LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Thousands of local students are graduating and preparing to join the workforce.

Dozens of Liberty High School students received their diplomas Friday night at the Youth Performing Arts School auditorium.

High School and college graduates this year will see one of the strongest job markets in decades.

The unemployment rate is at the lowest level in 18 years, 3.4 percent in the Louisville area, which is below the 3.8 percent national average.

The Executive Director of Kentuckiana Works, Michael Gritton, said while many positions can get graduates a foot in the door, they will need more training or education to ensure a living wage for their lifetime.

“You may need a production technician training in manufacturing. You may need a certification in healthcare, you may need something else that starts to help you get up that ladder,” Gritton said.

Liberty graduate, Arden Combs, plans to start his career right away.

"I'm going into the military and that's just a huge job market right there in itself," Combs said.

Companies are getting creative to find employees by offering new recruiting programs that allow students to work and go to college part time.

"It feels good just to have something pay off this big because you've been working on it for 12 years and it's like the biggest thing you have going for you and now it's over and you've got to find your next thing to focus on and that's getting a career," Combs said.

Graduate Osman Osman, came to the U.S. as an immigrant from Africa when he was four years old. He overcame the challenges of adjusting to life in a new country and spoke on graduation day.

"I'm very proud of myself and thankful for everyone that helped me get this far," Osman said.

Several graduation ceremonies are scheduled for this weekend.

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