A new report from the Iowa Department of Education tracks the history of graduates of the state’s 15 community college and where they end up in the job market. Education consultant, Paula Nissen, compiled the report in conjunction with Iowa Workforce Development.
Nissen says more than 86 percent of the students stay in Iowa after graduation. “A lot of them will transfer, approximately half will transfer to either another program within the college that they were attending, or to another two or four-year institution in the state. A small portion of them will transfer to another institution out of the state, and then another 40 to 50 percent of them will go on to employment,” Nissen says. She says 3.5 of those who went on to jobs went out of state.
A majority of awards to graduates were in the liberal arts and sciences, health professions, business management, marketing, mechanics and general programs. “There’s a lot of advance manufacturing type positions. Of course computers are always very hot, they’re going to be very high demand, high-paying jobs. Of course health care is big one across the state, it remains an in demand position,” Nissen says.
Nissen says the report shows the investment in community colleges has been a good one for the state. She says the annual report will help the community colleges and potential students. “Moving forward it will give us a lot of information to make those strategic decisions, and to be able to counsel our kids in high school much better to get into the positions that are in demand…or that they can get study onward and further their education in certain types of occupations,” according to Nissen.
The report finds on average, 48 percent of associate-degree students completed schooling within two years. She says they’ve found students sometimes don’t think of a two-year degree as an option. “I think that it opens a lot of doors and a lot of eyes to kids for them to know that they don’t have to just go straight from high school to a four-year, they attend a two-year college, they can go straight into employment,” Nissen says. “There’s a lot of training, short term training opportunities for those kids to acquire to go right into employment and make a living wage.”
The report finds more than 80 percent of the graduates in each type of degree found a job within one year of graduating. Those graduating with an Associate of Applied Sciences Degree had the highest median wage at $30,379. Nissen says she plans to dig deeper into the demographics of the students in future reports to detail things like the ages of students who are getting a two-year degree.
You can find out more details on the Department of Education’s website at: www.educateiowa.gov.