Job placement after college graduation was not great during the
recession. But according to Dr. Amitrajeet A. Batabyal, a professor of
economics, it is slowly rising.
“It’s improving, but not by a lot. It depends on your major,”
According to Batabyal, the outlook for graduates is especially
improving for those in science, technology, engineering and
mathematics (STEM) disciplines. But RIT students have an advantage
because of the cooperative education program and all the services
provided by the Office of Cooperative Education and Career Services.
The Office for Cooperative Education and Career Services, which is
celebrating its 100th anniversary next year, offers a variety of services
to RIT students. Located in the Bausch and Lomb Center (BLC,
77), a few of its services include: job search
advisement, graduate school information and
“We also offer contact information for
employers and will do mock interviews with
students,” says Maria Richart, associate
director of the Office for Cooperative
Education and Career Services. “We also do a
lot of résumé reviews.”
The office also offers a professional network for
students. According to information provided by
the office, “RIT alumni, employers and friends
of the Institute volunteer to provide current
students and alumni with career development
support, counsel, guidance, reinforcement and
This network is available to students and alumni through Job Zone, an
online job database system through the Office for Cooperative Education
and Career Services. Batabyal says that networking is a key way to
get jobs; so talking to alumni would be beneficial to undergraduate
students. But if students need one-on-one counseling, they can meet
with their coordinators in the Office of Cooperative Education and
Richart says that her office allows first year students to adjust to college
life and figure out what they want to study. Then, when a student reaches
their second year, they focus on outreach and make sure students have
been to a co-op orientation.
When students go to Richart, she asks them why they chose RIT and
then, to make sure they’re in the right program, why they chose their
major. She also follows up with them after their co-ops to ask how they
“Once I can figure out their passion, then I can advise them,”
Richart also says that she has an open-door policy and encourages
students to walk in if they have questions about work, internships
According to the Office of Cooperative Education and Career Services,
RIT was one of the first colleges to begin a co-op program in 1912, and
its program is one of the largest in the world. About 2,000 employers
hire RIT students annually for co-ops, and last year about 3,300 students
worked co-ops with more than 5,000 companies.
According to Batabyal, the STEM disciplines are seeing greater
improvement and graduates are more likely to land jobs using degreerelated
skills. It is the humanities where the picture is bleak and
graduates are more likely to find minimum wage jobs or ones that do
not utilize their skills.
Both Batabyal and Richart recommend the same advice to students
in every major preparing to enter the work force: start early. And both
agree that a student’s sophomore year is the best time to start preparing.
Batabyal advises that, by the end of their sophomore year, students
create a plan consistent with whether they want
to continue on to graduate school or go straight
into the work force. He says that students
looking to go to graduate school should prepare
in advance by researching schools and also
thinking about the entrance tests required.
According to Batabyal, going to graduate school
might be a good idea for students in some fields,
especially humanities. “Graduate school will
allow students to ride out a bad time in the
economy and in the meantime learn skills,”
Batabyal said. “Anytime you can do anything to
improve your skills, do it.”
For those who wish to enter the work force,
Batabyal says students should go to the Office
for Cooperative Education and Career Services
and participate in co-ops, even if their program does not require them.
According to Richart, the co-op experience is what makes RIT
students more marketable.
“Don’t leave co-ops to the last year,” Richart says. “[That way] you will
be more qualified and more prepared when you look for a job.”
Batabyal says that co-ops give students a great opportunity to work
with a company and will increase the likelihood of a full-time job.
Despite the economic climate, Richart says that this fall quarter was
the biggest career fair they’ve had. She stated that more students have
been coming into the office for one-on-one meetings. Richart said that
“if students start early and stay positive,” they will find a job.
“Our goal is to help students gain full-time employment after
graduation,” Richart explains.
The benefits of the Office of Cooperative Education and Career
Services don’t end once students graduate.
“Our services are forever,” Richart says. “Even after you graduate, we
help wherever we can.”