Graduates collect their diplomas with high hopes that theyll turn years of education into solid careers. Job growth is still solid, but far short of very optimistic projections from the start of the school year.

Tara Elam is a recent graduate of the nursing program at Pima Community College. She says, I have interviewed with five different local hospitals and all five of those hospitals have actually offered me a job.

She is about to begin a career as a Registered Nurse, working in a hospital ICU. Healthcare is one of the hottest career fields and she feels Pima Community College gave her a strong boost for success.

They give you the opportunities, they tell you what you need to do when you start the program. So one of the things that we have to do is have volunteer hours to get into the program so that we’re already in that mode of volunteering. So I think that was a big one, but they also offer leadership opportunities throughout the program that anybody who’s willing to do it can contribute to.

Prospects for new graduates are still strong. The National Association of Colleges and Employers says this Spring employers said they planned to hire 3.9 percent more graduates this year compared to last year.

Thats a solid gain, but nothing like the 14.7 percent jump employers projected when the association surveyed them last Fall.

The State of Arizona says construction is the hottest job field statewide. Healthcare is number two. Professional services are number three.

For Southern Arizona, manufacturings number one in Pima County, constructions the top industry in Cochise, and healthcare tops the list in Santa Cruz County.

Tara Elam says for her, nursing is a career change. While she waits to take her nursing certifications, shes been taking applications for the job shes leaving in financial services.

I just recently hired somebody for my office and I have received over 50 resumes for one position. So it’s definitely a hot market.