Adapting Programs to Job ProjectionsDallas County Community College District
Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD) is one of the largest of the 50 community college districts in Texas, with seven accredited colleges serving traditional and nontraditional students on one hand, and workforce development agencies on the other. The district also receives the largest federal Carl D. Perkins workforce grant in Texas. With these grant funds, the community college system purchased Labor Insight™ for its Labor Market Intelligence Center, designed to give the college current data on the regional workforce.
At Eastfield College, one of the seven colleges in the system, Director of Grants Management Christa Jones oversees the Perkins grant and compliance process. She provides data to inform faculty and administration to assist with strategic planning and initiatives for workforce programs.
DCCCD is focused on working with local industry and using labor market data to teach employable skills based on job pastings. The Labor Market Intelligence Center needs labor market data to identify new courses or revise existing programs to align with local labor market needs.
The rapidly changing job market requires more insight into existing resources, industry demand, and labor trends. For the program review process, the following elements are essential:
- Identifying the number of in-demand jobs in the region
- Defining what kind of jobs are available
- Having a subject expert on staff to teach the course
- Ensuring adequate, up-to date equipment that will be found in the field
- Viewing skills trends to manage job projections
Each program is evaluated annually in terms of enrollment, completion, retention, and placement. DCCCD needs current, accurate, and detailed labor market data to pinpoint the exact skills in demand or to identify a new trend, while conferring with industry professionals to understand any misalignments in requirements.
Jones meets with industry specific advisory councils to discuss the current industry needs and close the gaps between posting requirements and what is taught in the classroom. Jones uses this advice from the local industry to help align programs with local job postings, but she needed more detailed data about skills in demand and more specific information about local businesses.
With Labor Insight™ from Burning Glass Technologies, Eastfield was able to view a more detailed snapshot of job market needs across the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The data enabled the college to quickly identify potential industry partners, as well as providing justification for course expansion and recourse allotment.
Now, when meeting with the different industries Workforce Advisory Boards, Jones and the appropriate technical program could bring detailed reports based on actual job postings and clear industry requirements. Labor Insight™ made it possible for each department to view direct, real-time data to build a case for a program and make more detailed proposals for revising and creating new programs that were aligned with the local labor market. Eastfield could also identify the companies with the highest job postings so the college could directly connect students in the program with employers in the field.
Lessons for Future Work
With Labor Insight™, Eastfield College was able to focus attention on driving enrollments through data-driven digital marketing campaigns and outreach efforts based on the labor market data. Labor Insight™ also helped the institution to be intentional and strategic addressing existing and emerging gaps in the talent pool. Here are some key takeaways:
View labor market data to help direct learning objectives: By finding what skills are in demand in the local labor market, the curriculum can teach these skills so students can learn what employers need.
Use labor market trends and job projections to adapt programs: Looking at job growth year over year gives insight into how long a program will stay relevant and allow program administrators to tailor the course to stay up to date and aligned with industry needs.
Partner with companies: Allowing companies to better understand the academic programs creates a unique opportunity to directly impact the curriculum. This way, students graduate ready to work.