Employer Engagement

Fulfilling the Promise of ‘College to Career’

Emily-KinardBy Emily Kinard, Research Associate, USA Funds

“College to career” has a nice ring to it, but for the 50 percent of recent college graduates who are unemployed or underemployed, it sounds more like a hollow promise.

I recently attended an event at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce exploring career development’s role in promoting career success. The sentiment at the gathering of business, education, government and nonprofit stakeholders was almost universal: Career advising is broken.

We know that students cite obtaining a good job as their top reason for attending college. Students deserve a positive return on their investment in higher education, but they are faced with an overwhelming number of options — from which school to attend, to which program to pursue, to which classes to take — and, often, receive little guidance in navigating these choices.

Career Development Discussion
Business, education, government and nonprofit officials addressed career development at a recent meeting.

Two of the biggest takeaways from the career development event were:

  1. Employers are failing to adequately communicate with educators.
  2. Career counselors are not receiving the resources or support they need to be successful.

USA Funds® is addressing both of these issues through our employer engagement and college value work.

Employer Engagement
USA Funds has partnered with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation to develop a Talent Pipeline Management (TPM) framework. Based on supply-chain management best practices, TPM calls on employers to unify around shared needs and proactively define and articulate those needs. For example, members of the TPM learning network in Michigan are using TPM principles to identify a set of core competencies critical for local energy sector employees. Similar efforts are underway in Virginia’s information technology and cybersecurity sectors.

In total, seven learning network partners implemented various TPM strategies to uncover best practices for connecting employers and educators.
Building the Talent Pipeline: An Implementation Guide” explores these strategies in greater depth.

College Value
USA Funds’ Completion With a Purpose℠ focus is based on the belief that students deserve a high-quality education that adds value to their careers and lives. But approximately 98 percent of chief academic officers at higher education institutions believe their schools are doing an effective job of preparing students for the workforce, while only 11 percent of business leaders strongly agree.

This skills gap leaves prospective employees without the competencies they need to fill the jobs they seek.

College Completion Quote

To help students (and those advising them) better understand the expected return on their higher education investment, USA Funds is funding four projects that measure the value of postsecondary education based on state-level, program-specific and career-based metrics. This information will better equip advisers and students with the resources they need to be successful.

As participants made clear at the career development event, elevating employer engagement and improving information quality and dissemination are critical steps in promoting student success to and through college and on to meaningful careers and lives. USA Funds is hard at work in these efforts to bring Completion With a Purpose to fruition.

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