EAU CLAIRE — Within six months of graduating in August 2021, December 2021 or May 2022, more than 99% of UW-Stout graduates say they are currently employed, continuing their education or serving in the military, according to the university’s 2021-2022 First Destination Report.
Of the 1,333 graduates with known statuses included in the report, 59% are employed in Wisconsin. Altogether, the 2021-2022 graduates are spread across 38 U.S. states and six countries.
Total, 1,611 students graduated in 2021-2022, but 278 are unaccounted for in the report’s findings. Students who responded to post-graduation surveys, communicated with the university or updated their employment statuses on social media were included in the report.
“UW-Stout continues to be a national leader in preparing and placing students in successful careers,” Chancellor Katherine Frank stated in a university news release. “Our approach to career placement is intentional and strategic; it depends on in-depth and long-standing relationships with industry and business partners who help to inform student preparation throughout the university and across all academic programs.
“Successful career placement through applied learning and collaboration with external partners is embedded in our mission as Wisconsin’s Polytechnic University,” Frank added.
Last school year’s employment rate is up by 1% from 2020-2021, making it the best in the region, according to the university. Since at least 2000, the average employment rate for graduates has been above 97% and has averaged above 98% for the past six years.
The average starting salary for Stout’s 2021-2022 graduates is $53,000 —surpassing the statewide average starting salary of $41,912, according to ZipRecruiter. The national average is $47,479. The amount increased by about $4,000 over the past two years, the university stated.
UW-Stout graduates were hired at 54 Fortune 500 companies. Select top employers include 3M, Marshfield Clinic Health System, Mayo Clinic Health System, Menards, Milwaukee Tool, Walmart and Walt Disney World.
Approximately 60% of the students included in the report had jobs before graduating. Within four months, 96% had jobs. The graduating classes included 65 veterans and 488 first-generation college students, both with a nearly 100% employment rate.
Heather Dietsche, of Bloomer, said UW-Stout gave her a “solid foundation to transfer (her) knowledge and skills to a professional position.” Andrew Campion, of River Falls, said UW-Stout’s programs “allow students to discover themselves and truly find their purpose by applying their skills in real-world projects,” according to the university.
The percentage of graduates finding work directly related to their major was strong at 94.5%, the university stated.
“We have continued to build upon our long-standing history of high rates for career outcomes of our students, as well as deepening and widening the career opportunities for our students through expanded partnerships, new employers and industry supported collaborations,” stated Bryan Barts, director of Career Services, which produced the First Destination report.
Dietsche, a first-generation student and mother who returned to school at age 27, is a science, technology, engineering and mathematics graduate who earned a degree in plastics engineering in December 2021, according to the university. She accepted an engineering job at Phillips-Medisize in Menomonie before she received her diploma.
“Stout (was) a positive and supportive environment for me to earn an engineering degree. I feel 100% prepared to work in a manufacturing environment,” she stated, noting 2½ years of co-op field experiences.
Campion, a professional communication and emerging media major, told the university that research experiences and an internship helped set him up for success when he landed a technical writer position before graduation at Entrust, an information security solutions provider, in Shakopee, Minn.
“This is an advantage compared to those who are stuck without experience or first-hand accounts of what they are studying,” stated Campion. “UW-Stout helped me find my true passion for technical writing, and the professors, curriculum, internship experience and relevant coursework helped me stay focused and excited to be successful.”
UW-Stout’s undergraduate and graduate programs require at least one experiential learning activity before graduation, the university stated. This includes co-ops, internships, practicums and field experiences.
Contributing to the university’s “strong hired-before-graduating tradition” are the Cooperative Education and Internship Program and the biannual Career Conferences, which connect students to business and industry. In 2021-2022, more than 1,100 students participated in CEIP, the university stated, and recently more than 325 state and national employers attended the Spring Career Conference.
“We often hear students express that they would have never known about the career opportunities that were out there if not engaging in our career events, programs and resources,” Barts stated. “It’s the students themselves who see the value of applied learning experiences as pivotal to their career success, often serving as a launching pad to their first position after graduating from UW-Stout.”