Recent USC graduates have strong hiring prospects, career center director says

University of South Carolina graduates can count on strong university recognition to help them gain employment in the workforce, a university official said.

Tom Halasz, director of the USC Career Center, said the university has positioned itself during the past few years to be a competitive recruiter of talent for the job market.

“The future of the university and its students is very very bright. It is tied to success of the state of South Carolina,” said Halasz.

Recent graduates are making a smooth transition into the workplace through partnerships with local businesses and an aggressive vision helmed by university President Harris Pastides.

Halasz said USC grads are making gains in several fields. Successful students are coming out of the Darla Moore School of Business accounting and global supply chain programs. Engineering — particularly chemical engineering — also is a hotbed of talented individuals, according to Halasz.

“There are really significant increases in demand for engineers,” he said. “Folks from Exxon have really been interested in our students.”

Halasz said finance students thrive because of the university’s proximity to the Bank of America headquarters in Charlotte. Nursing students, on the other hand, have found employment closer to home at places like Palmetto Health, Providence Hospital and Lexington Medical Center.

Students who graduate from the university’s education program also find success in the classroom in nearby school districts.

Halasz couldn’t point to just one particular characteristic that makes USC standout. He said a combination of curriculum, faculty, staff and the administration’s push for innovation has attributed to the university’s recognition as a world-class academic institution.

But Pastides made a strategic move a few years ago that helped move the university through the economic recession. Halasz said when the university received stimulus funding, Pastides chose to fund internships for students.

At the time, Halasz said, most employers were not interested in interns because of job cutbacks. The university decided to partner with employers and reimburse the companies 50 percent of the student intern’s pay. As a result, employers began to look to USC for new hires.

“This was a sign because employers remembered who was there during downturn and who helped them out,” Halasz said.

There’s also the success of Palmetto College, an initiative Pastides spearheaded a year ago that found state support. The initiative offers seven different bachelor’s programs from business administration to criminal justice that can be completely mostly online. It’s especially attractive to returning students, particularly those who might not have completed their degree, Halasz said. He said the Palmetto College offers those students an opportunity to complete their education and be more competitive in the employment market.

The program also is offered at the university’s satellite campuses, including USC Aiken, USC Columbia, USC Beaufort and USC Upstate.

Halasz offers three tips for USC graduates looking to successfully move into the workplace. He says students should get started early, gain experience and use multiple sources. Halasz suggests students should begin looking for internship opportunities early and often and should take advantage of the on-the-job experience. He also said students should look to alumni and the career center as additional resources for mentoring and career advice.

The career center offers employment fairs, preparation for interviews and job shadowing with professionals.

“Students who use all of our resources are more likely to be successful,” Halasz said.

More information about careers post-graduation is available at the USC career center website.