Interactive tool allows colleges to compare employment outcomes by college, major field of study or student characteristics

The College System of Tennessee launched a new interactive online data dashboard to help its community and technical colleges learn more about graduates’ post-college employment and earnings.

The Careers Start Here dashboard tracks aggregate employment outcomes for graduates of Tennessee’s community colleges and colleges of applied technology (TCATs) over the past decade.

With this tool, colleges can examine three primary employment outcomes:

  • employment rates in Tennessee
  • average annual wages
  • industry of employment.

The new data tool is made possible by a partnership between the Tennessee Board of Regents and the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD).

The partnership enables the sharing of data between agencies on a recurring basis to improve academic programs and workforce development efforts.

“This new partnership provides the opportunity for TBR and the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development to share data that can provide deeper insights into program alignment and workforce outcomes,” said TBR Chancellor Flora W. Tydings. “The dashboard that we have built has already provided new insights at the program and college level into employment outcomes for TBR students. We are grateful to Commissioner Thomas and her team for working so closely with us in this endeavor.”

The new feature was previewed and launched at the Tennessee Board of Regents quarterly meeting this week. 

“This dashboard will be a critical tool, not only for state government, but any organization planning their future workforce needs,” said TDLWD Commissioner Deniece Thomas. “Our partnership with TBR has created a central location that brings together timely and useful information that will lead to more informed decision-making about the workforce of tomorrow.”

The interactive tool allows colleges to compare employment outcomes by college, major field of study or student characteristics. It also allows colleges to compare outcomes for graduates to outcomes for students who enrolled but did not graduate. No personally identifying information is used.

For instance:

  • Five years after college, 76% of community college graduates and 73% of TCAT graduates were employed in Tennessee, compared to 68% of students who enrolled at TBR colleges but did not earn a postsecondary credential.
  • Graduates earned substantially higher wages than non-graduates. Five years after college, graduates, on average, earned $45,265 annually, which was more than $14,000 higher than students who enrolled but did not graduate.
  • Nearly one-third of employed graduates from TBR colleges work in the healthcare field. Five years after leaving college, 33% of employed community college graduates and 27% of employed TCAT graduates were employed in health care.
  • “These insights were not previously possible without the tools we were able to build as a result of this bilateral agreement between our two agencies,” said Dr. Amy Moreland, TBR assistant vice chancellor for policy and strategy, who helped lead the dashboard’s development. “Our hope is that our colleges are able to strengthen the alignment between our programs and workforce needs as they use this tool alongside others to help students navigate to a credential and a career.”

The dashboard and accompanying data tools will be updated quarterly with new information and are accessible through the Employment Outcomes and Earnings tab on the comprehensive TBR Data Dashboard (https://www.tbr.edu/policy-strategy/data-and-research) on the TBR website.

TBR plans to continue refining the data tool to make it even more useful for students, parents and high school guidance counselors in their college and career planning.

Image by DilokaStudio on Freepik.

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