This post was written by Staff Writer Ashley Roberts.
Though the nationwide unemployment rate has reached well above nine percent, some recent GW graduates are discovering a booming job market in D.C. thanks to economic factors and undergraduate experiences.
Earlier this year, the District was named the best big city for college graduates to find a job by University of Toronto business professor Richard Florida, and the city’s unemployment rate, 6 percent, is significantly lower than the national average.
Michael Bradley, a GW economics professor, said D.C.’s job market is so hot because of the federal government, private sector and government regulation of the economy. Because the federal government is expanding its budget, it requires additional employees to monitor these programs and additional spending is being funneled into the private sector where government contractors have close proximity to the agencies which they serve.
“Thus, they locate here and this also adds jobs to the Washington D.C. area,” Bradley said.
2009 graduate Jeremy Sapriel, a business manager in D.C. at THEO, Inc., said that though finding a job was hard, his experience was easier than that of many of his peers.
“It was difficult for me. However, most of if not all of my graduating class friends seem to have had a far more difficult time. If D.C. truly is one of the better places for a college graduate to find a job, I can only imagine how hard it is in other cities,” Sapriel said.
But some graduates who have stayed in D.C. to work also said connections built at GW played a significant role in job hunting.
John Carlos Estrada, a 2009 graduate, found his job as a desk assistant at the ABC News Washington Bureau through the GW network on Facebook.
“I did a search on Facebook for ABC News and I found out that a mutual friend worked for ABC’s This Week with George Stephanolopous (sic). I sent her a facebook message telling her I was a graduating GW student looking for a job at ABC after graduation. She wrote me back and gave me the name of the person at ABC who hires desk assistants, the entry level job at any network,” Estrada said in an e-mail.
Other students have turned internships held during the school year into paying jobs. Riki Parikh, a 2007 graduate and communications employee in Sen. Mark Warner’s office, D-Va., said he interned for Warner the year before he graduated and was able to parlay that into a job on his Senate campaign.
“I have always believed that I would not have my job today had I not gone to GW or been in DC. My internship with Warner in 2006 was in Alexandria, VA, just a few metro stops away. My class schedule allowed me to hop on the Metro three times a week to the internship. The more I went, the more involved I became, which helped get me the full-time gig in the summer of 2007, which led to my job post-grad, which led to my job in the Senate now. Very few areas in the country would give me the opportunity to take that internship I had during school and run with it the way I did,” Parikh said in an e-mail.
Alumnus Kirsten Marie Vernegaard said she made the connection that led to her current position as a federal analyst at Deloitte Consulting LLP in D.C. through GW alumni dinners.
“A Deloitte partner and Deloitte manager signed up for one of these GW events, to take out approximately ten students to for dinner at a nearby restaurant. In addition to a free, delicious meal, which is always nice in college, Deloitte practitioners were able to give us career advice and speak about their consulting experiences,” Vernegaard said in an e-mail. “Networking goes a long way in finding a job and the GW Alumni Office does a great job bringing people together.”