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TAMU-CC Fall 2021 graduates cross the stage, look forward to what the future holds

TAMU-CC graduation saw 870 degrees conferred to this year's class. For healthcare students like Adriana Hurtado entering the workforce, the prospects are endless.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — More than 800 students graduated today at the American Bank Center from Texas A&M University Corpus Christi as students from its five schools received their degrees.

However, they find themselves in an unprecedented situation entering the workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the class of 2021 prepares for its next chapter, the celebration begins.

"I'm so happy that I get to graduate the semester that we come back in-person because I feel like, not that it wouldn't have been exciting, but I feel like I wouldn't have even gotten the full experience if I wouldn't have gotten to walk the stage today," graduate Adriana Hurtado said.

TAMU-CC graduation saw 870 degrees conferred to this year's class. For healthcare students like Hurtado entering the workforce, the prospects are endless.

"Today after the pandemic, it showed us how crucial healthcare is in general,” Dr. Hassan Aziz said. “Not only our nursing graduates, but also our healthcare administration graduates are in high demand."

That's reflective of the U.S. workforce in general. According to economics professor Jim Lee, unemployment rates for these college graduates is effectively zero percent.

"Because of labor shortages everywhere, practically in every industry, every employer is looking for some workers, so again employers can be very choosey,” Lee said. “These are the best of times that I can say I've ever seen in decades, so they are lucky."

Hurtado was recognized as one of her classes' outstanding graduates. Her time in the School of Nursing and Health Sciences prepared her to begin a career in healthcare administration that looks much different now.

"It's a good way to start my career off,” Hurtado said. “The industry is very active right now and there's a lot of change going on in our industry. So, it's pretty exciting to be going into the industry in a moment of change cause COVID did in fact change a lot of our procedures and stuff like that."

Whether they're on the front line or working behind the scenes, Dr. Aziz says healthcare workers need to keep their own health in mind, too.

"One thing we need to really work on is to address the mental health of our students and our healthcare workers in general,” Aziz said. “We just need to make sure that we address those needs and really just take it more seriously. That’s how can we retain our graduates after they graduate and how they are in the field."

It's unusual for graduates to have such good job prospects during a recession. But during the unpredictable times of COVID-19, these graduates find themselves in a unique situation.

For the latest updates on coronavirus in the Coastal Bend, click here.

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