Feature Stories

Degrees of success

Caroline Moore enrolled at the University of Georgia unsure of what she wanted to become after graduation. Four years later, she came out career ready in the field of public relations and advertising.

Moore, who now works for Atlanta PR firm The Wilbert Group, credits UGA faculty and staff for preparing and supporting her while she earned her degree. Through experiential learning opportunities in and out of the classroom, she developed the skills that employers in her field are seeking.

It's paid off with a job that Moore loves. She is one of many in UGA's Class of 2016 able to translate a degree into a career opportunity.

The UGA Career Center is reporting a 95 percent career outcomes rate for the Class of 2016-13 percent higher than the national average. That rate reflects the percentage of students who are either employed, continuing their education, or not seeking employment within an average of six months after graduating.

Of those students, 65 percent were employed full time, 20 percent were attending graduate school and roughly 10 percent were either employed part time, working a full-time internship or were self-employed.

"Our university is very outcomes focused. We want our students to succeed after they graduate," said Scott Williams, director of the UGA Career Center.

Whether it's through resume workshops and career fairs, visits to the classroom from successful UGA alumni or mentoring from UGA faculty and staff, the university offers many opportunities for students to prepare for their career objectives.

And UGA is taking this commitment even further. Beginning in 2016, every incoming student is required to participate in an experiential learning opportunity, including through study abroad, faculty-mentored research, internships and service-learning.

While UGA graduates go on to careers across the country and around the world, about 70 percent of employed graduates choose to join the Georgia workforce.

That's no surprise, says Jill Walton, UGA's executive director of corporate and foundation relations, given the career opportunities in this state-including 18 Fortune 500 companies.

"We are very lucky in the state of Georgia to have so many successful companies — companies that want to hire our students," Walton said.

Whether it's private companies large or small, local school districts or nonprofits, UGA graduates are finding opportunities to contribute and even lead in the workforce.

So far, career outcomes appear bright for the Class of 2017-some soon-to-be graduates already have accepted full-time positions and others are getting multiple job offers.

"We have exceptionally bright students," Williams said. "And we have a lot of individual faculty and staff who care about their students and what happens after graduation."

For a more detailed account of UGA's Class of 2016 career outcomes, visit http://career.uga.edu/outcomes

Published Monday,