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April 8, 2022

Handshake Team

Measuring the Career Outcomes and Metrics that Matter

Christine Cruzvergara and Andy Chan lay out a vision for integrating career services into the fabric of institutions in their latest whitepaper.

What are the career readiness outcomes and metrics that matter? Why is it important for institutions to integrate career services into the student experience?

Outcomes and Metrics that Matter—a whitepaper authored by Christine Cruzvergara, Handshake’s Chief Education Strategy Officer, and Andy Chan, VP for Innovation and Career Development at Wake Forest University—answers these questions and provides higher education leaders with a framework for embedding career services as a central component of their strategic plans.

Here are some of the key highlights from the paper:

Three trends shifting the need to focus on career readiness

Many colleges and universities are struggling to survive as they emerge from the post-pandemic era. Christine and Andy outline three key trends that will have an impact upon universities’ survival:

  1. Enrollment/Demographic Changes: Universities must be prepared to serve an increasingly diverse student population, those who are underrepresented, from low-income households, or the first generation to attend college. These are the same populations employers seek as they diversify their own organizations.
  2. Virtual: The virtual mode of interaction increases access for underrepresented students, and most employers are incorporating virtual capabilities into their recruiting practices. Institutions must be proactive in adopting the appropriate technology and hosting virtual opportunities for students to ensure they’re setting them up for success.
  3. Skills: Employers are utilizing technology to identify students with relevant credentials and skills. Students need to add credentials and work-integrated learning experiences to their areas of academic focus.

Metrics that matter during college and outcomes that matter after college

To rethink how career services is integrated into the institution’s strategic plans, leaders must first agree on a common set of career readiness metrics—measured during and after college—that define success.

The whitepaper outlines examples of metrics and outcomes for institutions to consider when measuring their progress. The metrics and outcomes, while detailed, are not actually complex. Their goal is to get to the heart of understanding students’ sense of career and life readiness, how they perceive their school in important dimensions, and how their academic experience aligns with their career path.

Some examples outlined in the whitepaper include:

Metrics during college

  • Student engagement: number of student appointments with career centers or mentors, number of interviews students attend, etc.
  • Experiential learning: percentage of academic programs with integrated internship(s) and work-based learning; percentage of students engaged in internships, intensive research projects, and service learning; etc.

Outcomes after college

  • Outcome satisfaction: How happy are students with their employment, graduate school, or other outcome?
  • Social capital: How have students’ connections from college (students, alumni, employers, faculty, etc.) helped them in their career development?
  • Applied competencies: What specific knowledge and skills from college have students used in their career?

Join the discussion

On October 7 at 12:15pm PT/3:15pm ET, Christine and Andy will be joined by Lynn Pasquerella, President of the Association of American Colleges & Universities, on a webinar to discuss the imperative to embed career services in the institution. Register here.

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