Educational institutions should explore the use of occupational data and employer/industry expert feedback to develop competencies and learning outcomes for postsecondary education and training programs. Employers also can tailor their job ads to include academic competencies that employees need. Whether as part of a competency-based or traditional education program, curriculum alignment that starts with data analysis is necessary for colleges to keep student learning relevant to the competencies demanded by industry, as well as to establish stronger ties to employers.
The Center for Employability Outcomes, an applied research center of Texas State Technical College, created the Skills Outcome Analysis in 2014 to help colleges match what is taught in the classroom with work performed in business and industry. The online analytical tool incorporates more than 3,000 skills for more than 900 occupations from 1,400 Texas employers. The skills were validated by 4,000 subject matter experts. In all, 26 Texas colleges have used the tool to align 1,300 courses and 83 postsecondary credentials.