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To counter the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the current job market, Colby College today announced the launch of Pay It Northward, a daring and strategic campaign focused on securing postgraduate opportunities for every member in its current senior class.
Of Colby’s approximately 500 students who will graduate at the end May, 200 have already secured jobs or made plans to attend graduate or professional school. The goal of Pay It Northward is to provide 300 meaningful opportunities within three months after graduation – either a full-time job, part-time employment, or a project/internship – for those students in the Class of 2020 who have yet to find a postgraduate position.
“I am not aware of another college ever taking on such an ambitious effort for a graduating class, but we do things differently at Colby,” said the College’s president, David Greene. “We know we are on this journey together, and we look out for one another along the way.”
The campaign is being spearheaded by Colby’s DavisConnects, a new model for liberal arts colleges focused on preparing students for lifelong success by integrating the College’s leading liberal arts education with unique internship, research, or global experiences for every student, regardless of personal and financial resources.
“Two months ago, the Class of 2020 was getting ready to enter into the hottest job market in decades, but that world no longer exists,” said Colby Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees Anne Clarke Wolff. “Now, more than ever, our job is to open doors that will give them the chance to start the careers for which they’ve worked so hard.”
Ms. Wolff, who graduated from Colby in 1987 and currently serves as managing director, head of global corporate banking and global leasing at Bank of America, noted that there are 40 Colby people currently working at the organization. “There are hundreds of members of the Colby community working in finance ready to help. We can all play a role in Paying it Northward and helping these incredible graduates.”
Significant Negative Impact Without a Strong Start
Pay It Northward is intended to help the Class of 2020 avoid negative outcomes that can occur when graduates start careers in a recession, including earning less for at least 10 to 15 years than those who graduate during periods of prosperity, having higher death rates in midlife, and being permanently stuck on a downward-shifted economic trajectory.*
The campaign also supports Colby’s strong momentum as a leader in providing resources and opportunities for students from all socioeconomic backgrounds. This is especially important given that a study from the National Bureau of Economics Research** found that college graduates at the bottom of the wage-and-ability distribution (i.e. disadvantaged students) experience larger and more persistent losses when entering the job market during recessions, while for those at the top the effects are smaller.