Lone Star College Used Job Market Data to Prepare Their Students for the WorkforceLabor Insight provided the real-time analysis to create better programs
Lone Star College is the largest higher education system located in the Houston area and one of the fastest growing community colleges in the country.
Lone Star serves more than 90,000 students per year, offering associate’s degrees, technical degrees, certificates, and a variety of employment training programs.
Lone Star’s for-profit Corporate College partners with businesses to train 5,000 working professionals each year.
Accomplish Great Things, Reap the Rewards
Using Labor Insight to uncover local market needs, Lone Star College transformed into a cutting-edge workforce training institution that contributes to positive economic growth in greater Houston.
Burning Glass insights feed program and curricula decisions, helping address skill gaps in the local market. To date, Lone Star has achieved the following benefits:
Increased revenues with over 25 new programs implemented
Improved student hire-ability by shifting learning to local market needs
Fostered employer growth through better qualified student candidates
“Our primary goal in workforce education is to train the community for great jobs in Houston, Texas. With real-time, labor-time market data, we can conduct a scan of any occupation. We know who is hiring and what competencies and technical skills they need. We are making sure our program choices and curriculum remain current so that our students are trained and ready for jobs employers need to fill.”Linda L. Head
Burning Glass’s user-friendly Labor Insight™ tool provides the most accurate, in-depth portrayal of current and future job market needs, allowing educators, policy makers, and others to identify new areas for program and curricula development. This case study describes how one institution fostered local economic growth with this solution.
How to Keep up with Changing Needs?
The primary mission of the Lone Star College Office of Workforce Education and Corporate Partnerships is to cultivate a skilled workforce that keeps local businesses thriving and improves the economic vitality of the greater Houston area.
By 2010, it was clear that change was needed.
New technologies were causing rapid change in local industries, and companies needed the local skilled labor to adapt and learn or be forced to relocate. Lone Star had to find a way to supply the local market quickly with skilled talent in a time of economic downturn
A System Transformed by Data
Using Labor Insight as the key to uncovering the match between local employer needs and skills training, Lone Star College overhauled its approach to programmatic and curricula decisions.
Today, the institution’s best practice remains:
- The first step is to evaluate the college’s degree and certificate programs on a regular basis and create recommendations for improvement.
- Then industry representatives vet the information through focus groups and employer interviews.
- Finally, members of the Chancellor’s Cabinet consider student enrollment, program completion, job re-entry data, and financial projections to determine next steps.
With as many as 50 program proposals (including those in the medical, technical, science, and engineering fields) researched per year, the impact of this data-driven process positively affects both the college and local economy.
Results: Program Growth and Curricula Changes Foster Positive Outcomes
Labor Insight data revealed that a few programs were not well matched to local market needs. For example, the two-year Hotel Management degree did not align with local market requirements, and competition had a strong offer that did align and meet local market demand. Thus, Lone Star decided to invest elsewhere.
Some programs did not offer curricula that kept up with the changing skills needs. For example, four Computer Information Technology programs were re-built from the ground-up to match the growing employer demand for new and emerging skills in the sector.
New program growth: Since 2011, Lone Star modified many existing programs and added nine new associate’s degrees, three credit certificates, and 15 non-credit certificates. Many of these were in the oil and gas industry, where Labor Insight revealed a surplus of jobs just outside the College’s geographic reach. In response, the college launched the Energy and Manufacturing Institute, creating programs to match demand and expanding their geographic reach with five new centers in optimal locations.
Today, new students train for well-paying jobs in drilling, machining, engineering technology, process technology, information technology, truck driving, and more.