Job-placement tracking on upswing

By Patricia Daddona
PBN Staff Writer

Ten of Rhode Island’s 11 colleges track the percentage of students who get jobs soon after graduating, but most use that data as an informational tool, not a selling point. More

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WORKFORCE

Job-placement tracking on upswing

PBN PHOTO/MICHAEL PERSSON
DIAMOND IN ROUGH: Rhode Island College graduate Alyse Duarte, pictured above, started at Providence Diamond Co. as an intern, before becoming a full-time employee. Above, she works with her boss, Brandon Salomon.

By Patricia Daddona
PBN Staff Writer

Posted 6/16/14

Ten of Rhode Island’s 11 colleges track the percentage of students who get jobs soon after graduating, but most use that data as an informational tool, not a selling point.

For example, Bryant University markets its student outcomes aggressively, while Roger Williams University and Providence College promote anecdotally.

No matter the approaches for individual schools, however, the statistics generated are more sought after by parents and students than ever. It’s true for Brown University, which posts online a 65 percent rate of employment for its graduates and 22 percent participating in graduate or professional studies, said James Miller, dean of admission.

“In our publications, we have sections devoted to ‘Life after Brown,’ which are relatively new,” he said. “For a whole variety of absolutely understandable reasons, both parents and kids are very concerned about outcomes. People want to make sure it’s an investment where their sons or daughters will have some options and career choices.”

Alyse Duarte, 22, of Cumberland, graduated from Rhode Island College this year with a degree in general management. Interning with the Providence Diamond Co. of Cranston turned into a full-time job.

“That’s the big thing about going to school: having a job after graduation,” Duarte said. “It’s everyone’s goal, I think, so they can pay off their [school] loans.”

For the schools surveyed by email and through interviews with Providence Business News, deriving meaningful context from these numbers can be a challenge. Knowing the response rate upon which the percentages are based, for instance, is critical, but only Bryant, the University of Rhode Island and RWU provided that information to PBN.

In fact, whatever the methods and time-frames used, there is little to compare in schools nationwide that collect and distribute “first destination undergraduate employment outcomes” – the first job a graduate gets with that associate or bachelor’s degree, says Edwin W. Koc, director of Strategic and Foundation Research at the National Association of Colleges and Employers. But an updating of voluntary national standards through NACE may standardize approaches to the data.

As of January, the Bethlehem, Pa.-based organization established voluntary guidelines for reporting this information: what data should be collected, the time period for gathering it, when and how to report the data, he said. Annually, not just full- and part-time jobs are counted, but also volunteer, military service and continuing education, and if the job search is active.

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