WMU Home > About WMU > WMU News

WMU News

Vast majority of WMU graduates remain in Michigan

May 8, 2007

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University graduates have staying power.

"In addition to persevering and earning their degrees, the vast majority of our students remain in Michigan after graduation," says Lynn Kelly-Albertson, WMU executive director of Career and Student Employment Services.

"We graduated 2,900 students last Saturday. If past history repeats itself, more than 2,300 of them will stay here and contribute to the state's economy. This speaks volumes about Michigan's attractiveness as well as the caliber, commitment and enthusiasm of our alumni."

According to WMU's most recent full-year survey findings, 89 percent of the University's graduating seniors and recent alumni reported in 2006 that they either already had jobs or would be pursuing graduate-level work within three months. Ninety percent of the respondents planning to continue their educations said they would do so at Michigan schools.

"The percentage of respondents who reported finding work in Michigan in 2005-06 was 80 percent or higher for most of our seven academic colleges," Kelly-Albertson says. "At 92 percent, arts and sciences graduates reported the highest rate of in-state employment. They were followed by education graduates at 85 percent, business graduates at 83 percent, health and human services graduates at 81 percent and fine arts graduates at 77 percent."

Engineering alumni were in high demand at home and across the country. Even so, Kelly-Albertson points out, 63 percent of WMU-educated engineers reported accepting jobs in Michigan. Kelly-Albertson reports that students from the University's College of Aviation primarily found jobs out of state, as was expected.

"Many good employment opportunities remain in Michigan, and our students are not only seeking them, they're getting hired," says WMU Interim President Diether H. Haenicke. "We turn out talented, hard-working professionals who have long been known for being able to hit the ground running."

Haenicke notes that many of the University's undergraduate programs require or recommend an internship or co-op experience as part of their degrees.

"Our students have numerous opportunities to gain practical experience, and our campus culture promotes the skills, values and work ethic employers are looking for," he adds. "This allows our students to be immediately productive and begin making their mark on the state's economy."

Demand for WMU alumni by employers from other states and countries is on the upswing. The University's annual Career Fair this winter drew the largest number of employers in its history, and so many schools wanted to participate in the annual Teacher Education Job Fair this spring that organizers had to make overflow room to avoid turning some of these employers away.

The nationwide job market is particularly strong for WMU graduates in health-care fields. The University's speech pathology and audiology alumni have enjoyed a 100 placement rate for the past several years, for example, and those studying to be physician assistants usually receive multiple job offers well before they earn their diplomas. Meanwhile, 98 percent of the University's occupational therapy students find employment within eight weeks of graduation.

"We had a 53 percent increase in recruiting activity over last year, with many more employer presentations, interviewing, information nights and networking opportunities for our students," Kelly-Albertson says. "Despite this interest in our graduates by out-of-state employers, the trend is still for only about 20 percent of our graduates to take jobs outside of Michigan."

A top-100 public university, WMU is the fourth largest higher education institution in Michigan and one of the state's major research universities. It attracts nearly 25,000 students and offers 141 bachelor's programs, 66 master's programs and 29 doctoral programs. A wide variety of these offerings have earned a national or international reputation for quality. In addition, WMU offers numerous distance and lifelong learning programs and has branch campuses in eight Michigan locations.

For more information, contact Lynn Kelly-Albertson at lynn.kelly-albertson@wmich.edu or (269) 387-2745.

Media contact: Thom Myers, (269) 387-8400, thom.myers@wmich.edu

WMU News
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
(269) 387-8400