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Methodology - Graduate Employment Outcomes

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What the Tool Provides

The Graduate Employment Outcomes tool helps Minnesota’s students, job seekers, career counselors, educators, and policy makers better understand the connections between postsecondary education choices and job outcomes. The tool displays key aspects of employment, including:


What hourly pay can a graduate expect 12 and 24 months after graduation?

Wage growth trends

How fast did wages grow over time?

Industries of employment

What types of businesses employed recent graduates?

Employment prospects

What share of graduates found jobs in the state?

Year-round employment

What share of graduates were employed without interruption during the second year after graduation? This is an indicator of attachment to the workforce.

Full-time year-round employment and wages

What share of graduates were employed full-time during the whole second year after graduation? What were their annual wages?

Data Sources and Methodology

Workforce and education data were collected through a collaboration of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) and the Minnesota Office of Higher Education (OHE). Students with valid Social Security numbers were followed longitudinally through education into the workforce using Minnesota UI wage records

To protect confidentiality, results are aggregated and outcomes are only shown when there are 10 or more graduates with valid wage records. Reports will be updated with a new cohort of graduates each year.

Data Limitations

  • A degree or award has a value beyond employment and earnings. Personal interest and satisfaction with a major, or a job, are intangible benefits that cannot be measured through this tool’s data.
  • The data cannot be used to evaluate the overall return on investment of postsecondary education compared to no postsecondary education because Minnesota does not have the ability to link high school graduate records to workforce records.
  • The job market varies across the state and over time. Past outcomes cannot predict the market success of future graduates in all locations.
  • Outcomes represent only the graduates who worked in Minnesota as identified in the state’s Unemployment Insurance wage records. Although about 95% of Minnesota businesses report wages, people employed by federal agencies, self-employed, or employed in other states are excluded.
  • Graduates who re-enrolled in school after completing a degree and chose not to seek work will not appear in wage records.
  • Work outcomes for programs with few graduates can fluctuate significantly over time.
  • Wages are based on initial earnings and may not reflect long-term prospects.
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