The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta just released an interview with Dr. Rolando Montoya, provost of Miami Dade College, the largest higher education institution in the US. There is an audio podcast for multi-taskers, as well as a transcript. The interview covers changes in Miami Dade’s student demographics, the impact of the recession on the college, how colleges address “skills mismatch,” and the college’s ties to regional economic and workforce development.
Here is an excerpt:
Moderator: You’ve indicated the economic recession has impacted some industries more than others. Which job sectors are experiencing the highest placement rates for your graduates, and which are seeing significant decreases? And, do you see these changes as cyclical or more structural?
Montoya: Anything that has to do with healthcare, such as nursing, physician assistant, pharmacy, technology, and related fields, are doing very, very well—more than a 90 percent rate of placement among the graduates. Also, the area of criminal justice—public safety—is doing pretty well. We are graduating police officers, and they find jobs—correctional officers, firefighters, paramedics. And the computer science fields, people in computer networking, computer programming, computer applications are doing pretty well, too.
On the other hand, there are some areas that are showing a lot lower placement than before. Good examples are architecture, interior design, construction management, real estate and mortgage brokerage, and banking. Also, education—K to 12 teaching—has also suffered a lot in terms of placement rates because the public school system, due to budgetary constraints, has an employment freeze. Therefore, what they have been doing is reducing the number of administrators, and then they place the administrators in teaching assignments, which has produced a tremendous reduction in the number of recent graduates in education who can find jobs.