Menomonie, Wis. — Elected officials from President Obama to Gov. Scott Walker have called on U.S. colleges and universities to work harder to prepare graduates for careers upon graduation. A recent report shows University of Wisconsin-Stout continues to excel in workforce preparation.

The UW-Stout Career Services office new employment report showed that 97 percent of the graduates from 2011-2012 had either found positions or were furthering their education. The rate is similar to last year and continues a trend of more than a decade with an employment rate at or above 97 percent. The report also had a response rate of 91.5 percent, compared to 86 percent last year.

Chancellor Sorensen

Chancellor Sorensen

“We keep hearing from state and federal officials how universities need to get serious about ensuring their graduates are prepared for fulfilling career and jobs are available for those graduates,” said Chancellor Charles W. Sorensen. “UW-Stout has been answering that challenge for decades.”

Sorensen said he was particularly pleased that 79.3 percent of the employed graduates were working within their field of study. That compares to 77 percent of 2010-11 graduates working in their field of study.

“This is a clear indication that our majors are aligned with the needs of employers,” Sorensen said. “We are offering majors that clearly are needed by business and industry because they snap up our graduates in these fields.”

Amy Lane

Amy Lane, Career Services director

Another area that improved, Sorensen said, was the median starting salary that 2011-12 graduates reported. The median salary was $40,000 a year in the most recent report, compared to $37,000 last year and $35,000 the year before. Six majors had starting median annual salaries in excess of $50,000.

“These starting salaries show that an education at UW-Stout is still a great investment,” Sorensen said, adding,

“Furthermore, 28 of our majors reported 100 percent placement of their graduates.”

Amy Lane, Career Services director, attributed the continual success of UW-Stout graduates in the workplace to the fact that “employers know that UW-Stout students have an excellent work ethic and ability to contribute to the organization from their first day on the job.”

More than 925 students participated in the UW-Stout cooperative education program last year, Lane said, through which students get paid to work in a position related to their major at a company and earn college credit.

Tara Bartolomeo

Tara Bartolomeo, a 2011-12 UW-Stout graduate

“Students who participate in a co-op have realistic expectations of the world of work and are able to apply their knowledge at an organization upon graduation,” Lane said. “The co-op advantage benefits all three partners: student, employer and the university.  At UW-Stout we build strong partnerships with organizations to help them develop a strong talent pipeline of new hires each year. Many new hires are co-op students who have worked at these companies while taking the co-op course as part of their curriculum at UW-Stout.”

Other types of experience students have each year include student teaching and practicums.

One of the 2011-12 graduates was Tara Bartolomeo, a retail merchandising and management graduate from Pewaukee, who landed a position as product development coordinator for Kohl’s corporate office in Menomonee Falls.

“I first came to UW-Stout to visit my identical twin and fell in love with the campus,” Bartolomeo said. “From the unique and career-focused majors, to the industry experienced professors, I am very pleased that I transferred to UW-Stout.”

The full employment report can be found at