MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — There are more jobs than job seekers in Minnesota, but that doesn’t mean recent college grads are guaranteed employment.

Minnesota’s unemployment rate is 3.2%, but there are racial disparities in the state’s job market. Currently, unemployment is 2.6% for whites, 6.3% for blacks and 5.3% for Hispanics in Minnesota.

It’s graduation day for many across the state, but not all are excited about future job opportunities.

“It’s the fear of not knowing where do we go from here,” King Demetrius Pendleton said.

Pendleton is a Kirk Washington scholar at MCTC. He graduates on Friday.

“My GPA is 4.0 and I’m graduating with a degree in Figi, that’s photography digital imagery,” Pendleton said.

Pendleton says he applied for jobs at high-end companies in the Twin Cities, hoping to land the job of a lifetime. He says his classmates, who are white, got those opportunities.

“Most minority groups in Minnesota have higher unemployment rates,” said Oriane Casale, with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

Casale is an assistant director in the market information office.

“While completing a degree does help to improve wages and income for minorities, there is still a wage gap, wage gap by gender and also by race even for people who complete with the exact same degree at the exact same level,” Casale said.

Casale says employers need to work to diversify their workforce. That’s the quickest way to deal with employment disparities.

“I do a lot of work in the community as an independent journalist photographer,” Pendleton said.

Pendleton started his own business, telling stories that are not typically told by traditional media.

He says Minnesota having more jobs than job seekers did not help him, but he hopes bringing awareness to the issue will help those coming behind him.

Jobs with the highest number of vacancies in Minnesota are registered nurses, software developers and mental health and substance abuse counselors.

Reg Chapman

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