Kelissa Hieber is a student on a mission. The senior at Miami University in Ohio has an internship she loves at We Are Ohio. The Integrative Studies major is focusing on a career where she can blend her love of field organizing with her passion for social justice issues such as race, gender and class. Hieber listened to President Obama lay out his jobs plan to the nation last week, and here are her thoughts.
What were your thoughts of his speech overall?
I really think that he has such a conservative climate to deal with and that affected his plan. I did not hear anything where he specifically addressed college students and I felt we were left out from the speech in a lot of ways. I wish he would have acknowledged that he knows how bleak the job market is going to be for us who are going to be graduating soon, and offered some help.
How do college students view the job market these days?
There’s a variety of feelings. Some of my friends are interviewing all over the country for any sort of job that is at all relevant to their field. And some will have to go to some other kind of job, like working in a restaurant, before they find a job in their field. Some will go back to school to earn a specialized degree because it will help them find a job.
Not finding a job means more and more students entering the job market with massive amounts of student loans and not being able to make any headway on the debt.
Myself, I personally feel a little bit more secure than people with mainstream degrees. I’m also happy that I have my internship with We Are Ohio because it’s something I’m passionate about.
How has the economy affected your family?
Both my parents teach at Miami University’s regional campus in Middletown and they have been worried about the economy. They’ve done a really good job of saving money and being prepared in all this uncertainty. They are thankful they have been at the university for a long time and thankful they have good jobs.
If you could address a joint session of Congress, what is the one thing you would say?
I would tell them we need to be globally competitive. We do need to create jobs here immediately in construction, public service areas. But we also need to look at our global role. Our economy affects the global economy.