On Marketplace yesterday, regarding the fact that many are questioning the value of a college degree, Kai Ryssdal noted the following: “Parents want to know, before they pony up, what schools are doing to get their students lined up for careers.”
You can listen to the segment here:
This has been a growing issue for years and is exactly why we created our service Career Coach. Career Coach, which is used by over 150 colleges and universities, connects the educational programs offered by a postsecondary institution to the corresponding occupations that a student (and faculty) should think about as they progress on their education path. This is particularly important for those more career- or technical-oriented fields like accounting, healthcare, IT, and engineering.
The Marketwatch article goes on to make several other great points about the importance of these connections. We found this excerpt to be particularly useful:
As college gets more expensive, schools are under more pressure than ever to produce graduates who can get good jobs. The pressure doesn’t just come from students and parents. The Obama Administration is working on plans for a college rating system, which could factor in things like employment and student loan repayment rates.
Most colleges just haven’t invested enough in career services, says Edwin Koc, director of research at the National Association of Colleges and Employers. He says the typical career counselor serves 1,500 students.
“They toil away with extremely limited resources, and so the students don’t see the career center as central to being successful at the school,” he says. “For a lot of students the career center becomes an afterthought.”
The article points to the strategy that Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, has taken to solving the problem: transforming its traditional career center into an Office of Student and Post-Graduate Development and assigning every student an advisor from day one at the college. The office offers coaching, hosts workshops, and networks with alumni in order to guide students through their education and into careers. It’s a strategy that proves investing in career guidance really pays off.
Before [the Office of Student and Post-Graduate Development], just about 20 percent of students interacted with the career center—mostly seniors. Last year almost 75 percent went to a workshop, checked in online, or met with an advisor.
“When students have interacted with us over the years, they will be clearer about what they want to do after college,” says Throne. “They will leave with connections in their industry and beyond who will be there to mentor them long after they graduate.”
And how are students faring after graduation? Throne says nearly 80 percent of the Class of 2014 has landed—in jobs or grad school—less than six months out. It’s hard to say if that’s an improvement, because the college didn’t really track that kind of data until now.
If you find that your school is having similar issues, we believe EMSI can help. Over the years we have amassed a powerful array of case studies that reinforce the value of being able to help students understand the connect between the education you offer and the careers they should pursue. Some of our favorites include the following:
- Central Piedmont Community College is putting Career Coach in front of as much of the community as possible. CPCC has found that Career Coach isn’t just a “one-and-done” tool, but a resource that helps students develop a personal relationship with their education.
- Minnesota State Community And Technical College has used Career Coach to both attract and retain students, making sure they’re always aware of the path to their education goals.
- The Alamo Colleges in San Antonio partnered with a local workforce board to ensure that both students and those the board served could use Career Coach to see the career options available at the colleges.
- Monroe Community College put Career Coach to such good use in helping students succeed that it attracted the attention of Vice President Biden.
And as a final note, we are working on a brand new initiative for high school students that will help them make connections even earlier—before college. Check back on our blog soon for more announcements, or email us if you would like to learn more.