Remember freshman year: running through the dorms, partying in the student neighborhood and a little bit of school work thrown in. Now it’s senior year. The hangover has subsided, school is ending and you need a job. Stay in Dayton? This is not the first choice among many University of Dayton students.
Many UD students are forgoing any opportunities to work in Dayton after graduating and prefer to move back home or to a more scenic location. Bigger cities like Chicago, New York and Cleveland continue to draw students away every year.
Even though the university attempts to get its students to stay in Dayton, some of them just don’t like the appeal of the city and how hard it is getting hit by the recession.
“The city of Dayton doesn’t have a strong job market,” said UD alumni Anthony Fantone. “There are few things that the city could do outside of warming up the economic environment to encourage business back to the greater Dayton area.” With NCR Corporation leaving Dayton last summer, the biggest opportunity for graduating seniors seems to be Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, and even that has few openings to students other than ones involved in engineering.
While UD has done more over the past few years to help out its students with various job fairs and internship openings for companies in the Dayton area, a more intensive effort needs to be made. Professors make internships known by mass e-mails and in-office flyers, but many students find it hard to secure themselves an internship close by. “I’ve seen a lot of internship opportunities for the entire semester, but not many really for the summer, which I think would be more logical for UD students,” said UD finance major Matthew Cuculic.
UD created a site called the Hire a Flyer Network that allows students to search for jobs and internships in their specific field. The site was developed to help students find work, but many job postings are for out of state or out of the area work.
The city of Dayton could also do its part to keep students from leaving. “They should highlight some of the gems of the city of Dayton, and try and get people more involved in the community,” said graduating senior Lauren Kort. Some organizations like the Downtown Dayton Partnership try and get students involved in activities other than those found on campus, and make a conscious effort to get them to stay. UD students rarely venture beyond Miami Valley Hospital when it comes to downtown Dayton, so a little push needs to be made to get them involved in the surrounding community.
The university should make it a requirement for each student to apply for an internship, or at least discuss after school plans with their academic advisor. If the university and the city of Dayton do not make some kind of increased effort over the next few years, they will see a further decline in students interested in staying in The Gem City.