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Bill Rubin column: Congratulations grads, employers need you

Bill Rubin

The time honored tradition of commencements is here.

Graduates will be reminded by more than one speaker that commencement is not an ending, but a beginning. And yes, there will be opportunities to hit the re-set button, whether the button pertains to getting one's act together or following one's heart to paths less traveled.

For high schoolers transitioning to college or universities, including technical colleges, the only way to determine if those pegs fit into holes is to give it a try. Hopefully it is not an expensive lesson. Some may be ready; others, not so much. The following was overheard from a clerk at a convenience store, "I went to fill-in-the-blank college (identity withheld) for a year, but didn't like it (or pick the reason)." And so it goes.

College and high school grads are entering a hot-hot-hot job market. Starting a few years ago, more people were retiring than entering the labor market. Wisconsin's unemployment rate for April is at the historic low rate of 2.8%. The U.S. rate is at an unheard rate of 3.6%. If you believe news from the Department of Labor, a recent report suggested there were 7.8 million jobs openings in the U.S. The harsh reality: the gap between this estimate and number of unemployed people was 1.3 million. Yep, more jobs than people. In Wisconsin alone, the jobs bank has 90,000+ openings.

Don't overlook the military. See the world. Earn life-long benefits, extending to education and even home ownership.

Don't overlook the trades and labor. A two-year degree these days translates into solid jobs in construction, welding, metal fabrication, electrical. Hospitals and clinics seek new associates that form the foundation of their organizations — Registered Nurses, Certified Nursing Assistants, technicians, and dietary specialists.

To the grads of 2019, Congratulations! It's time to take it to the next level. The St. Croix Valley is a special place. Many grads will discover this along the way. Employers here have plenty of openings, too.