The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on higher education. Declining enrollments, concerns over the rising costs of a college degree, and questions about whether a college degree is necessary to get a “good” job, have prompted many students to stop or drop out of college.
Digital advances offer colleges and universities an opportunity to demonstrate their value to a generation of skeptics during this time of uncertainty. Today, high-value skills, backed with labor market data, help identify the investment and the payoff for students as they chose their career path.
The U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Labor have a lot of data that could be used by colleges and universities to help students build their career paths and understand the value of their degrees. The challenge is that there is such a large amount of complex data that it is difficult to sort through and time-consuming to generate useful insights. To help make this data actionable, colleges and universities are building data sets to make the data more accessible to students and to help them learn what skills are needed for different degrees and how this will support their chosen career path.
Additionally, these data sets are helping states decide whether they have the resources they need to support students and build the workforce of the future. These data sets will also help deliver insight into education and workforce development needs, supply and demand for jobs within the workforce, and what education is needed to support workforce development.
Recently, Vantage Point Consulting has brought together data sets through Snowflake to put data to work to help students. Working with George Mason University (GMU) and Northern Virginia Community (NOVA) College through a Strada grant, Vantage Point designed and built the Career Accelerator Toolkit to help prospective students explore career opportunities provided by ADVANCE’s academic transfer pathways. Additionally, Vantage Point used Natural Language Processing to deconstruct courses into skills, showing demonstrated skills on a Skills Transcript, and encouraging students to persist in the pursuit of real salaries in jobs they want. The targets are supported by key labor metric data including salary by geo-location, the Department of Labor’s O*Net database, and IPEDS —Vantage Point is offering data sets used to build this application on the Snowflake Data Marketplace that other schools may accelerate similar application builds.
In addition, Vantage Point, in partnership with The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL), EMSI, and Snowflake, and with funding from the U.S. Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Educations (FIPSE), designed and built a career pathway exploration tool for underserved communities of color to help increase their confidence, awareness, and relevance for the workforce. Snowflake dramatically accelerated the time-to-value of constructing over 30,000 career pathways by enabling effortless and instant data sharing between partner organizations.
With Vantage Point’s Data offerings through Snowflake, organizations now have access to have instant, actionable information to make informed decisions for their organizations, and offer relevant data to guide students in making the best decisions for their futures. The actionable data will inform best-fit decisions for students, higher education institutions, and state agencies to align workers and quality jobs for thriving communities.
To learn more about how data sets can help support data-driven decisions in higher education, click here.