After a year like no other, WSU graduates readying to enter an evolving workforce

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Hundreds of students spent the weekend walking across the stage at Koch Arena getting their degrees.

“It’s sad to leave them, but I’m also really excited,” said Wichita State Graduate David Garcia.

After spending four years at WSU, he is ready to jump into his career field. He says similar to a school year filled with virtual classes and meetings, applying for jobs is no different.

“It’s not the same when you’re meeting with people over Zoom, you’re doing interviews through the internet. It was definitely difficult and weird to adjust,” he said.

This time last year, it was a struggle for many graduates to find jobs. WSU Shockers Career Accelerator, Director of Applied Learning Brian Austin said the market is looking more optimistic this year. Although companies are shifting their recruitment model to the digital side.

“We have students that have reported having dozens of dozens of virtual interviews now. It used to be the first step was a phone interview or, you know, some sort of quick pre-screen,” Austin said.

Technology even being more than an interview platform in some cases.

“Students will be asked, ‘Hey, will you submit a video recording, answer these questions,’ and no one actually views that,” Austin said. “AI (technology) will measure your facial responses and things like that and sort of rate your answer, and then if you pass that, then you get the virtual interview with the panel.”

Many students still curious on what their work environment will look like.

“There’s a lot of things to work out between pandemic life and getting back to regular life,” Wichita State Graduate Kate Custis said. “I’m excited to see how we emerge and grow in a profession moving forward.”

Austin said one bright side of the digital shift is that many jobs are still remote, opening up new opportunities for students here in Kansas.

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