A Guide for College Access to and Use of Labor Market Data

Never before has the link between a college education and postgraduate job prospects been more important. College graduates are employed more often and, on average, earn significantly more than those without college degrees. During recent years, as students have moved into a challenging job market, a college education has remained the most reliable defense against unemployment. 

This guide aims to advance colleges’ understanding of how to access and use labor market data to improve student success. The three sections that follow provide: 

  • A description of how colleges can use labor market data. 
  • An inventory of available data sources. 
  • Recommendations for what colleges can do to improve labor market data use and access. 

The examples in this guide come from community colleges, gathered primarily through explorations related to the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. However, four-year colleges are also facing budget challenges and increasing expectations to deliver measurable results. Against this backdrop, this guide can also assist four-year colleges as they seek to understand labor market outcomes for bachelor’s degree programs. 

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