Much to be Gained from Integrated Postsecondary, Workforce Data

New Georgetown Center Report Features Five Ways to Connect College and Careers

By Tanya I. Garcia, Associate Director of Postsecondary Policy Research and Associate Research Professor, Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce

Career_Pathways-200.jpgEarlier this month, the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce released a new report, Career Pathways: Five Ways to Connect College and Careers, to help students, their families, and other stakeholders unpack the meaning of postsecondary credentials and assess their value in the labor market. Today’s economy requires at least some college to enter the middle class, and the report argues that this is why integrating education and workforce data will go a long way to remove the guesswork for individuals navigating college and careers.

The report features the work of eight states that have started to leverage integrated education and workforce data by developing publicly available information tools in five areas:

  • Education Projections, Business Expansion, and Workforce Quality tools to help state economic and workforce leaders attract new employers and retain existing ones with data demonstrating that the state postsecondary education and training systems can provide workers with the needed skills.

  • Program Alignment with Labor Market Demand tools to help college administrators, deans, and faculty members make program-related decisions that address labor market needs, while college and system administrators can demonstrate return on investment to state leaders.

  • Curriculum Alignment with Workforce Requirements tools to help faculty members create curricula aligned with the applied skills and abilities that learners will need to succeed in their careers.

  • Counseling and Career Pathways tools to help advisors support students in their educational and career decisions as well as identify and reach out to the learners who need additional support.

  • Job Placement and Skills Gap Analysis tools to help workers determine if and how the knowledge, skills, abilities, interests, and work values they possess are transferable to new jobs. These tools also help workers assess skills gaps and provide connections to postsecondary education and training options that can prepare them for a career change.

Of these, program alignment and curriculum alignment are especially geared for campus leaders, including administrators, deans, and faculty members.

  • In program alignment, occupation- and industry-specific employment and earnings data is linked with student enrollment data to aid program design, planning and review so that administrators can make decisions about which programs to add, expand, contract, or discontinue.

  • In curriculum alignment, occupational data and employer/industry feedback is combined with the process of developing competencies and learning outcomes for postsecondary education and training programs so that students gain both the general and specific skills they need to succeed in their jobs.

Institutional researchers are the ideal translators when it comes to turning data into information. Without them, it would be hard for campuses to foster a culture of data use. In the end, students, colleges, and employers all benefit from this increased alignment, and so will our country.

Access the full report at the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce website.

 

 

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