UIA - Strada: A New Data Dialogue: Bridging the Gap from Education to Employment (ASUF30007903)

Project: Research project

Project Details


UIA - Strada: A New Data Dialogue: Bridging the Gap from Education to Employment (ASUF30007903) UIA - University Innovation Alliance (2017 Strada Education Network) The growing and pervasive misalignment between the skills employers say they want and the skills higher education institutions think they are providing is well documented. According to a recent Gallup poll, 96% of chief academic officers at higher education institutions across the nation believed they were preparing students for the workforce while just 11% of business leaders agreed with their counterparts. Despite years of rigorous academic study, many recent graduates find it difficult to directly correlate the knowledge they gained in college with the career pathway they are hoping to build. This is particularly challenging for first-generation and underrepresented college students who struggle more than their counterparts to formulate a professional identity. For their part, employers face similar challenges selecting qualified applicants based on resumes and transcripts that dont naturally translate to key elements of a job description. Automated analytics software have proven counterproductive in some instances in that they often eliminate qualified candidates from consideration based on arbitrary proxies for specific competencies. Research suggests that fully 80% of employers are looking for an electronic repository that meaningfully summarizes and demonstrates a candidates accomplishments (AAC&U, 2015). Now more than ever, students need a useful and effective means to translate their college experience into marketable skills. A number of transformative career-related technologies have emerged in recent years that offer students the opportunity to learn more about todays job market using big data -- gaining early insight on starting salaries, required credentials and more--in real time. Additionally, digital portfolios have enabled a truly interactive exchange between students and potential employers that far surpasses the usefulness of the traditional resume. Although these emerging technologies allow institutions to support students in showcasing their skills to prospective employers, this is only half the battle. Higher education institutions have struggled to build a comprehensive framework of career support services that meets the needs of the 21st century. According to a 2016 nationwide Gallup poll, of the half of graduates who had any interaction with their college career services office, only 16 percent found them very helpful. This is more daunting for first generation and low-income college students, who have their own unique career development needs. In order to reduce the skills gap, universities must also move away from providing solely transactional services like reviewing resumes and offering mock interviews. Rather, they must focus on establishing new and innovative partnership models with employers and alumni to improve the transition from college to career for their students. Since launching in 2014, our eleven institutions have been slowly redesigning their campuses around student success by scaling innovations like predictive analytics, proactive advising, and completion grants. Over the past 3 years, the UIA has demonstrated unprecedented national higher education leadership in the realm of student success, and we must now turn our attention to the transition of all our graduates to career success (regardless of their socioeconomic background, generational status, or race/ethnicity). The following project would help to address these underlying issues and result in (1) a framework and recommendations to bridge the data gap between postsecondary institutions and employers, (2) a playbook of best practices for supporting low income, first generation, and students of color transitioning from college to internship to career, (3) recommendations for the development of high impact career services support, and (4) launch of a national college-employer partnership centered on the design and implementation of the next frontier of college credentialing.
Effective start/end date1/1/186/30/21


  • Strada Education Network: $2,400,000.00


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