When students decide to major in a field of study, they often lack important information about labor market outcomes. Are there jobs in their field? What do they pay? Is the industry stable enough to ensure long-term employment?
A new program called the Workforce Data Quality Initiative (WDQI) will help them answer those questions. Minnesota is among 29 states participating in the U.S. Department of Labor initiative, which combines education and workforce statistics into a comprehensive system for research and analysis.
Among the goals of the initiative is to follow students through school into the workforce and to provide statistics on how long it took them to find a job, how much they are paid and other employment measures.
In the latest issue of Trends magazine, DEED analyst Alessia Leibert examined WDQI data to determine the employment outcomes of students who graduated from post-secondary programs in Minnesota in 2011.
Among her findings:
1. About two-thirds of the students were employed a year after graduation, earning a median hourly wage of $16.49.
2. Students who earned degrees in programs requiring two years or less of study had the lowest median hourly wage at $14.09. Students earning graduate degrees had the highest hourly median wage at $30.13.
3. Fields with the best employment outcomes were in nursing, business administration and accounting. That was the case whether students earned a two-year, bachelor’s or master’s degree in those fields.
4. Students with liberal arts degrees often require more time to find jobs than students from other popular associate degree programs, but they tend to be well compensated once they do find work. Two years after graduation, liberal arts majors earned wages that were close to the state median wage of $37,606.
More details are in the March issue of Trends.