Poughkeepsie, N.Y. – As I left Donnelly I looked up and read a number, 194, in digital, red lighting. Every senior at Marist knows the number I am talking about.
It’s the number on the “days until graduation” sign.
For most of us, this is a source of anxiety. It begs the question, “What next?”
Tim Massie, former Chief Public Affairs Officer and Adjunct Professor at Marist weighs in, “Job prospects in and around Poughkeepsie are not enticing students to stay in the area unless they met a certain criteria or have interest in particular fields.”
This is an unfortunate, but considerable reality about Poughkeepsie. It serves as a place for students to come and have fun while they earn a degree. Then, the majority will leave in pursuit of gainful employment.
Some students remain in the area after graduation having received job offers from local organizations or businesses earlier in the year, but for the most part there is a sense of apathy about working in Poughkeepsie without being a part of the Marist community.
So, many will be forced to return home and work in their hometowns, or relocate to begin their jobs. Then again, for many students returning home means moving about the tri-state area, in many cases closer to New York City or areas more developed than Poughkeepsie.
Bronx native Vincent Mannarino is graduating in May. When asked if he would stay in the area after graduation he replied, “I actually have considered staying in the area for employment. Not specifically Poughkeepsie, but maybe another spot in the Hudson Valley.”
Mannarino went on to explain why he would have more options moving elsewhere. As you get closer to New York City finding a public relations position is easier to come across. There is more enterprise whereas Poughkeepsie may appear a dull place to live, especially on top of the initial challenges presented to anyone searching for a full-time entry-level position.
Alternatively, senior Robert Mitola is looking for a job in the computer science field. Luckily, the partnership between Marist and IBM‘s Poughkeepsie branch just down Route 9 presents numerous bright opportunities to graduating seniors yearly.
However, other job offers have encapsulated the environment Mitola would rather live and work in. Again, the desired location is New York City.
This is probably the biggest deterrent for Marist students entering the “real world” after graduation. Why stay in Poughkeepsie when the City holds countless job offerings?
That area, obviously more developed and densely populated, also holds a much more active nightlife for recent college graduates and other young adults to engage in.
As a result of the lack of industry as you go farther upstate in New York, generally less opportunities present themselves to candidates, like Michael McClatchey, who will be graduating in May with a degree in Business Administration.
When asked if he would stay in Poughkeepsie if offered a job McClatchey responded, “Yes, only if I knew I would have some friends up here too though.”
Nonetheless, McClatchey strives to live somewhere on Long Island, or in New York City depending on his employment. Again, such an appealing urban area is guaranteed to garner an immense majority of college graduates in search of housing and employment.
Although it is an area overflowing with college students, Poughkeepsie is a vastly different place for those uninvolved with the college communities.
As more Marist graduates enter the work field, will they contribute to the development of the surrounding area? Or will it remain a location for students to celebrate their last years as adolescents before becoming fully independent?