Students uncertain about local jobs

According to YSU Outcome Report in the 2019-2020 academic year, 77% of students stayed within 30 miles of Youngstown after graduation. Photo by Mia Albaugh / Jambar contributor

By Mia Albaugh

Recent statistics show an increasing number of Youngstown State University students staying in the Mahoning Valley, despite many claims of wanting to leave.

Christian Febinger, a senior biology major, is one of the students who wants to leave.

“I’ve lived here all my life and I’m ready for a change,” Febinger said. “My top concern is that I’m not going to find a stable job and that I’m not going to find a job at all.”

In a recent poll with over 40 YSU students conducted by The Jambar, 62% said they want to leave the area when they graduate, leaving 38% undecided. No students in the poll voted that they have decided to stay.

In graduate reports of both YSU and Ohio State University, more graduates of YSU stayed in their hometown than graduates of the much bigger city school in Columbus.

In the YSU Graduate Outcome Report for the academic year 2019-2020, 77% of students stayed within 30 miles of Youngstown after graduating college. 

While these numbers could be skewed from the pandemic, the report from the prior year indicated over half of YSU graduates stayed in Ohio. The academic year 2018-2019 of the YSU Graduate Outcome Report stated 63% of students stayed.

According to the OSU 2016-2021 trend report, in the 2019-2020 academic year 37.1% of students stayed in the Columbus area after graduation. In the 2018-2019 academic year, 39% of OSU graduates stayed in the Columbus area.

The Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber offers a program called Jobs Now in partnership with local broadcaster WKBN, Sara Boyarko said. She is the chief operating officer and senior vice president of economic development for the chamber.

Boyarko said this program gives highlights of local businesses that are members of the regional chamber. It airs during the 5 p.m. WKBN news segment to let viewers know about employment opportunities. Viewers can visit the WKBN website to learn how to apply. 

Malik Montgomery, junior music technology and recording major, said he will go where the opportunities are.

“I’m more of a, you know, let the wind take me wherever [type of person],” he said. “So, if a good opportunity pops up here, I might stay. If a good opportunity pops up in South Dakota, I’ll go there.”

According to a report by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services’ Office of Workforce Development, only 1.4% of the jobs in the Mahoning Valley are related to arts, entertainment and recreation. Health care and social assistance fields offer the most employment opportunities in the Mahoning Valley.

As stated in the ODJ report, the percentage of people in the area that are health care workers is growing, at 22.3% and trending.

According to a report by the Office of Institutional Research and Analytics, YSU’s top five most popular majors are nursing BSN, criminal justice, social work, biology and early childhood education.

The number of students currently majoring in these are:

  •     320 in nursing 
  •     451 in criminal justice 
  •     381 in early childhood
  •     391 in biology
  •     233 in social work


Molly O’Brien, freshman nursing major, hopes to find a job at Akron Children’s Hospital in Boardman to stay local. 

Antonio Rojas, a freshman computer science major, said he is family-oriented and hopes to find a job close to home. He has family in Loraine and an uncle in Youngstown, Ohio. Rojas said he would stay in Youngstown for a good job opportunity.

Hyeji Hong, a senior English education major, came from Korea to learn English. She plans to go back home to Korea and teach English there.

Justin Edwards, director of Career Exploration and Development at YSU, said it’s important to not only find a job but find the right job.

“It’s important to be excited about the work that we’re doing every day when we wake up,” he said. “The more that we invest as students right now, in who we are, and how we match with those opportunities, the higher likelihood that we continue to wake up and be excited about the work we are doing.”