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I got a response the other day from the Texas State Technical College System to my request for TSTC Waco’s and TSTC Harlingen’s program-specific employment data. Harlingen has some data, and I’ll be posting that down the line. The system had no Waco program-specific employment data to offer at all. Nonetheless, the system did provide the latest Alumni Employment Survey, Fall 2012, for grads who completed their programs during the 2010-2011 academic year. The report that the system provided for Waco may be viewed in full by opening the following link:

TSTC Waco Alumni Employment Survey Fall 2012 131023

My next couple of posts will be concerning the figures and charts found in this report. Meanwhile, take in this quote from the first page of the report:

Of those who achieved full-time employment, 78% stated that their current job was related to their educational field of study. However, 57% of those employed part-time responded that their education was not related to their current job.

78% “of those who achieved full-time employment” landed a job related to their TSTC program of study. Although it’s a far cry from those 90%+ “placement” rates offered through the media, 78% seems pretty good until one considers that a bunch of those respondents, people like those who were still unemployed, working part-time, or going to another college at the time of survey, did NOT achieve full-time employment.  There’s a nugget or two buried in that report that will be unearthed on this blog.

Meanwhile, as the response to my Texas Public Information Act request reveals, TSTC Waco has no program-related employment stats for the specific instructional programs it offers prospective students; therefore, even if it wants to, it cannot tell those prospective students how technology programs are performing BEFORE people put their money down. The Lamar Institute of Technology is in the same boat. That is disturbing. Some programs perform well; some programs perform poorly. (See “How I Would Help My Neighbor’s Kid Pick a Program at a Texas Public Technical College.”) Students thinking about enrolling in any program need that information.

The generalized, inflated “placement” rates (see “Texas ‘Placement’ Rates for Public, Two-Year Colleges Explained“) offered to the media by the various technical college campuses just don’t cut it.

The vast majority of people go to TSTC and LIT to get jobs in the programs they study, not to get unrelated jobs after their courses of instruction, not to join the military, and not to prep for Harvard. They go to get specific skills and then use those specific skills at a new job.

Giving prospective students program-specific information up front is the right thing, the student-centered thing, to do. Anything less is not about students.