First jobs matter. They matter even more when you’re the first in your family to graduate from college. Even though financial and job security remain the top reasons why first-generation college students enroll in college, 40% of college graduates are underemployed, meaning they are working in jobs they are overqualified for.
The data are clear: Graduates that start off underemployed have the odds stacked against them. Five years out, graduates who were underemployed in their first job are 5 times more likely to be underemployed. Ten years out, three out of four graduates who were underemployed as new graduates remain underemployed. And first-generation college graduates are not only more likely to graduate underemployed but also with substantial college debt, making their American dream a financial nightmare.
Landing your first job is a pivotal moment that defines the handoff between education and work. The founding board of Ivory Bridges, many of whom were first-generation college graduates themselves, were fortunate to have had mentors, donors, and teachers who invested in them.
Now, through scholarships, coaching, and networking, we are investing in future generations to ensure their college degrees pay off.