UW-Stout engineering graduates lead the way in employment report

By University Communications
April 10, 2015
Students Dayton Ramirez, left, and Ronald Juedes, work in a plastics engineering lab at UW-Stout.

Photo: Students Dayton Ramirez, left, and Ronald Juedes

All the recent graduates of three engineering undergraduate programs at University of Wisconsin-Stout had jobs within six months of leaving campus, according to a new report from the UW-Stout Career Services office, and their average salaries were at or above $55,000.

Manufacturing engineering, computer engineering and plastics engineering students were among the 97.1 percent of UW-Stout graduates from 2013-14 who were employed or continuing their education within six months of leaving campus, the Career Services Annual Employment Report said.

Furthermore, the three engineering programs were among 18 programs in which 100 percent of the graduates were employed or continuing their education.

For example, 100 percent of the graduates of the engineering technology program were employed or continuing their education, with an average starting salary of $52,000.

“This report shows that employers truly value our graduates, both in engineering and in all our disciplines,” said Chancellor Bob Meyer. “If students come to UW-Stout, study hard, get some work experience and then graduate, they are almost guaranteed a good job when they leave.”

UW-Stout students are sought-after in the job market because they “bring a diverse set of skills, combined with demonstrated, real-world experiences that many employers seek out and value,” said Bryan Barts, interim Career Services director. “In addition, faculty and staff utilize applied learning experiences, like the co-op program, and are committed to UW-Stout’s career-focused mission. This in turns creates a win-win-win for the university, the students and the employers.”

The 13 computer engineering graduates were working in their field of study, making an average of $63,000 a year. In manufacturing engineering, 42 of the 44 graduates were working in their field of study, with one continuing in school and one in an unrelated field. Their average starting salary was $55,000. Fourteen of the 14 plastics engineering graduates were working in their field of study with an average starting salary of $56,000.

The UW System Board of Regents is scheduled to vote Friday, April 10, on whether to allow UW-Stout to establish a fourth engineering program, in mechanical engineering, beginning in fall 2015.

The other UW-Stout programs with 100 percent employment rates were:

  • Interior design
  • Entertainment design
  • Art education
  • Career, technical education and training
  • Family and consumer sciences education
  • Marketing and business education
  • Science education
  • Technology education
  • Real estate property management
  • Supply chain management
  • Apparel design and development
  • Construction
  • Cross-media graphics management
  • Packaging

The employment survey had a so-called “knowledge rate” of 87 percent, the percentage of students Career Services either contacted directly or obtained employment information about from a variety of sources.

Of the 97.1 percent of graduates who were employed or continuing their education, 82 percent were employed in their field of study. The median starting salary for all graduates was $41,000.

Barts said it is important to note that during 2013-14 some 589 employers came to campus to attend UW-Stout’s two career conferences, which were attended by 4,000 students and alumni. Almost 1,000 students participated in the university’s Cooperative Education program, which provides students with paid work experience at a business or industry while receiving academic credit, often leading to a job offer.

“The competition for new talent is increasing rapidly among employers, and they are identifying high-potential students quicker and earlier to fill their needs,” Barts said. “We have seen increased recruiting activity on campus and attendance at both of our career conferences.”

Faculty and instructional academic staff contribute greatly to the workplace success of UW-Stout students, Barts added, pointing to the large number of laboratories and other hands-on experiences for students.

“Our faculty understand the importance of applied learning and actively look to support the needs of employers in the region and across the U.S.,” he said.

Meyer said he is confident that prospective students, their families and the public are honing in on the ability of UW-Stout graduates to secure a meaningful career shortly after graduating.

“We had a record enrollment last fall,” Meyer said, “and it appears we will have another record this fall. It is clear that people are getting the message that a UW-Stout degree equals workforce success.”

To read the stories of UW-Stout students who obtained positions before graduating, go to www.uwstout.edu/success/.

The complete Career Services Annual Employment Report is available here.