North Carolina StateUsing Real-Time Data to Validate and Restructure Programs
North Carolina State (NC State) is a leading public research university with more than 36,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Since 2017, NC State University has been partnering with Burning Glass Technologies to use real-time data to validate new or restructure their current online and distance education programs. But in 2019, NC State developed a new career-focused student recruitment strategy using the Burning Glass Labor Insight™ data platform that revolutionizes how students evaluate over 120 online and Distance Education academic programs. The marketing strategy and infrastructure integrates jobs data with academic program descriptions to provide prospective students real-time career data that gives them the ability to evaluate the most promising course of study and potential future.
Prospective students are interested in finding academic programs that align with their career interests. To provide this information to the new audiences, NC State designed landing pages are now displaying relevant skills and potential career outcomes for both current and prospective students.
In March 2020, NC State launched a website integrating Burning Glass data with more than 120 online and distance education programs. The site displays relevant career and employment data (state and national) that will help students make their decision to take the next step in advancing their education.
The site includes:
- Skills students will be learning in the degrees and certificates;
- How the skills are related to the potential career outcomes;
- Possible salary (Exhibit 2);
- Employment trends; and
- Required education degree.
For example, if a student would like to become an Aerospace Engineering Manager, she or he needs to complete an aerospace engineering graduate degree, which will have an average wage ranging from $74,000 to $88,000. The degree looks promising with a projected 11.8% increase in employment in North Carolina and a 6% increase nationwide (Exhibit 3). Half of Aerospace engineering related jobs require a master’s degree, and the NC State website shows what skills you will be learning from the master’s program. The platform also refers students to other similar degrees and programs for those careers (Exhibit 4).
NC State divided skills into three sections: baseline skills (skills every Aerospace Engineer is expected to have in order to experience success in this field), specialized skills (specific to working in this career), and distinguishing skills (the ones that will set you apart from other candidates). This is great for students because it maps out students learning paths and provides them with information about the skills that are valuable in the job market, students can confidently proceed with their program choice. This new platform also integrates Career InsightTM to help personalize academic and career options (Exhibit 5).
“Our No. 1 goal is students’ success. We would like for students to have high career ROI as a result of their educational choices” said Kay Zimmerman, Associate Vice Provost DELTA- Marketing & Partnership Development at NC State.
Zimmerman and NC State selected Burning Glass’ data over other options because it is easily searchable and provides in-depth occupational categories and skills. Flexibility in Burning Glass products’ geography filters and keywords that are updated in real-time basis allowed NC State to stay on top to provide the critical data for students.
NC State evaluated all of its online and distance learning programs by using Burning Glass’ labor market data. The global pandemic accelerated the number of students interested in taking online programs. This new strategy is strongly positioning NC State’s programs amongst its competitors. In addition, in May 2021, NC State will launch the same technology and marketing strategy for 50 continuing education non-credit programs.