In a year that stretched health care resources to their limits, McPherson College graduate Stefan Krsmanovic gained valuable job experience on the front lines as an intern with the McPherson County Health Department during his senior year. It is what eventually helped him secure a position with the Sedgwick County Health Department after graduation.
Krsmanovic is just one of many success stories from the McPherson College graduating class of 2020, according to Amy Beckman, executive director of career services. Since commencement in May, 95 percent of the class has secured employment or further education. Additionally, of those graduates with jobs or graduate school placements, 82 percent had at least one internship while at McPherson College.
“Despite an uncertain job market because of the pandemic, our students remained successful in securing their first job,” Beckman said. “Our placement numbers are very similar to previous years, which I think is remarkable considering all of the challenges this class faced. I think their success illustrates the value of a liberal arts education that produces graduates who can adapt to the job market.”
While many colleges report placement rates similar to McPherson College, President Michael Schneider says the college’s placement numbers are a true reflection of its graduates.
“We can account for nearly every graduate when we track our outcomes,” he said. “Most colleges can account for only 10 to 20 percent of any graduating class. When we report 95 percent of a class has secured employment or further education, we are talking about the entire class not just a portion of the class. When you add our strong placement rate to our efforts at reducing student debt through The Student Debt Project, McPherson College graduates are getting a head start at a successful future.”
The Student Debt Project, now in its second full year with nearly 200 students participating, combines financial literacy, mentorship, and matching funds to show students how they can reduce their college debt before graduation.
Kylee Martin, another 2020 graduate, was in the pilot group of the Student Debt Project. Although she was not able to participate in the project for her entire time at the college, by paying on her college account while in school, she has been able to graduate with a reduced amount of student debt allowing her to focus on starting a career as a marketing coordinator for Motion Products, Inc. in Neenah, Wisconsin.
“Participating in the Student Debt Project at McPherson College allowed me to focus on gaining real-life experience through internships and secure a full-time job before I graduated,” Martin said. “Knowing that I have paid a significant portion of my college debt has given me confidence in my financial situation. This wouldn’t have been possible for me without the Student Debt Project. The program gave me the opportunity to pay off as much debt as possible while in college and taught me financial knowledge that I will use throughout my entire life.”
Like Martin, many McPherson College students were able to secure employment or graduate school placements prior to their commencement. According to Beckman, half of the recent graduating class had outcomes prior to commencement.
“I am very proud of our students for accomplishing so much during this pandemic,” Beckman said. “Our graduates entered a variety of different job markets across the United States this year, and they were able to successfully find jobs or further their education. It is a significant feat in our current environment.”