By PAGE IVEY - The Associated Press
Benedict College graduates will need to use the same perseverance that got them through school to find a job in the sluggish economy, U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters told them Saturday.
Waters, D-Calif., told about 170 graduates of Columbia's historically black Benedict College that they will find work even though it might not be their dream job. South Carolina has had one of the nation's highest jobless rates for more than two years.
"Don't let anybody tell you you won't be able to find a job," Waters said. "You will be successful because you have prepared for it."
Waters pointed to a report from the U.S. Labor Department on Friday showing the economy added 290,000 jobs in April -- the biggest monthly total in four years.
"America continues to feel the lingering effects of the recession," she said. "But the worst of the economic crisis is over."
Waters was first elected to the House of Representatives from the district that includes South Central Los Angeles in 1990. She chairs a Financial Services subcommittee on housing and community opportunity and is a chief deputy whip. Before that, she served 14 years in the California State Assembly and was chairwoman of the Democratic Caucus.
She told graduates that recently passed health care reform can help them as they transition from college to work, especially those who don't find jobs right away. The new law allows them to stay on their parents' health care plans until they are 26.
Waters has founded two nonprofit organizations -- the Black Women's Forum and Project Build, which helps young people in Los Angeles housing developments get training and jobs.
Waters said Benedict's graduates send a message that young black people are committed to education and contributing to society. She said they are as much an inspiration to school children as President Barack Obama.
"You've put a face on the possibilities for young black people everywhere," she said. "You send a message about who we really are."
Source: The State Newspaper