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For Recent Black College Graduates, a Tougher Road to Employment

Graduate Frederick Anderson stands in the pouring rain as President Obama acknowledges him during his Morehouse College 129th Commencement ceremony address. (Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo)
Graduate Frederick Anderson stands in the pouring rain as President Obama acknowledges him during his Morehouse College 129th Commencement ceremony address in 2013. (Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo)

(New York Times) – William Zonicle did what all the job experts advise. He majored in a growing field like health care. He studied hard and took time to develop relationships with his professors. Most important, he obtained a great internship in the human resources department at Florida Hospital in Tampa the summer before his senior year.

But more than seven months after receiving his diploma from Oakwood University, a historically black religious school in Huntsville, Ala., Mr. Zonicle is still without a job in his field. Instead, he is working part-time for $7.60 an hour at a Barnes & Noble bookstore in the center of town.

“It was tougher than I expected,” said Mr. Zonicle, 23, who applied for jobs at hospitals and nursing homes from Ohio to Florida after graduating in May. “Because of the work I had put in as an undergraduate, and making connections, I thought it would be easier to find a decent position.”

College graduates have survived both the recession and ho-hum recovery far better than those without a degree, but blacks who finished four years of college are suffering from unemployment rates that are painfully high compared with their white counterparts.

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