New college grads thriving at Brocade

July 15, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
College grads have reason to worry about where that first job is going to be. A recent survey showed that only 20 percent of students who graduated from college in May have found jobs. Many are so discouraged that only 59 percent are currently looking. However, a Silicon Valley firm is hiring college grads by the dozens.

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"We kind of thrive on complexity and it's one of the things you'll learn here," said Brocade CEO Mike Klayko.

Seventy freshly minted college grads have a lot to learn on their new jobs and just a few weeks to learn them. They are brand new employees of San Jose's Brocade Incorporated -- a data center networking company that competes with Cisco Systems.

"If you're in this class you actually made it through a pretty select process, I'll tell you that," said Klayko.

Klayko is welcoming his new employees on their first day on the job. In a time when many businesses are cutting jobs to save money, Brocade plans to hire 70 percent more college grads than it did last year.

"I actually did not think I would wind up with a job as soon as I did," said new college grad Alex DiPietro.

"I was definitely very nervous when I started looking for a job," said new college grad Jessica Kwong.

"They're very, very happy to be here, they're eager, they want to make a difference. What they do also for us is they push us," said Klayko.

Earnings are up 43 percent from the same period of last year which helps pay for the new hires and construction of a new campus for the several thousand workers in San Jose. But, beyond that, it's part of the corporate goal of staying on the cutting edge, by signing up confident young engineers, marketers, and salespeople.

"You want to win and you want to be the best, and that's where, I don't want to say I shine, but that's where I stood ahead of the bunch," said DiPietro.

"I think we bring a fresh new viewpoint. I think we bring a new perspective to the company. We've never worked within the company before, so we kind of have fresh eyes," said Kwong.

From the boardroom to the mail room, everyone is aware that the broader economy is not working this way. Other grads are having a much tougher time, other businesses don't have the wherewithal. That's why the kids who got hired hope they can be an inspiration to others.

"People like me give them hope at a time like this to find someplace you can actually go to and that obviously works out and they treat you real nice and you get paid to do something really enjoyable," said DiPietro.

Brocade is in the third year of this hiring program. They hope to bring on 130 new hires this year, and more next year. They say it's a win-win for everyone involved.

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