A degree in hand or not, employers are seeking dedicated workers, said Kelly Pierce, an employment specialist with the Colorado Workforce Center in Craig.
"Employers are looking for a good work ethic, and you don't necessarily get that in college," she said. "Employers still want you to go the extra mile."
Good-paying jobs are available for high school graduates if they don't mind labor-intensive work, Pierce said.
Fifty-three percent of all vacancies for job prospects in the Northwest region of Colorado don't require a post-secondary degree, according to a survey of more than 1,200 employers conducted last summer by the state agency.
More than 300 jobs are available this year in the 12-county region compared with last year, and three-fourths of those positions require candidates who have related or job-specific experience.
Chuck Sadvar, manager of Craig's Safeway, said a good attitude is one of the first things he looks for in an employee. MCHS senior Lance Poole has demonstrated a mix of dedication and leadership that has earned him the informal title of being the youngest employee in a management position at the store.
Sadvar said he appreciates maturity, responsibility and confidence in his employees, all traits that are evident in Poole.
Poole said he's considering sticking with the company and working his way up after high school.