NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – College graduates will soon hit the market with big dreams and high expectations, and Tennessee State University is helping to make them a reality.
Focused academic preparation, combined with job readiness training and career coaching are paying huge dividends for upcoming TSU graduates.
On May 4 and 5, the university will graduate more than 1,000 students at its dual spring commencements. Officials say a “substantial number” have already received job or internship offers.
Among them is Emmanuel Gyang of Nashville. Upon his graduation on May 5, he will be heading to Bank of America in Dallas as a systems engineer in the company’s data center.
So will Justus Watson, who graduates with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural sciences with a biotechnology concentration. The Atlanta native will join Union Pacific in the marketing and sales department in Omaha, Nebraska.
And Kevin Scott, also of Nashville, who will receive a degree in electrical engineering. Scott has potential job offers waiting for him with Lockheed Martin and AMRDEC, or the Army Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center.
Recent data comparison shows that TSU is on an upward trajectory when it comes to job placement for new graduates.
Within three months of receiving their degrees, nearly 52 percent of students who graduated in December had received “some form of employment opportunities,” according to the TSU Career Development Center. That’s just 6 percent shy of the national average of graduates who had jobs within six months of graduation, according to College Track, an online database that guides parents and students in college selection.
What is driving these high numbers for TSU?
“It starts with leadership,” says Dr. Tracey Ford, TSU’s vice-president for Student Affairs. “Our president, Dr. Glenda Glover, has elevated the expectation of job placement for our graduates and has charged Student Affairs to be aggressive and innovative in our approach to recruiting employers and securing internships and permanent placement for our talented students.”
Ford also attributes TSU’s success to the “outstanding job performance” of former students who are employed with companies around the nation and the world.
“Our students who have become great employees at these world-renowned companies are making such an impact that it causes the employers to want to continue to recruit at Tennessee State University,” says Ford.
Last year, TSU received a $2 million career development grant from the United Negro College Fund. The money gave Career Development Center staff the tools to prepare and ultimately help TSU students secure employment immediately upon graduation.
Bethany Beaty, talent acquisition specialist at Enterprise Holdings, Inc., who has hired several TSU graduates over the years, says, “TSU students are very realistic and very ambitious.”
“They always have a drive, and always willing to start at the bottom and work their way up,” says Beaty.
Collectively, the success of Gyang, Watson and Scott and the many other upcoming graduates is a clear reflection of TSU’s “aggressive and innovative” approach to job skills readiness and placement, says Charles Jennings, director of the Career Development Center.
According to Jennings, relationships with employers have been a major factor for TSU’s success. For instance, a career fair in October – one of the largest in recent years – brought more than 130 companies on campus, “all looking to hire our students.” Among major companies at the fair were Apple, Microsoft, Ford Motor Company and Health Career Connections.
“I will have to say we are doing some outstanding work here at TSU in terms of our outreach with employers, not only within the Nashville area, but nationwide,” says Jennings.
Gyang, who interned with Bank of America last year, says he’s “anxiously” waiting for his July start date with the corporate giant.
“I feel blessed to be graduating with a job with a company like Bank of America,” he says. “I owe it to TSU for the preparation I received in the classroom and from the Career Development Center. They definitely honed me to be the person I am today. They taught me how to carry myself in a more professional manner.”
Watson and Scott share Gyang’s sentiments.
“I am pretty excited about this opportunity,” says Watson, the outgoing vice-president of the Student Government Association, who said an interaction at an Agriculture Future of America leadership conference helped him to land the job with Union Pacific.
“A lot of how TSU prepared me made that moment possible. Motivations from my advisors in the College of Agriculture, along with outstanding mentors, and participating in different organizations on campus were helpful. Without TSU, I know for sure I would not have been ready for this opportunity.”
For more information on the TSU Career Development Center, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/careers/
Department of Media Relations
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About Tennessee State University
With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.