Emsi Case Study (See Full Archive)
Summary: In March, the College of Central Florida implemented Emsi’s Career Coach—a web app that helps students build connections between personal interests, academic programs, and careers. The college quickly discovered that the app is useful college-wide and is wildly popular with students. In the coming months, the college plans to include Career Coach in StartSmart@CF, a quality enhancement plan that will focus on first-year experience.
- Targeted training programs helped each department discover the ways that Career Coach fits its needs.
- Usage stats for CF’s Career Coach are impressive, indicating that students are hungry for this information.
- CF has plans to incorporate Career Coach into its StartSmart@CF quality enhancement plan, which is a key component of the college’s reaffirmation.
There’s a new app that the College of Central Florida (CF) is using—and this time it isn’t a social network.
In March, CF (which has campuses in Florida’s Marion, Citrus, and Levy counties) implemented Emsi’s Career Coach—a web app that helps students build connections between personal interests, academic programs, and careers. Since then, Career Coach has spread to every academic program page on the college’s website and is being used in a variety of departments and classrooms. And its scope is still expanding: The college also plans to include Career Coach in StartSmart@CF, a quality enhancement plan that will focus on students’ first-year experience.
Lyn Powell, CF’s dean of enrollment management, noted that Career Coach’s popularity is encouraging because it could save students not only time and money but could also get them on the right pathway sooner. “I was just dumbfounded by how many [students] actually used it, which tells us loud and clear that it’s something they’re interested in and want,” Powell said.
Here are the college’s Career Coach usage stats as of late August—just five months after implementation:
- Over 10,000 visits
- About 12,700 college program views
- About 7,200 career views
- 850 click-throughs to Indeed job postings
- More than 700 completed assessments
- 50 exported résumés
The College’s XCEL-IT team (which is geared towards enrolling students in short-term certificate programs that will prepare them to enter high-demand, high-wage careers) was the driving force for bringing Career Coach to CF. But it didn’t take long for the college to discover the app’s potential in programs across campus.
“When we first bought Career Coach, we thought, ‘Oh, we’ll use it in our [XCEL-IT] program,'” said Placement Specialist Todd Reiland. “But then I started looking at it, and I said ‘Well, this could be used in enrollment services, the testing center, first-year success advising, the classrooms, etc.’ ”
So Reiland spearheaded targeted training programs, focusing on what each department would find most helpful about Career Coach and how to develop a collaborative, college-wide implementation strategy: “Obviously the testing department would take more advantage of the assessment aspect and also the career exploration, and then the academic advisors take more advantage of the academic program and career exploration options.”
In addition, many of CF’s webpages contain a widget that links to Career Coach (see left), which allows prospective and current students to easily explore career pathways from anywhere. These widgets, which make accessing Career Coach a cinch, have greatly contributed to the app’s popularity.
Reiland and other staff members also use Emsi’s labor market data software, Analyst. Reiland noted that Analyst is sometimes better for internal use, allowing staff to get a deeper look at labor market trends, which can be helpful for building long-term strategies. But Career Coach is packaged in a way that is valuable and appealing to prospective students and community members who are looking to make personal, informed career decisions.
The role of Career Coach is still expanding at CF. In fact, the college is gearing up to use Career Coach in a new program—where the stakes are even higher.
Each institution seeking reaffirmation of accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) is required to develop a quality enhancement plan. CF’s plan is called StartSmart@CF; it will focus on first-year experience, and Career Coach will be one of its key components.
Powell noted why Career Coach is highly valuable for retention, specifically with first-year students:
Our admissions advisors have already been and are going to receive additional training with Career Coach so that when they’re having a conversation with a new student, they cay say, “Well, I see here that you selected XYZ as your major. What did you do that helped you come to that decision?”
And if it sounds like, “Well, I don’t know. I think I want to be a nurse because my mom is a nurse,” then the admissions advisor can suggest that they go out and use Career Coach as a tool and bring the results of that to their first advising appointment.
Then, their advisor can sit down with them and talk with them in an educated away about what the best career path is for them and what’s the best academic path to achieve that goal.
StartSmart@CF will be reviewed by SACSCOC (and hopefully approved) in 2016.
About the College of Central Florida
The College of Central Florida serves Marion, Citrus and Levy counties with more than 60 academic programs ranging from vocational to bachelor’s degrees. Low-cost tuition, dedicated faculty, award-winning athletic teams and a robust student life program make CF the community’s first choice for quality higher education.
Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. provides comprehensive, user-friendly labor market data that helps educational institutions, workforce planners, and regional developers (such as workforce development boards and economic development organizations) build a better workforce and improve the economic conditions in their regions.