Rebecca Satawa is a junior at Albion College with a dream.
"I'm dreaming about radio. My dream is to go into the radio business," said Satawa.
She's two years away from graduating into a particularly scary job market. According to the Economic Policy Institute, 9 percent of college graduates younger than 24 are out of work. That's the highest rate in 25 years. Meanwhile, tuition for Albion College's liberal arts education sits just north of $30,000 a year, making the price tag tough for some parents to afford.
"Michigan is going through a very, very difficult time right now," said Mary Jones, Albion College's Director of Career Development. "We saw that some students were struggling."
"We at this college determined we needed to do something different, something bold in order to attract and retain Michigan students," said Donna Randall, Albion College's President.
That's why Albion College instituted the Albion Advantage Pledge this semester. It's a promise to incoming students that the college will support graduates in very concrete ways. If students are out of work 3 months after graduating in May, they are eligible for career help which could come in the form of an extra semester of tuition free study or a research assistant position at the school.
But the Albion Advantage is a two-way promise. Students have to fulfill their end of the bargain as well. They need at least a 3.0 GPA and have to go through at least one of what Albion calls an "experiential learning opportunity", which could be an internship or study abroad program. Additionally, the pledge part of the Albion Advantage only applies to freshman.
But even juniors like Satawa have been inspired by the new program. She visits the Career Development Office once every couple of weeks just to check in. And after a recent internship with several radio stations this summer, her dedication could pay off come graduation. But after her experience this summer, does Satawa still want to be in the radio business?
"More than ever," said Satawa.