0906WORKJOBLESSListen as Ryan Townsend discusses his job search and long-term career goals.
Other stories in our special Labor Day package:
After graduating from North Hall High School in 2004, Ryan Townsend enrolled at Augusta State University as an optimistic, goal-oriented freshman.
“I wanted to be (news anchor) Peter Jennings,” said Townsend, a 23-year-old Gainesville resident.
To achieve that goal, Townsend took all the right classes and gained real-world experience by working at several publications and a local TV station in Augusta.
Sadly, five year later, armed with a bachelor’s degree in communications and an impressive work history, he is one of the millions of unemployed Americans.
“A college degree, I was told, would be the ticket to job security in the future,” Townsend said. “And while that is still the case, today’s economic climate is giving me doubts.”
Since graduating in July, Townsend returned to Northeast Georgia because he thought it would be easier to find a job in his field of interest. So far, that hasn’t happened.
“I spend (several) hours each day online looking for jobs,” said Townsend. “I am a very proactive person, but online job searching is passive, so I have to switch up my tactics.”
In addition to searching for a job, Townsend has been filling his days by volunteering with the North Hall drama department, an organization that he credits with helping him to break out of his shell as a student.
While in Augusta, Townsend said he was exposed to the large, local health care industry, and that sparked a new direction for his career aspirations.
“My calling has always been journalism, but the industry has changed dramatically over the past few years and my interests are evolving, too,” he said.
“I would like to go back to school and obtain a master’s degree in public health. With the way that public health policies are evolving, I think now would be a good time to study them. The biggest obstacle to that is that I don’t have a health care background.”
Townsend said he would like to use his communication skills and potential graduate degree as a vehicle for improving people’s lives.
“I have a personal history of medical problems, so that motivates me to do what I can to help others and pursue a career in the health care field,” he said. “My main focus though is finding something in communications. That would be my dream job.”
Although the job search has been more difficult than he expected, Townsend said he is still optimistic.
“I’m talented and I know there is something out there for me. I will always pursue education, but finding full-time employment is my priority,” said Townsend.
“It’s stressful, but I’m doing OK. I just have to keep looking. Giving up is not an option.”