Kentucky College Targeting Job Listing Data to Create Educational Programs


Floyd County in Kentucky is among those areas that suffer from high unemployment rate: more than 10.5%.

Job is very important to every person, jobs are important to the economic growth of every nation.

But even the most developed countries like the US could suffer from labor shortages, issues of skill gap, fluctuating unemployment rates, increasing number of job quitters, and other demographic concerns that affect the job market.

Many young people are losing motivation as they try to pursue their studies for the sake of their dreams.

Can they get work after graduation? Can they establish their own careers? What if there’s another economic crisis?

No one can tell the future.

But there is this college in Kentucky that is prudently turning this sour lemon into lemonade for their students.

Big Sandy Community and Technical College has just launched a new associate-degree program centered on broadband technology. The administration expects their students to easily get hired by companies which need this type of skill.

Big Sandy is a part of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System.

They have been using job market data in formulating their educational programs so their students will have a better chance of finding employment.

The data come from job listings online, which often specify the type of skills that employers require — not just a general term.

The Kentucky college system works with Burning Glass Technologies, a company that engaged in job-market analyses. The latter collects data daily from 40,000 websites which list job opportunities and other important details pertaining to the vacancies.

These data help in determining the specific skills that are on demand in the job market.

“It’s been incredibly helpful looking at the economic vitality of our state,” remarks Rhonda Tracy, Kentucky Community and Technical College System’s chancellor.

Online data are more current and comprehensive than government information that are mostly based on trends in the past. With online job-market data, the future demand can also be safely predicted.

“The federal government might have data on the demand for ‘computer programmers’ but you might know from your friends in IT that ‘computer programmer’ is not a very helpful term,” relates Matthew Sigelman, CEO of Burning Glass. “Are employers looking for programmers in Java or .NET or C#? That’s what we’re looking for.”

Recently, new associate degree programs have been approved by the Kentucky Community and Technical College System’s Board of Regents. These educational programs cover physical therapy, electrical technology, and radiography.

However, enrolment rate does determine the fate of an educational program and not the demand on the job market.

“We’re looking at the sustainability of programs and the cost to run some of our programs,” Tracy elaborates. “And if we don’t have sufficient enrollment, that impacts the decision to continue or suspend the program.”

Just like the Kentucky college system, North Carolina and other colleges are experimenting with this methodology.

It helps the educational institutions to make the most practical decisions that serve the welfare and help build the future of students, the academe, and their regions.

Meanwhile, the Conference Board, a non-profit research organization, has made a ranking of more than 400 occupations that are at higher risk of shortage.

Among the occupations at the highest risk are those under health and medical services, rail transportation industry, construction, and education.

Rob Clark admin staff managing editor

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