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Nearly 98% of recent UW-Eau Claire graduates are employed

| Judy Berthiaume

Photo caption: Nearly 98% of recent UW-Eau Claire graduates report that they are employed and working in jobs they believe will help them achieve their career goals. Blugolds continue to be in demand as employers look to hire interns and to fill full-time positions. (Photo by Shane Opatz)

Despite the pandemic-related chaos of the last two years, most Blugolds are finding jobs in their fields shortly after graduation, according to the most recent First Destination Report.

In the survey, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire students who graduated in August and December of 2020 and May 2021 report a nearly 98% placement rate, with about 93% of the recent graduates saying they are employed in a position that relates to their career goals.

The survey results are “remarkable” for multiple reasons, says Billy Felz, interim vice chancellor for enrollment management.

“It demonstrates the great opportunities and insights our students are getting through their academic programs and from UWEC’s outstanding faculty,” Felz says. “Blugolds are going into the workplace and making a difference.”

The survey includes responses from 2,206 2020-21 graduates, 2,000 of whom earned their undergraduate degrees and 206 who received graduate degrees.

Highlights from the 2020-21 First Destination Report include:

  • 97.6% placement rate.
  • 93% of employed undergraduates reported that their position is related to their career goals.
  • 90% agreed that they were prepared for the next step in their career path.
  • 89% had a job offer prior to or within a month of graduation.
  • Average starting salary in 2020-21 for UW-Eau Claire undergraduates is $47,544.

“Given how challenging these last two years have been because of COVID-19, I am thrilled that such a large percentage of our recent graduates reported that they are employed and in positions that will help them achieve their career goals,” says Staci Heidtke, director of Career Services. “This affirms that our graduates have the skills and career competencies desired by employers. It also tells us that our efforts to help students create a plan for their career path before they graduate is valuable.”

The pandemic disrupted all college students’ studies and campus experiences, but for many it also shut down the typical paths that would lead them to their first jobs after graduation. Many internships were canceled, companies made fewer new hires and the usual networking opportunities, such as career fairs on campus, were eliminated or made virtual.

However, despite the challenges, Blugolds continue to be very much in demand, Heidtke says. UW-Eau Claire’s students — with the help and support of faculty and staff — continue to have the kinds of knowledge and experiences that set them apart when applying for internships and jobs, Heidtke says.

“Our students are resilient and have bounced back from an uncertain job market due to the pandemic,” Heidtke says. “These recent graduates tell us they’re satisfied with the education they received while earning their degrees at UW-Eau Claire and that they were able to develop valuable career pathways. Both of those things lead to economic mobility.”

Employers looking to fill internship and full-time positions continue to connect with Blugolds in a variety of ways, such as through Career Services’ in-person career fairs and virtual programs, as well as through contacts with UW-Eau Claire faculty and staff.

“Our students and recent graduates are in great demand,” says Heidtke, noting that some students are getting multiple offers for internships and jobs. “There are many internships available for students and many of them are hybrid and remote. Many employers have the technical capability to offer remote internships, which are much more flexible. It really expands the number of options available for students when they consider remote experiences too.”

In the First Destination survey, 58% of the graduates said they had completed an internship, with 32% of respondents reporting that they had completed at least two internships while attending UW-Eau Claire. Those numbers are important because internships often lead to full-time job offers, Heidtke says.

The “amazing” numbers found in the First Destination Report also should assure future Blugolds and their families that UW-Eau Claire prepares students for future success, Felz says.

“It tells them that our students leave here ready to follow their dreams and passions, and are being very successful as they do it,” Felz says.

For more information about the First Destination Report survey results, contact Staci Heidtke, director of Career Services, at 715-836-2261 or or Billy Felz, interim vice chancellor for enrollment management, at