CLINTON — It’s graduation season — a time to celebrate achievements, for hat-tossing, for family gatherings and memory sharing.
Eventually, it all subsides. What’s left is a diploma in hand and the important question of what to do with it.
Ashford University celebrated its graduation last week by handing out the most diplomas in school history, both to traditional and online recipients. Among the 1,300 mass were students Spencer Lueders and Kathy Frye. They had accomplished something that set them apart from most of their peers:
Both have already obtained jobs in their respective practices, something of a rarity in this day and age.
“I got a job before my student teaching was even over, which is really hard to come by,” Lueders said.
An education major, he has already lined up a teaching job with the Central DeWitt School District.
“I see all my other classmates scrapping for an interview basically,” Lueders said. “I could see how hard it was for those guys, and I was pretty fortunate. It’s just setting in that I got a job and how lucky I am.”
Frye received a bachelor’s in management, working her way through several internships before landing a full-time job in human resources just prior to graduation.
“Opportunities to serve the community is what really helped me,” she said. “You just network with people and get to know people. That’s a huge factor right there.”
Both grads said they recognized early on that the institution serves ultimately to connect students to a profession. They tapped into tools that helped bring them where they are today.
As for the rest, AU Career Services directors Lindsay Adolphs and Patricia Niemann said Clinton and its surrounding corridors have jobs available. Through a column this week, Workforce Investment Act Director Paula Arends (who works with Eastern Iowa Community Colleges and Clinton Community College) reported there will be an estimated 8,000 new openings by the end of next year.