Texas State Technical College is tracking employee outcomes for its students, including dental hygienists, to ensure they land jobs and earn good pay, according to a story published March 28 in EdSurge.
The community college tracks how its graduates fare in the workforce for five years following graduation and keeps tabs on how much money they earn beyond minimum wage during those years because its mission and budget requires it.
The school's mission is to train people for jobs instead of assisting them to transfer to four-year universities. The state funds the school's budget based on graduates' employment outcomes, according to the story.
In higher education, this level of accountability is almost nonexistent. However, that may not be the case for long.
Recently, the U.S. Department of Education proposed revamping its gainful employment rule to ensure career-education programs result in employment. Under the rule, an educational institution program must lead to a degree at a nonprofit or public institution or prepare students for "gainful employment in a recognized profession" to be eligible for funding under the Higher Education Act Title IV student assistance programs, according to Federal Student Aid, an office of the U.S. Department of Education.
Moving forward, the education department wants to more clearly define how an applicable program can show that it prepares students for gainful employment. In addition, the department would like to enact rules that create value for students' investments in higher education, protect students from accumulating debt they can't afford to repay, and promote better labor outcomes.
If this effort pans out, it could place pressure on higher education institutions to prove how investing in school readies their graduates for employment.