A recent survey of 2009 Black Hills State University graduates revealed that respondents are finding employment in their desired location either before graduation or within a brief period of time following graduation.

“The survey confirms what we’ve been hearing from our graduates at commencement. The majority are securing employment either before they graduate or shortly after graduation,” BHSU President Kay Schallenkamp says.

BHSU, which reached a record enrollment last year, has increased the number of graduates by 21 percent over the past five years. The areas of study at BHSU with the largest number of graduates are business, education, human services and mass communications.

The majority of the respondents chose to live in South Dakota – 81 percent of all employed graduates remain in state.

“While many of our graduates choose to remain in this area, this survey revealed that our graduates are finding employment in the geographic area they desire and are employed by a wide range of businesses and organizations,” Schallenkamp says.

Of the graduates with a preference for a specific location, more than 80 percent found employment in their desired location including several who are now employed internationally. Schallenkamp cited the example of a recent education graduate who landed her dream job teaching in Morocco.
Starting salaries included several graduates from the College of Business and Technology in the $60,000-$80,000 range.

“BHSU graduates are successfully securing employment in their chosen career fields even as the region and nation continues to struggle with a weak economy,” Arlene Holmes, director of the Career Center at BHSU, says. “Starting salaries range greatly depending on the industry and geographic region. It’s exciting to work with these graduates as they begin their careers and see their hard work and perseverance in earning a degree lead to employment in their chosen career field and location.”

Holmes noted that many of the graduates are in entry level positions that offer great potential for advancement within the next few years.

The single largest sector employing the survey respondents was education, which employs 64 percent of the graduates who listed an employer. Other types of employment include retail, government, hospitality, human services, accounting, financial services, and real estate. Employers include 43 school districts in South Dakota and a variety of businesses and organizations.

Other findings from the 2009 BHSU graduate survey:
• Nearly 75 percent of the survey respondents secured employment either before they graduated or within three months of graduation.
• Nearly 91 percent of the respondents were either employed or attending graduate school.
• Of the respondents more than half reported an annual salary range of $31,000 to $70,000.

BHSU delivers a growing number of courses in Rapid City to meet an emerging demand from adult learners in the state’s second largest city. BHSU, which offers 71 academic programs through three colleges, recently added two new options – a general studies degree and a corporate communications major.