Educational institutions at the secondary and postsecondary level should add occupational and labor market data, employment projections, wages, and student skill, value, and interest assessment data to the student career counseling process to inform college major and career selection. Some institutions of higher education are also using predictive analytics to identify course-taking patterns, course completion rates, and other factors that might help determine the keys that lead to student progress and success. These data-driven tools can address gaps in the availability of quality guidance counseling and provide additional guidance to those who need it most, including low-income and first-generation college students.
In 2009, the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) created the Virginia Education Wizard, an online portal that takes into account the skills, interests, and values of learners and helps them make decisions about careers and postsecondary education and training options. The newest version, released in January 2016, updates existing information on career pathways, curricula, and financial assistance, adds a new portal designed by and for veterans attending VCCS institutions, and features a game for teenagers, Imagine, that suggests occupations, with wages, that would allow them to afford the particular lifestyle they wish to enjoy.
The NYC Labor Market Information Service at the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center began creating Career Maps in 2014. The five career maps produced to date allow CUNY students to plan career trajectories for themselves as they acquire more skills or attain higher levels of education. The maps include flowcharts of different tiers of the most common career progressions based on actual work histories. They also include the median annual salary of workers in each position, the typical educational requirements needed to hold that position, and details on which CUNY institutions offer the necessary credentials to advance in those careers. Careers on the maps include medical assisting, home health, bookkeeping and accounting, tech support, and cooks and chefs.
Launch My Career Colorado is an online dashboard that allows high school students to visualize the return on investment from a credential at a particular Colorado postsecondary institution. College Measures at the American Institutes for Research developed the dashboard in 2016 with data from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, the Colorado Department of Higher Education, and Gallup. Learners and workers can select jobs and view an occupational description, the expected earnings over a 20-year period compared to those of high school graduates, a list of associated skills common to the industry, and the highest degrees common to workers in the field. They can also view how many years it will take for them to break even after paying off their college loans, given their current and expected spending habits.