With so many college graduations this month, we wanted to know if any grads will be staying in Erie, or if the job market has them heading elsewhere.
Unfortunately for today's graduates, getting a diploma doesn't mean you'll get a job; but in Erie, things may be turning around for recent grads.
"I think the people who have the passion to stay in Erie who would like to start building up the community here, they're definitely looking for jobs here," said hotel management major Alisha Catalino, "whether it's gonna be starting at the lower end of things and willing to work their way up, or getting the management level right off the bat at graduation."
Catalino was part of Mercyhurst University's class of 2013, who graduated on Sunday.
"I feel like there are a lot of people who are staying around or they're at least willing to stay around and look for something because Erie has so much to offer," agreed Mercyhurst criminal justice and sociology major Paige Bosnyak. Both women are staying in Erie.
Some students are wary though, as jobs threaten to leave our area.
"The GE situation obviously raises some red flags to some students, especially if that was the type of industry they're looking to get into," said Dr. Kris Gossett, Assistant Professor of Management at Mercyhurst University.
Many have found, however, that there's a permanent place for them in the Gem City.
"I did see a lot of opportunity in Erie the direction I was going," said Bosnyak, "the criminal justice and sociology was more focused on the community development which Erie has a lot of opportunity for... so I found it pretty easy to find a job here."
Places like the convention center and the Sheraton hotel are part of Erie's growing tourism industry, which is keeping more and more grads here to start their careers.
"I definitely think that there's a lot of opportunity for hospitality management in the Erie area just because there's so many restaurants and the hotels," said Catalino, "so there's definitely a need for recent college graduates, because we do have the education behind it."
"A lot of people in our major are staying in Erie because there's a lot of hotel chains so they can start off with Marriott or Hilton and work their way up," said her classmate Rosemary Macey.
Students have found openings in other fields, too.
"Any type of health field is pretty good, so for even business majors that are going into health services... the job markets still pretty good," said Dr. Gossett.
Many students from out of town are choosing to keep Erie as their home, after a positive college experience here.
"A lot of it depends on internships," said Dr. Gossett, "if they can get a good internship they're more likely to stay, that's what the data finds out."
One of those students is Richard Molloy, who came from Ireland to study at Mercyhurst.
"I was very fortunate and I had some good connections," he said of the job he landed at Erie Insurance. "I kind of wanted to stay in Erie because I like it. I know the winters are cold but on days like today I don't know how anyone couldn't like it."
Alisha Catalino also won't be returning to her hometown of Rochester, New York. "I just feel like my chapter here isn't done in Erie," she said, "I really enjoyed going to school at Mercyhurst and I just feel like I need to give back to the community and just build it up more."
Mercyhurst University graduated more than 500 students on Sunday, from their main campus. Overall, the school's four locations handed out more than 1,000 diplomas this Spring.
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