First-generation graduates face new uncertainty for job prospects amid COVID-19 crisis

NEW YORK (WABC) -- For college graduates, graduation is a time to celebrate and look toward the endless possibilities ahead of them.

Though as the unemployment rate in the nation continues to rise as a result of COVID-19, the Class of 2020 is facing a new reality of uncertainty about job prospects in the future.

This new reality, while devastating to all graduates, is creating a strong sense of anxiety for first-generation graduates whose immigrant parents come to the United States to provide them with better opportunities.

"My parents sacrifice a lot," said Lounie Germain, a Lehigh University graduate who immigrated from Haiti with her parents and sister. "They gave up their aspirations and the careers that they wanted to help us achieve our own dreams."

Germain was one of the lucky graduates who had a full-time position job lined up after graduation. Unfortunately, her job offer was rescinded after the COVID-19 crisis erupted in the United States.

Much like Germain, Genesis Obando has no idea what will become of her future now that the job market has plummeted.

"It definitely feels like my life has been put on hold," said Obando, a graduate from Montclair State University whose family came from Nicaragua. "This is supposed to be the time when I'm transitioning and supposed to experience new things. Now I have no idea when I will ever do that."

Obando is hopeful that the job market will get better as time goes on.

However, she explained that many first-generation graduates felt a strong pressure to get jobs after college to financially contribute to their families.

Surprisingly, a majority of the pressure of getting a job right after college came from graduates themselves.

"I need to finish school, I need to do well, and I need to get a good job to provide for them," said Obando. "I just have to because they have done so much for me already."


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