New Trend: Schools Offering Job Guarantees for Graduates

Posted By Eliana Osborn on February 12, 2016 at 9:54 am
New Trend: Schools Offering Job Guarantees for Graduates

As graduation approaches, college students have to start thinking about the next step: getting a job.  For those with student debt, you typically have six months before student loan payments are due. Some schools and education providers have come up with an attractive offer: job placement guarantees.  Finish the program, look for work, and they promise you’ll have something in your field within six months.

Micro credential programs offering job placement guarantees

MOOC provider Udacity recently announced a money-back guarantee job placement offer.  Students who complete a Nanodegree Plus program in one of four fields are promised that the company will find them jobs within six months.  If not, fees are refunded.  Nano degrees or micro credentials aren’t big business—yet.  They’re essentially a certification, tailored to a very specific niche.  Nanodegrees are nine-month sequences without any of the general education classes you’d expect from an associate’s degree.  Just the knowledge and skills for something like app development for example.

Nanodegrees have been created because of unfilled jobs.  Google partnered with Udacity to create the app development program when they couldn’t find enough people to hire.  In such a situation, a job placement guarantee is nice but perhaps unnecessary.

School career centers front-and-center in graduate job guarantees

Thomas College in Maine is one example of an employment guarantee. According to the school, “You’ll work with Career Services throughout your college career to take steps that have been proven to lead to success in the job search. If you do your part and still don’t land a job related to your major within six months of graduation, we’ll either make your monthly federal student loan payments for you for up to a year, or we’ll let you start a Thomas master’s degree program for free.”  With planning, preparation, and guidance, it makes sense that students with the requisite 3.0 GPA should be able to find work.

Already in 2016, another college has announced an employment guarantee.  Rivier University in New Hampshire is a small school with less than 3,000 students.  Their Employment Promise is essentially a student-career center partnership to make sure graduates are prepared for their next step.  Like other schools, Rivier has GPA and counseling requirements.  The aim is to reassure students and their families that the high price of college tuition is worth it, a premise many have begun to doubt.

One of the first to guarantee employment was Manchester University in Indiana who put their promise in place in 1995.  You won’t get your money back at Manchester, but they will allow you to take more undergraduate classes for up to a year if your job efforts are in vain.

At any college or university, taking advantage of career advisement services early is sure to be helpful.  Those who rely on a job placement guarantee may be surprised to see that the steps required are enough to get them hired straight out of school.

Eliana Osborn
Eliana Osborn is an associate English professor at Arizona Western College, with degrees from Brigham Young University and Northern Arizona University. She’s published widely in forums such as The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Christian Science Monitor, and the Chronicle of Higher Education.

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