Lucas Kempke went to Kansas University in mid-2008 to escape the gloomy economy.
Today, like many other KU winter grads, he’s preparing to graduate without any immediate job prospects.
“I thought I’d hide out in grad school to let the economy turn around,” Kempke said, adding he never predicted he’d be facing this job market, with 10 percent unemployment rates.
Now, he’s blasting resumes to anyone who will listen, while using Web networks like LinkedIn and other KU alumni tools to help him find any kind of job.
He’s willing to go about anywhere; he’s looked at Kansas City, Denver, Dallas, Washington, New York, among others.
Kempke said he only knows of one fellow MBA graduate who has work lined up — and he took a pay cut from his job before entering school.
“It’s a little crazy out there, but I think I’ll be OK,” he said, planning to work his way through the next few months doing odds and ends and temporary work. “I think, worst case scenario, I’ll steal a job from an undergrad.”
One of those undergrads graduating this winter is Michael Stock, who earned his political science degree in three and a half years.
Looking for a job in federal or state government, Stock is fresh off an internship with Kansas Attorney General Steve Six’s office.
He’ll be headed to Europe soon for a six-month internship with the U.S. Embassy in Vienna, but is still furiously applying for jobs in Kansas City, Chicago and other places.
“I’ve been working on my resume and my stump speech,” he said, adding that he feels a nice healthy dose of “uncertainty and nervousness” about the future.
Those sentiments are shared by others graduating this winter, he said.
Xavier Loya, a four-and-a-half year senior from Kansas City, Kan., is graduating with a journalism degree with a strategic communications emphasis.
He has a job that pays the rent — working at Advance Auto Parts on Sixth Street — but he’s still looking for that job that uses his academic skills.
Loya said he’s lined up two internships but, despite attending career fairs, hasn’t had any bites from the full-time job market. He’d like to work close to home, but realizes that may not be possible.
“There’s a million other Jayhawks in Kansas City with this degree,” he said. “I think if I got a job offer, I’d be willing to work just about anywhere.”
He remains enthusiastic about graduating, however.
“I’ve worked for 20-some-odd years to get here, and it’s finally here,” he said, saying he can’t wait to earn more money.
More money, he said, means being able to appreciate the finer things in life, like better groceries.
“I want to buy the quality meats,” he said. “I want to be able to afford the nice stuff.”