Back on December 12, 2013, the Marshall News Messenger treated the reading public to an article titled “TSTC Graduates 51, Four-Fifths Have Jobs.” That headline very, oh-so-explicitly says that 4 out of five TSTC grads have “jobs.” Note, once again, dear readers, that there are no adjectives around the word “job”–words like “in their field of study,” or “technical” or “program-related.” Nada. For that reason and because when officials start slinging the word “placement’ around, they’re usually including students who transferred to another college, I was concerned about the accuracy of the article. Accordingly, I sent a Texas Public Information Act request to get the facts. I’ve got at least some of them now. Click on the image below to enlarge it:
As my site visitors can readily see, four-fifths of TSTC Marshall’s fall 2013 grads did NOT have jobs. 49%, a bit less than half of the grads, actually landed a job related to their program of study, and another 25% landed an unrelated job of some sort, whether at a fast-food joint or some other place. That means that 74%, not quite 3 out of 4, had “a job.” That “four-fifths” or 81% that the story and officials throw around so happily also includes students who transferred to another college. The real headline here is that less than half found a job related to the TSTC program for which they spent a year or two studying and may still be on the hook to pay for if they’ve got student loans.
For those who regularly visit my site, particularly the occasional TSTC official, let me ask you this: just how many kids who need a job and are thinking about going to TSTC stop and think, “Oh, that 81% includes jobs in the field studied, jobs out of the field studied, the military, and students who transfer to another college”? How many? Of course, it’s hard to brag about only 49% getting a program-related job, isn’t it?
Prospective students deserve full disclosure.