Consumer Report on Vocational-Technical Programs Developed by MnSCU and Department of Economic Security

Posted: October 2, 1996

Contact: Doug Anderson, doug.anderson@so.mnscu.edu, 651-201-1426

ST. PAUL -- A report designed to help prospective technical college students make more informed career and education decisions has been released by the Minnesota Department of Economic Security (MDES) and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU).

The pilot project, titled the "Minnesota Higher Education Consumer Report on Vocational-Technical Programs," reports the percentage of technical college graduates who have found employment in the fields for which they were trained, based on 1994 graduates.

The report also includes data on the number of graduates available for work and the number of graduates continuing their education after graduation. In addition, it enables prospective students and counselors to:

  • view follow-up employment data for each campus;
  • compare follow-up data on similar programs statewide;
  • learn job titles of employed graduates; and
  • access information such as maps of state Workforce Centers and MnSCU institutions, address and telephone listings and Internet sites.

"This is the kind of consumer information our customers have been asking for for a long time," said Economic Security Commissioner R. Jane Brown. "It is wonderful to see the kind of quality product we can produce by working in partnership."

The report was created over the past two years through a collaborative effort between MnSCU and MDES.

"Although the data always have been available, this information never has been accessible in such an easy-to-use and understandable format," said MnSCU Chancellor Judith S. Eaton. "We know this product will serve as a useful tool for our guidance counselors as they assist prospective students with career and training decisions.

"At the same time, it is important to realize that job placement rates are not the only measure of a college program's success," she added. "Many students who find employment in areas outside their specific fields of study consider their education to have been relevant and worthwhile."

Eaton noted that a number of programs with lower placement rates have been discontinued.

Consumer feedback on the pilot project will be sought through surveys and focus groups, and improvements will be made in future editions. Students and career placement and guidance counselors will be asked to comment on the format and information in the report.

MnSCU and MDES intend to provide more information in future editions, such as aggregate earnings of graduates and data from other education providers.

The report is available as a reference document at Minnesota Workforce Center resource rooms and Minnesota technical college guidance offices. Soft-bound copies may be purchased for $5.00 by calling Julie Pawelec at 612-296-6545.

MnSCU, a system of community colleges, state universities and technical colleges, serves more than 151,500 students at campuses in 46 communities around the state.

MDES helps Minnesotans help themselves to achieve economic security.