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Teaching in a tough job market

Union Graduate College prepares students for classrooms

Graduating from college in the midst of widespread layoffs in your field can be daunting, but some education students are rising above expectations and landing their dream jobs.

All that difficulty in the job search is more than worth it when you walk into a classroom and you get 25 kids smiling back to you, said Matt McDermott, a French teacher at Saratoga Springs High School. "That fulfillment you get from the job is priceless."

Federal aid is being distributed nationwide totaling $10 billion, and New York will be receiving $607.6 million of that, which is estimated to save 8,200 teaching jobs in the state, according to United States Department of Education. Nationwide, the education fund is estimated to save 160,000 teaching jobs.

Union Graduate College is reaching out and focusing on networking so its education students can have the best opportunity to find a job in their field, said Dean of Education at Union Graduate College Patrick Allen.

"Our biggest challenge is the fact that the job market is so bad," said Allen. "We've always had our students getting lots of interviews and opportunities, but the biggest challenge is just the market itself. This is the first year there has been so many teachers laid off and so few openings since the last 20 years."

Allen said the college has always done alumni networking and held mock panel interviews, but now the program is focusing on formalizing those efforts. In addition, the department has held social networking events in an informal setting to get students connected to faculty and fellow teachers.

"It puts a face to a name, and people get to know each other. It is like an informal interview," said Allen.

Education graduates credit the college's year-long teaching internship program as a key reason for their success in finding jobs.

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