EMSI CASE STUDY (Full Archive)
Miami Dade College is well-known for the scale at which it offers programs to more than 170,000 students. Spread across eight campuses in South Florida, MDC awards associate’s and bachelor’s degrees, as well as vocational certificates, in 300-plus fields of study.
But rather than focus on the sheer number of students it serves, Miami Dade is more concerned about ensuring its graduates enter the workforce with the right skills and credentials. That’s where EMSI’s Career Coach fits in. The online tool gives new and prospective MDC students a realistic picture of the job market in South Florida for any profession, and ties students’ job searches to the educational requirements needed to land the job and specific programs at the college.
Career Coach helps recruiters at Miami Dade market the college’s range of programs. And it helps directors of advisement and career services like Paola Documet start important conversations with students about the jobs they would like to pursue or already pursuing.
“Advisement and career service directors absolutely love this tool. It’s honestly the first tool we use with students when they come in the door and they say, ‘I want to be …’” — Paola Documet, Director, Advisement & Career Services, Miami Dade College
“Advisement and career service directors absolutely love this tool,” said Documet, who works at MDC’s Medical Center campus. “It’s honestly the first tool we use with students when they come in the door and they say, ‘I want to be …’ and we’ll say, ‘Well, what do you know about the career path? Have you explored what it means in terms of income, in terms of job prospects?’ And the answer from students is usually no.
“So it’s the first conversation that we have with the students,” she continued, “and we use Career Coach to help guide the conversation so that they know the things they need to be looking at. So it’s wonderful.”
An Example: Helping Students Find the Right Career
Documet recently met with a student who wanted to switch her major from sonography to nuclear medicine because she thought becoming a nuclear medicine technologist offered better (and more lucrative) job prospects. A quick Career Coach search revealed there were only nine yearly job openings in a 100-mile radius in South Florida related to nuclear medicine.
The next logical step for Documet was to show the student prospects in related fields. Radiation therapy popped up as an intriguing option.
“The job outlook was much, much better. Although the income was lower, there was a much stronger job outlook,” Documet said. “So were able to show her how if she were to go into our radiography program, she would start with a lower salary but the information also linked her to our certificate program in nuclear medicine. So we were able to show her, ‘Look, you are able to market yourself better. You could get your AS degree in radiography and when you’re done with your license, come back and get your one-year certificate in nuclear medicine. And that way you’ll have both certifications and you’ll have a much greater ability for job prospects, even if you decide to stay in nuclear medicine because now you have both certifications. You’ll be a much more appealing candidate for a job position in that area, even though there are limited jobs.”
The student decided to pursue a degree in Miami Dade’s radiography program and then get a nuclear medicine certificate.
Moments like that are gratifying to Documet and MDC’s other career advisors. “Our goal is to graduate them and get them transferred, or graduate them and get them into the workforce.”
Marketing Programs to Potential Students
In addition to career advising, Career Coach has served a valuable role in marketing Miami Dade’s programs to potential students. Recruiters use the tool to help facilitate discussions and help students think of a broader range of degree possibilities than perhaps they had been.
“From a recruitment perspective,” says Documet, “it’s helped our pre-admission advisors to market the programs. So if a student wants to study something and it looks like the job outlook for that career path — that we may offer or we may not — is not as good as it for others, we use the ‘Similar Careers’ [function] to explore relatable jobs that have a much better outlook. And they may be programs that the college offers that are still growing.”
Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. (EMSI) provides industry-leading employment data and economic analysis via web tools and custom reports. EMSI has produced more than 1,200 comprehensive impact analyses for colleges and universities in the US and internationally, and its web tools — Analyst and Career Coach — are used by thousands of professionals in higher education, workforce and economic development, and the private sector. For more information, visit economicmodeling.com.