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Speaking of Jobs…

Editorial Team

Should a college degree guarantee you a job? Yes, says a New York City woman who is suing the college where she earned a bachelor’s degree because she can’t find a job. Trina Thompson, 27, is seeking $70,000 in a lawsuit filed last week against Monroe College in Bronx Supreme Court. Thompson, who got an information technology degree in April, charges that the school’s career office hasn’t provided her with promised leads and career advice.

A college spokesman says Thompson’s lawsuit is completely without merit. The college insists it helps its graduates find jobs. Meanwhile, as the climbing jobless rate has slowed the economy, The New York Times reports that some colleges are ramping up their career services departments to help alumni. Reason: it renews old ties that might have languished for decades. Tell us your thoughts. Should your sheepskin guarantee you work even in this economy? Does a college have an obligation to find you a job and be liable if it doesn’t? Share your thoughts here.


  1. marcy

    Yes, I do believe colleges should help alumni find a job why? it is very difficult to find job if you don’t know anyone to network with it is all about who you know even if the job is there most business rather hire a person who a friend recommend. Sometime the person who they hire don’t even have the qualification a college grad have. Minorities are mostly the ones who are not finding the right job because they don’t know anyone in the business world.

  2. Robin

    I was told there was value in getting a college education. If suddenly an economic crisis places little value on a college education, then why go to the expense and time to attain a college degree. It seems in this present economy that even a graduate degree is not enough. Where does one go to achieve at least some sort of work-based value for now and in the future?

  3. Bonita Paul

    Its absolutely ludicrous to think that a college or university is somehow responsibility to ensure that all of its graduates are employed once they complete their degree. Once they leave those hallowed halls, a university cannot be responsible for how well a candiate interviews, whether their interpersonal skills will match an employer’s needs or even whether there are enough positions out there for the number of graduates being placed in the work world. Its up to each and every person to use the skills and knowledge they’ve acquired in school as well as their own moxie to get out there and find a job. To expect anyone else to do it for them is simply childish and is probably an indication of why this person has not landed a job in the first place.

  4. CT

    No. It is unreasonable to expect any institution of higher learning to guarantee a former/present student employment with any third party. Alternatively, the college can make available to all students and alumni career counseling, on-campus interviews, skills testing, job postings, alumni contacts, etc., to pave the way towards employment.

  5. I earned my B.A. in English in the mid-1980s, and my MBA in 2004, and have worked in career counseling and human resources for many years. In the 1990’s, as educational institutions started advertising fast-paced degrees and on-line learning, I started noticing a trend, particularly among non-traditional schools and universities, of promising the moon to potential students as a marketing ploy to increase enrollment. When they raise a “customer’s” expectations, it shouldn’t surprise them to find that the student wants to hold them to the marketing pitches made during the enrollment period.
    That said, I am a strong believer in the idea that the universe doesn’t owe you anything. As students, our job is to work hard and learn as much as possible to prepare us to compete in the workplace. Once we’ve received that “piece of paper,” the school doesn’t owe us a job. It’s nice that many institutions have career centers and placement services, but we can’t expect them to feed us if we can’t find a job.
    Unfortunately, this economy is making it so difficult for so many of us, there are bound to be some who start grasping at straws. Ms. Thompson may be able to show that Monroe College promised her career leads and advice, but unless they actually locked her out of their career center office, or refused to connect her with leads or contacts, it’s hard to imagine her winning the case against the school. Of course, there may be facts about the case that aren’t presented in the news item, and the court may find in her favor, after all.

  6. M Helberg

    I think a college should have leads for a person. A person spends money on education and the end result no job? I studied for medical transcription, the advertisment made it seem great earn money working for companies from home which is helpful with three kids. I was told credit wise this course was recognized and accepted anywhere, I found out later that wasn’t regionally recognized and the time I spent was just that. Work from home, they forget to tell you, you have to work in a clinical setting 2 to 3 yrs before a company will take you on, the area I live is far and few hospitals that already contract their work to these companies. I really feel I wasted money and alot of time- but these colleges certainly made their money. If you pay money, you should have results for that education. I wish I could get compensated for the money and time for false hopes.

  7. kh

    Absolutely! I went to MBA seminars and the room was worked by professional salesmen like a time share hustle. The room was packed as some people want out of a rut while most are afraid of being left out in this cold economy. With such a vulnerable audience, it was easy for the salesmen to work on their fears and paint a bright future if you are willing to fork over $70K to $125K depending on the name brand of the university. People panicked at the little to no financial aid so the salesmen told us how to approach our companies for sponsorship or sign up for high interest rate loans. Any real world concerns were met with bleak visions and looking like a fool. This isn’t hard to do when anyone who has looked at career builder or monster knows 90% of the good paying jobs require more degrees and specialized certifications in addition to experience. By the end of the night, many signed up not having any idea how they were going to pay for it but repeating the retail-like mantra, “How can I afford NOT to?” I scanned the teachers profiles and they were mid-level stars ten years ago or did something vague like consulting. Few had been published and less were industry leaders or worked for an industry leader. I asked about placement opportunities and the answer was “many” but I wasn’t shown anything concrete. Some programs allowed me to phone interview graduates who all told me they loved the program. This was highest among graduates whose companies paid for their MBA and gave them a promotion afterwards. For the remaining, no significant career change or promotion occurred but they were hopeful. None had any immediate plans to pursue a Ph.D. unless the company paid for it or if they weren’t making progress with the MBA in the next 5 to 7 years. From a selling point, I would think selling higher education would be the easiest and most lucrative job in the world because people need it like health insurance and will pay whatever to get it. If schools had to guarantee the quality of their education with job placement of graduates, then the focus of schools would shift from sales to service. Which is exactly where it should be for $70K or $125K (not including interest) per degree.
    P.S. I lived at home and graduated from UCI. When I moved to L.A. for work, UCLA refused me job placement assistance. I always thought that was weird since all UC students make pay the “Regents of University of California” not a specific campus. Now when the school contacts me for money, I throw their letters in the trash.

  8. DMB

    If someone goes to college in order to further ones ability to get a job due to the education required, then that is great. However, I have a problem thinking that this college “promised” to get her a job?
    Regardless of the connection this college orany educational institution might have, the only one to get a job is this young lady or any individual. If the employee felt that this person was a “fit” for a particular company. It is any individual that has to sell a potential employer on themselves and not on the action of a college.
    The economy may not be in decent shape, but there are employers that are in need of an employee.
    A college can not be blamed for any student being unable to get a job. If a student did not present himself or herself in a way that the employer would be interested in hiring,l how is it the college’s fault? And suing this educational institute is not what is going to make this young lady get hired. Yeah, it would put money in her pocket but getting a job on her own abilities is worth a lot more then suing. Self accomplishment is worth more then monetary things in life. I would not turn my back on money, but I will do it my way. I am responsible for my interviews and if I did not get a job, I would reevaluate and make a change if need be. But I will feel so much better knowing I did it my way.

  9. Zaida Lebron

    Yes, I think having a degree is a token to getting a job. I have a bachelors in Business Administration, a Masters in Business Administration, and Masters in Informations Systems. My GPA is 3.67. I have 15 years of accounting/auditing experiences in the Federal Government.
    Why I left the government? Well, I didn’t want to leave the Government. I love working for the Federal Government. I was working for this agency where I was promoted twice. My best friend was promoted to supervisor. My supervisor decided to destroy my accounting career. He was from Ghana, Africa. He told me: “Zaida, you are not cut to be an accounting, you should be a cleaning lady like the rest of the Hispanics.” I decided to have a career and I want to be respected.
    I filed an EEOC against him. It was the biggest mistake is my entire life. I was terminated because I filed a complaint.
    It has been 11 years, I have filed over 100,000 applications with the Federal, State and Local Government. I have been to 100 interviews which I have not had a bite yet.
    It seems nobody wants to hire me. Why? I don’t know. But, I know filing that EEOC complaint has really ruin my entire government career.
    Where is my American Dream? I went from work to welfare. I want to work and that is my goal.

  10. TIG

    Give me a buh-reak. For years now, any new graduate with a sense of entitlement vis-a-vis a degree and subsequent (relevant) employment needs a reality check. I’ve whined, too, but I know what’s up. So be a woman (or man) about it, and deal.
    My real advice: Above all, pray & seek God for direction. It works.

  11. Allison Manson

    Yes I agree with Trina Thompson and I am in the same situation! Our society promotes education as the missing piece to everyones career puzzle. However once acquired I continue to hear, “You’re over qualified!” It’s very frustrating and yes embarassing. Colleges should support and take some type of responsibilty for their alumni!—AM

  12. Reauchean McMillan

    How can any person or organization be obligated to put a person in a job? It is the person seeking the position responsiblity to get the job. I work in the technical college industry in the Career Services department and I know that we provide job leads (board/book) which is updated weekly, we make sure each graduate has leaves with job leads they can follow up on directly and then we submit there resumes to all open positions we find on the internet as well cold call employers to submit graduate resumes.
    I have had graduates no show no call for interviews set up for them, decline positions due to salary or location as well as tell me that they are only looking in a certain industry or facility.
    What can I do to if the graduate has not prepared “themselves” for the job market we are currently in by researching companies, researching the industry to find out what employers want outside of the technical skills (softskills). I host workshops on these things and the turnout is poor (10 out of 450 students)that is a waste of time. I have accrediation firms, corporate, a Executive Director and group VP that does not want to hear about the high unemployment rate in Georgia, the short comings of the gradaute or the fact that we are grading people who should not have made it out of the program or even started the program. It all eventually falls in my lap in the Career Services department.
    Thank you for letting me vent my frustrations!
    By a Stressed Out Career Service
    Dept. Director!

  13. needingachange

    I think they should be forthright and provide as much assistance as possible for the investment. I am thinking maybe I should go back because they never got me a job or even gave me leads on where to apply for a position. My school I went and they never even sent me on one interview and I had 10 years of working experience under my belt.

  14. Technology Slice

    That’s hilarious. On what grounds is she suing the college if she is not personally employable?

  15. Lisa

    To those who agree–why not just sue your friends or parents or employers that encourage you or require a college degree as a requisite but fail to hire you.
    There is something called personal accountability. Most anyone earning a college degree as about equal potential to get hired. There are many factors influencing what can happen of course. But there is no college that I can think of that can be held responsible for anyone’s lack of getting a job after graduation.
    And it is hogwash that a company will not hire those who are “overqualified”. If you state plainly that you will be compensated for the work and not you resume (i.e. willing to make less), then one can be hired.
    The current job market isn’t the fault of the colleges and it is up to the INVIDUAL to do what they can to find a job.
    I am watching a TIVO of Dave Ramsey right now and the topic is finding work after being laid off. That is what led me to this site.
    I also just joined facebook and found a friend from high school who was recently laid off. Instead of licking her wounds, she packed up and moved and got a job. Probably not what she envisioned. But her job is retail in Florida.
    If you can’t find a job–you are not working hard enough and that is not something a University can make you do.
    This lawsuit is laughable.

  16. Glenda

    I am going to take a slightly different approach here. I am a hiring manager and what I’ve learned over the past eight years is that many recent grads want to start at the top, pulling a big paycheck, rather than learning their industry from the ground up. Yes, college give you a very good foundation, teaches you how think critically and creatively but after that there is still a substantial learning curve. Not everyone can start with an office and a business card. Sometimes it means starting in the copy room…from there you learn who’s who, make contacts, network, move up according to your skill level and abilities.

  17. Jane

    I believe that there are some schools out there (diploma mills) that are taking advantage of the economy. Their teachers are “instructors” (not licensed), etc. They promise a fantastic career in Something and when you graduate you find out there are no positions with that name. I appealed to my school when career services did not do what they promised. I couldn’t graduate because I was put into a hellish externship and failed. They would not even come and look at the place. They talked me into another major in order to graduate, and I lost the 40 credits I paid for.
    When I hired an attorney to represent me, they would not let him participate in the hearing and they only listened to the extern provider, who lied, of course. The school catalog explains that if you end up in a situation where the “doctor” wants to show you videos not related to the practice, you are to tell the school right away and they are TO INVESITGATE. This did not happen.
    I now have a career that pays $10.00/hour for entry level (and I am going to pay off a student loan with that!). Career Services has not contacted me in weeks, they were supposed to “be there for me”. They were sending me clippings from the newspaper!These schools are ripping people off and a formal complaint can be made to the State Department of Education. They can also be sued and put out of business, students getting their money back, if one has the money to persue this. They should provide job training so that you can put on your resume that you had actual office experience.
    Yes, a school should follow it’s catalog. And that has nothing to do with the applicant not trying. I am sure there are more horror stories like this out there.

  18. Marissa

    Well I do believe that college and society en general owe to every young student at least the true reality of what they are going to expect after school. For years your family hide from you the real true of what is to be working. You live in this heaven place until you are 18, you have a loan, and years ahead to work until you died. If you are lucky enough to figured out what you want and what you like before you started college you are bless. No is not easy for them now, I understand why she want to sue this college in where she spend probably over 50000 to earn a degree that the college has sell to you very well. This is like buying a product that promise everything but you have no guarantee after is broken. And why not, why not to aim for the sky and start a little bit far from scanning documents in the printing room like somebody explain here. I am sure that is not what he wants for his kids, if he is the one paying the bill of one of this very expensive schools.

  19. Cindy

    With all the money your paying on education I believe that colleges should attribute to the job search process with alumni. Also college guidance conselors need to be realistic any telling students in finding a job in the career path they chose to study. On the other hand it’s also up to the person to ready prepare themselves by laying out a well written resume and presenting themselves professionally in a job interview.

  20. Felicia

    Yes. I do think that college should help find jobs for alumni. Because people spend thousands of dollars each year to go to school and once they are through with school they are left to fend for themselves and don’t get jobs in the field that they have degrees in. This system sucks. Their use to be a thing call on the job training. Where your could get experience in a certain field. Now you need a degree in everything that you apply for or have 3 to 5 years experience in that field. How are you suppose to get experience if no one gives you a change! It use to be so easy to get a job in the United States of America. Now its turned into a political debate like the government. Today thousand of people are laid off of work because of the economy. Jobs where they have worked for thirty years or more. I under stand that they, myself included my have to go back to school to get additional training to get a better job. But if your unemployed and have no experience in another field. Its hard to find those positions. I have gone back to school for additional training after being a stay a home mom for 12 years. Only to go back again. I am now unemployed again and taking an online course . But I have been out of work for four and a half months. To me people that have been working in the job market for years and have a good work ethic are better qualified than people with degrees. They are also valued employees. All they need is a foot in the door, some on the job training and a chance to show what they can do. A degree is a piece of paper that state what a person can do anyway. What happen to good hard working people in America and helping and serving each other?

  21. Gretchyn

    Let us rephrase this… she is suing because she can not find a HIGH ENOUGH PAYING job… greedy is her problem. Be an asset you will get hired! Be a negative impact and you wont! Maybe her life is out of her means… like many over paid Americans!

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