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Sac State Winter Grads Entering Better Job Market

Courtesy of Sacramento State

Courtesy of Sacramento State

Sacramento State is holding winter commencement ceremonies at Sleep Train Arena Friday and Saturday.

Nearly 3,500 students are graduating.

Sac State President Robert Nelsen says he plans to shake each graduate's hand.

"They deserve more than that," says Nelsen. "I'll let them at least have that as I get to say goodbye to them."

The grads of 2015 are entering a much better job market compared with the recession years. "A lot of them are coming out with jobs already in hand," says Nelsen.

That includes 22-year-old Taylor Haines. She's getting her Bachelor's in music and is already working.

"I teach with two different studios in Sacramento, teaching voice and just starting to teach beginning piano," says Haines. "So I'm looking forward to my post-Sac State life."

Brigitte Clark heads Sac State's Career Center. Clark says she's seen a record number of employers at campus job fairs to hire students. She says it was hard getting students to attend job fairs on campus last semester.

"And we're not surprised at that," says Clark, "because when the job market is hot and it's up, students have more options." 

Many of the graduating students are older, like Bethany Renfree, a single-mom of five kids.

"I knew I needed to go back to school to be like fully self-sufficient for me and the kids," says Renfree.

Data show students over the age of 24 represented 36 percent of the total fall 2015 U.S. college enrollments.

Renfree says being on campus with younger students was intimidating at first.

"They had their young and hip cars and I pulled in my mini-van and kind of squeezed it into a spot," says Renfree. "I did feel kind of out of place. And then I got to find my own individual self again."

Renfree is getting her Masters degree in Government. Next month she'll be starting a new job managing policy for the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls.

During Saturday's commencement ceremonies, Joyce Raley Teel will be awarded an honorary doctorate. The daughter of Raley's grocery store chain founder Thomas Raley, Teel started the company's Food for Families charity.

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