Measuring workforce preparation and employment outcomes
As the nation's largest provider of postsecondary education, community colleges are instrumental to workforce development, but measuring student outcomes is challenging after students have left for the workplace. Many states use existing administrative data such as unemployment insurance records to calculate employment outcomes at minimal marginal cost, often disaggregated by field of study and award type, but they miss certain segments of the workforce and are significantly limited in the detail they can provide. Surveys cover individuals not included in administrative data and collect other important details, but they are expensive to administer and may not yield results that can be reliably disaggregated by field of study or award type. Ideally, community colleges would use both administrative record matching and surveys to provide a comprehensive measure of workforce preparation and employment success.