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Hearing that 90% or more Texas State Technical College placement rate thrown around so much (click here and here for a couple of examples), it is good to get a report from the Texas State Technical College Waco that offers a little more to chew on in the form of its Alumni Employment Survey, Fall 2012, which measured outcomes for grads & completers enrolled in the 2010-2011 academic year.

While I was reading the report, I got a little turned around with all the such-and-such a percent of such-and-such percent of another percent going on in those pages. What I wanted to know was pretty basic, yet I had to dig it out of the report myself. I wanted to know the total percentage of all respondents who found full-time jobs related to their programs of study while enrolled at TSTC Waco. For my money, here’s the key page of the report for the information I was after:

TSTC Waco Alumni Employment Survey Report Fall 2012 p4 131030

(FYI, the first page of the report said the college got 122 respondents, and this page’s numbers only add up to 121, but–what the heck–I’ll run with it anyway.

The listing of each category at the bottom of page 4 of the report shows that 78 of 121 students, or 64.46%, found a full-time job. TSTC Waco’s report shows that very plainly. NOW, the first page of the report said, “Of those who achieved full-time employment, 78% stated that their current job was related to their educational field of study.” OK, 78% of the 78 students who found any ol’ full-time job comes out to 60.84 students who managed to find a full-time, program-related job. I’ll just round up to 61 students. Curiously, that number does NOT appear in the graph on p. 4. Here’s another one that doesn’t appear: the 61 students who found a full-time job related to their program amount to 50.41% of the 121 respondents accounted for in the graph above. Of course, another much smaller category had 6 grads with a full-time job. Those grads found full-time jobs AND were going to another college. Accordingly, let’s make a big (a very big) assumption and decide that all 6 found full-time jobs related to their TSTC program. That would bring the total number of students who found full-time jobs related to their program up to 67 students, or 55.37% of the 121 respondents accounted for the on the graph. (Again, the first page of the report said 122 grads/completers responded.)

Heck, let’s go on and include even part-timers who found a job related to their TSTC program. The report said this about part-timers on page 1: “However, 57% of those employed part-time responded that their education was not related to their current job.” OK, if 57% were NOT related, then 43% were related to the grads’ program of study. Of 7 part-timers revealed on page 4, that 43% would break out to 3 students working part time in their field. SO, whether part-time or full-time, and assuming that all 6 people working full-time and continuing their education got jobs related to their TSTC program, a grand total of 70 grads and completers found a program-related job (61 full-time + 6 full-time & continuing education + 3 part-timers = 70). 70 of 121 total respondents yields 57.85%, still waaaay below those 90%+ “placement’ numbers in the media.

Accordingly, if students enroll at TSTC Waco thinking they’ve got a 90% or more chance of getting “placed” in full-time jobs related to their fields of study upon graduation, they’re going to be disappointed in that 50.41% or that 55.37% emerging from that fall 2012 survey. If their goal is to study a year or two, spend thousands of dollars, and then land a part-time job, then, based on this survey, we can push that percentage all the way up to 57.85%. Meanwhile, the 90% or more drumbeat continues unabated.

As this site’s visitors already know, Texas requires private career schools to spill their guts to PROSPECTIVE students; the state requires virtually nothing of its own public two-year colleges. Grads’ own voices make a much more eloquent complaint than I can here.

Texas’s public technical schools could and should do better whether the law requires them to or not. Everything at public colleges should be student-centered–everything.

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