College graduates leave the state in search of work


OUACHITA PARISH, La. – (01/08/20) Graduating from college is scary enough. Add not being able to find a job in your field and your worries can increase.

According to Economist Gary Wagner, in between the years of 2007 and 2017, almost 31 thousand people with a college degree left Louisiana.
The question is, does Louisiana have a diverse enough job market for its college graduates. Louisiana Delta Community College (LDCC) says there are jobs in Northeast Louisiana. However, you have to have a specific skill set.

“People often say there are no jobs here. We have so many employers here looking for people. They just can’t find the people with the skills they need,” said Dennis Epps, Chancellor of LDCC.

Epps says students can be so focused on a four-year college degree that they miss out on job opportunities in high demand fields.

“The highest demands that we see right now are in the skills trade. It’s people who do maintenance, industrial maintenance, diesel mechanics, and automotive. Anything in nursing or the allied health professions is in the high, high demand,” said Epps.

However, these skills are not for everyone. Victoria Howard, a liberal arts major at Louisiana Tech, could walk across the graduation stage and right into another state in search of work.

“I do worry about being able to find a job here in the area because I do want to stay here. I worry about having to move to another area,” said Howard.

The advice Howard has gotten has only encouraged her to become one of those 31 thousand graduates who find a job in another state.

“Everybody is telling me, “oh you have to teach. That’s the only thing you can do or get out of Louisiana.” everybody’s just telling me to get out of Louisiana. “You’re not going to be able to do anything with it.” My family doesn’t believe I should do it,” said Howard.

Howard says the skill sets she has are important. They’re just not in demand here in The Pelican State.

“There is a lot that you should be able to do with a liberal arts degree that you aren’t necessarily able to do in this area because it’s just not here,” said Howard.

Below is information “The Advocate” has published. The data was compiled by UL economist Gary Wagner.

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