IDAHO FALLS, Idaho KIFI/KIDK - As students around the country celebrate college graduation, many now face the reality of job hunting. For some fields, this can be a challenging prospect. But for one genera of college degrees, the bigger challenge is deciding which job offer to take.
A large percentage of Eastern Idaho Technical College (EITC) graduates already have jobs lined up. Others who just started applying are seeing multiple offers come back.
"It was nice knowing that a job was going to be there for me when I got out of school," said Tyson Laing, a graduate of EITC's Advanced Welding Program who already had a job before graduation. "I could focus on school more because of it."
EITC's administration said they regularly get area businesses looking for future employees even before their students are graduated.
"We can easily place 95% of our graduates," said EITC President Dr. Rick Aman. "So the point would be anyone crossing the stage today, if they want a job, they can have it."
Recent data reported by Help Wanted Online shows there are hundreds of job openings in eastern Idaho for welders, drafters, electricians, machine operators, and computer technicians.
Dr. Aman said many of the major employers in the region can't fill positions simply because there aren't enough people with the matching skill sets. "You look at a place like INL where there is tremendous hiring," said Dr. Aman. "For every scientist, for every engineer that the INL hires, they're going to need four to six technicians to back them up."
Some of the local businesses that regularly recruit from vocational schools like EITC include Idaho Steel Products, Energy System Solutions, Premier Technology, and Walsh Engineering, just to name a few.
"We will always be looking for welders, machinists, those type of skills that you get from that two year degree at a vocational school," said Heidi Oyola, the human resource director for Idaho Steel Products. "We need people to be trained technically, not just at a desk, but we need people that can build what we need to build."
Idaho Steel Producers has a scholarship program with the technical college to increase the number of graduates that come work for them.
"We don't always need someone to go for a four-year degree," said Oyola. "So rather than investing all that time and money, if you're looking for a great job with a little less time at school, I think vocational school is a great way to go."
Both Oyola and Dr. Aman hope more people will realize their are other options beside a four-year degree that can lead to a successful career.
"We have welders who have made their careers here. Who've done very well for themselves and their families," said Oyola. "We've had welders who have been here for 40 or more years. So I would say you're not just going to get a job, you're going to find a career."