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ERIC Number: ED561780
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Apr
Pages: 10
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Workforce Results Matter: "The Critical Role of Employment Outcome Data in Improving Transparency of Postsecondary Education and Training"
Harmon, Tim; Ridley, Neil
Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success
At a time of sustained unemployment and sluggish job growth, students and policymakers are increasingly asking tough questions about postsecondary education and training outcomes. Do graduates find jobs? What are they paid? What will they earn in the future? Despite growing national interest in this information, good answers are not widely available for many programs. As college costs have soared in recent years, "unmet financial need" (the share of college costs not covered by financial aid or what the family is expected to contribute) has also climbed sharply. Rising costs and increased student debt, combined with a weak economy, make college a riskier investment than in the past. Students and families can reduce that risk by gauging the quality of institutions and programs and choosing carefully among fields of study. Armed with better information about post-graduation outcomes, low-income and first-generation students and their families are more likely to consider the full range of programs and institutions that can help them succeed. This paper focuses on the need for better information about post-graduation outcomes of postsecondary education and training, with a particular focus on workforce results. Workforce results include employment-related outcomes, such as post-graduation employment rates and earnings levels. Survey research and other evidence reviewed below shows that consumers are keenly interested in these outcomes. This paper suggests the types of employment measures and data that would help meet this demand for better information and describes recent progress by states in producing more comprehensive and consistent information about labor market results. Federal and state policymakers are grappling with the best ways to improve employment data and incorporate metrics into higher education policy. Developing a fair, accurate method for measuring and presenting workforce results should be a top priority for institutions and policymakers at all levels of government. [For the companion report "Transparency and Accountability: 'Implementing a Postsecondary Institution Rating System That Empowers Students While Avoiding Unintended Consequences'", see ED561779.]
Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success. Available from: CLASP. 1200 18th Street NW Suite 200, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-906-8000; Fax: 202-842-2885; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Postsecondary Education; Higher Education; Secondary Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success
Identifiers - Location: Arkansas; California; Colorado; Florida; Minnesota; New Jersey; Tennessee; Texas; Virginia