Excellence in Placement Outcomes — It Takes a Village

Placement outcomes have oft been relegated to the career services department on campus.  That department lives or dies on their relationships with students, and the preparedness of same, yet other departments on campus are rarely accountable to preparedness measures and/or placement outcomes.

In the new college environment, employment outcomes must be at the forefront of thinking for all departments, and all staff and faculty.  This opinion isn’t rocket science — what does appear to be rocket science is how to implement campus-wide ownership of employment outcomes.

Innovative private-sector colleges, and other campuses across America are implementing extraordinary programs that capture key areas to drive accountability for employment outcomes, including:

  • Compensation plans for every member of staff that have at least some component tied to placement outcomes for the campus
  • Student-facing programs, including at the point of admission, that reinforce the importance of pursuing a career in their field of study — some even go so far as to have students sign a letter committing to seeking employment
  • Regular and comprehensive communication plans to make staff and faculty aware of employment outcomes, and forecasting employment challenges in the future

And, perhaps most importantly:

  • Aggressive and comprehensive market analysis programs that analyze present and future employment needs within a reasonable geography and then dare to ask the tough questions about eliminating programs that are popular, but have limited employment potential.

It truly does take the village — and not just the village within your campus walls, but those villagers outside, such as key employers, educators at other institutions, even the competition.  How are your partnerships with those external constituencies?

Assess the strength of your village today — will it raise and send forth graduates that are prepared to become successfully employed in their field of study?