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Job outlook for classes of 2020, 2021 falling flat amid pandemic

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Posted at 4:07 PM, Jan 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-13 16:07:19-05

Cameron McNelis’ hopes of becoming a professional pilot have been temporarily grounded.

“Essentially with the pandemic, it’s definitely hurt the aviation industry,” he said.

McNelis recently graduated Magna Cum Laude from MSU Denver, earning a degree in aviation and aerospace science.

Prior to turning his tassel, he had a job offer from a major airline.

With that industry furloughing thousands of employees during the COVID-19 crisis, however, McNelis says the offer was taken off the table.

“Unfortunately, with a few airlines with the oncoming of the pandemic, they have delayed bringing on new pilots,” he said.

McNelis now finds himself in a situation like many recent college grads across the country -- struggling to find a job in the industry they studied.

“It literally is like flat in terms of not hiring,” said Shawn Vanderziel, executive director with the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

New research from his team’s Job Outlook for 2021 shows recent college grads are being hit hard be the COVID-19 crisis.

“A year ago, the unemployment for recent college grads was lower than it is currently,” Vanderziel said.

The study shows a third of employers are predicting lower recruitment for the class of 2021 compared to last year.

Despite the struggles, Vanderziel says there are jobs available but that they just might not be in the industries these graduates prepared for years to enter.

“Some examples would be health care, certain segments of technology, certain segments of logistics, pharmaceuticals, and as well as food manufacturing,” he said.

Vanderziel says industries suffering the most are retail, hospitality, tourism and travel, an area which McNelis hopes to make a career in.

“It’s been tough just feeling that sensation is stagnating a little bit,” he said.

While job searching, McNelis plans on continuing building his qualifications and increasing his education

“I’m moving forward as best as I can under the circumstances, trying to leave as many doors as possible open,” he said.

For now, this future pilot is practicing patience, just like many other recent college graduates.