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Hofstra Job Fair Challenges Companies To Invest In New Graduates

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- They're young, ambitious and educated. But there's one thing many college seniors are lacking: a job after they receive their diplomas.

"This is raw data, but the primary reason is that they have skill sets and college degrees which don't match up with the higher-paying jobs that the regional economy is creating," Martin Cantor, director of the Long Island Center for Socio-Economic Policy, told CBS 2's Jennifer McLogan.

That is compelling Hofstra University to challenge America's corporations to reinvest in youth. On Thursday, 112 companies came to to the campus' job fair, where about 1,000 soon-to-be graduates had face-to-face meetings with potential employers.

Forty percent of college seniors and recent graduates polled by Reuters this week fear their job prospects are bleak to none.

"I would definitely consider myself in that 40 percent of people," said Lara Nemeroff, who is majoring in broadcast journalism at Hofstra. " ... It's nerve-racking for everyone, and at this point I'm thinking, maybe should I go get my master's?"

"I don't want to graduate here and just end up moving back in with my parents," said Anthony Ramdhani, a business major.

Cantor said many recent graduates who do find jobs are only making about $20,000 a year.

"Most of these kids are living with their parents or in an illegal rental."

Still, the unemployment rate for college graduates is about half that of people with only a high school diploma.

Thursday's job fair was an opportunity for seniors to go beyond submitting an online resume.

"They need to come make that personal connection, whether it's in a fair like this or whether it's connecting with alumni, whether it's network events," said Gary Alan Miller, executive director of Hofstra's Career Center.

Complicating matters further, soon-to-be graduates are already being pressured to save for their futures.

"Simply just getting the job isn't enough," said marketing and information technology major Craig Camara. "I want it to be a good job, with a lot of room for growth."

Jessica Kingue is earning her MBA -- and a load of debt.

"I definitely have concern for the future," she said. "I am graduating and have to take care of my debts and other loans."

Among the options being presented to Hofstra students is the Peace Corps, which is looking for 30,000 young volunteers. They sign on for 27 months and become eligible for partial cancellation of student debt, earn a stipend and room and board, and travel the world.

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