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Maine Department of Labor Showcases New Data Dashboard on Post-College Employment

Targeted News Service

AUGUSTA, Maine, Aug. 11 -- The Maine Department of Labor issued the following news release:

The Maine Department of Labor'sCenter for Workforce Research and Information has developed a new data system that measures the employment outcomes of college graduates. The system, which took three years to develop, links the records of University of Maine System and Maine Community College System students with their corresponding unemployment insurance wage records available at the department.

"Bringing these sets of data together will improve our ability to answer important questions regarding the extent to which new graduates find jobs in Maine, and what are they paid," said Governor Paul R. LePage. "Several other states have implemented similar systems, and this initiative, which has been in development for three years, will better inform Maine's educational system, policymakers and employers--but most of all, aid our students and their families in making their career choices."

The data is available by credential, area of study and school. The data system serves as a platform for understanding what happens to cohorts of college graduates once they leave school and as they progress through the workforce. It can be used to address such questions as:

* Do students get jobs in Maine?

* What do they earn?

* How do the wage and employment outcomes for various credentials compare?

* How many students are completing programs in specific areas of study, such as nursing, engineering or welding?

The value of an education includes factors beyond employment statistics. The data system does not measure intangible factors such as personal satisfaction with earning a credential and the intrinsic value of an education.

However, this type of information offers value for a range of stakeholders. For example, students will be able to make more informed career choices. College administrators and educators will have information to better evaluate programs and more efficiently allocate scarce resources. Economic developers, employers and policy makers can use the data to better understand the pipeline of newly trained graduates in strategic sectors.

The system was able to capture 76 percent of those in the cohort as having been employed in Maine.

Overall, the data shows that higher levels of education tend to be accompanied by higher wages. In general, graduates with higher levels of education had higher first year wages.

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At present, this tool only measures first year employment outcomes which may not be reflective of long-term outcomes. With additional funding, longer term outcomes will be developed.

As with any data set, there are limitations that are important for users to understand. Outcomes include only those with covered employment in Maine. Individuals might not appear in the data because they got a job outside the state of Maine, they are self-employed, they are employed by the federal government or are pursuing further education and out of the job market. Employment outcomes will also vary with the economic cycle, industry and region of employment. For other important limitations, and more information on the tool, please visit http://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/wdqi/ .

The system was developed in partnership with UMS, MCCS and the Maine Department of Education's Statewide Longitudinal Data System (SLDS). Grants from the U.S. Department of Labor'sEducation and Training Administration and the SLDS provided funding for the project.

CWRI develops and disseminates information on employment, unemployment and wages; analyzes outcomes of education and training programs to guide decision-making; and develops industry and occupational employment forecasts designed to guide career planning and curriculum development. They work with a wide range of customers to provide context to the dynamics of the economy and the implications those have for workforce development. CWRI publishes a variety of data on Maine's economy, workforce and demographics at http://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri .

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