Using Unemployment Insurance Wage Data to Improve Program Employment Outcomes: A Technical Assistance Guide for Community and Technical Colleges

One of the planned products from the NSF ATE Employment Outcome Study was a guide for college practitioners who are interested in acquiring and using the UI wage data to examine employment and earnings outcomes for students. The guide is intended to draw from the experiences gained in conducting the project and provide practical suggestions for action steps that colleges could take to negotiate their own data sharing agreements, acquire and analyze the data, and interpret the results. 

The guide provides a discussion of the overall accountability context for community colleges, which is under significant transition, particularly as it relates to the question of post-program employment and earnings outcomes. The potential benefits and limitations of using the UI wage data to observe these outcomes are summarized. Most of the guide presents a discussion of six recommended action steps that colleges can take to analyze and potentially improve employment outcomes for graduates: 

1. Form a college leadership team to guide the project; 

2. Define program goals, evaluation questions, and related measures; 

3. Define the data requirements for calculating each of the measures; 

4. Establish data access procedures and negotiate data sharing agreements; 

5. Obtain, process and analyze the data; and 

6. Develop a strategy for using the data as part of a continuous improvement process. 


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