After a rocky two years during the pandemic, national job listings are now at a record high of 11.5 million. Graduating seniors at Columbia College Chicago are taking notice of this shift, and many are feeling more secure about landing a job.
Illustration major Erin Petersen, 21, of Chicago has already been hired to illustrate backgrounds and characters for casino games at the company Light & Wonder. “Before I got the job I was a lot more nervous,” she said. “I was expecting to go jobless for a year, perhaps, continuing to improve my abilities.”
Musical theater major Jerod Turner, 21, of Chicago has also found a job post-graduation. He’s scored a summer position at Post Playhouse in Crawford, Neb., performing in musicals. “Two years ago, I didn’t know if I’d still be performing or what I would like to do,” he said. “But I think with my time at Columbia…I discovered a lot of other things I could market myself as.” Thankfully, Turner didn’t need to those backup plans, having landed job in his field.
Of course, not everyone is graduating with a job lined up. Marcine Gladney, 22, of Chicago, who also is a musical theater major, is still searching for an internship before finding a job. “It is a bit harder for musical theater majors to find, specifically, a paid internship,” he said. “I’m currently still filling out more internship applications, so it’s kind of like a waiting game.”
Gladney remains optimistic about the job market in theater, however. and says one of the great things
about the industry is the endless opportunities within it. “There’s so much to do in [musical] theater. Not only being on stage, but being off stage, behind the scenes. There’s also crew, choreographing, directing, stage management, [and] lighting,” he said.
Social media and digital strategies major Alejandra Morroquin, 21, of Chicago says opportunities in her chosen profession have been increasing. She’s lined up an eight-month fellowship program at at The Brand Lab, where she’ll be working with clients, and learning about marketing and advertising.
“I knew that I wanted to be a social media coordinator for influencers, but I still felt like I had a
lot to learn, and I didn’t want to go to grad school,” she said. “So when I heard about this
program, this was the first thing that sparked something in my brain like, ‘I need to get this.’”
Darlene Jackson, creative industry liaison at Columbia College Chicago, says the prospects for graduates look very good this year. “A few people that I’ve advised have already set up jobs for the summer or going into the fall,” she said. “I’ve been very encouraged by the feedback I’ve gotten from people that I’ve been advising, and [I’m] really happy for them.”