Services office, said UW-Stout’s robust Cooperative Education Program, which prepares students through completing semesterlong work experiences in business and industry, is a key reason graduates fare well after leaving campus.

Participation in co-ops grew for the seventh consecutive year to 1,032 students in 2014-15, compared to 954 last year. Some 562 employers offered sites for co-op students, who were paid an average of $14.93 an hour.

Bryan Barts“The co-op program is a great way for students to apply their skills and abilities, often surpassing employers’ expectations,” Barts said.“Many co-op students come back to campus with a job offer in hand.”

Barts also said Career Services works hard to connect students with potential employers, citing the fall and spring Career Conferences that attract hundreds of employers.

Kelly Bloomgren of Fairmont, Minn., completed an internship with Weidner Apartment Homes in Colorado in summer 2015 and started working there for the company right after graduating in December 2015.

“I interned in Seattle for a highly successful company (Weidner), which turned into a career,” said Bloomgren, who majored in hotel, restaurant and tourism management. Bloomgren added that she had “had numerous student leadership opportunities” while a student, which helped her career opportunities.

The Employment Report also showed that 22 of UW-Stout’s 48 undergraduate majors had a 100 percent employment rate. The median salary paid to newly employed graduates was $40,000 a year, with 12 majors reporting starting salaries averaging $50,000 or more.



Second Photo: Kelly Bloomgren has fun while studying abroad. 

Third Photo: Bryan Barts