Gaps between business demands and workers’ abilities hamper both economic growth and individual self-sufficiency.  Colleges must align programs with current labor market information (LMI) to meet business’ hiring requirements, enable graduates’ career success, and drive economic growth. The following resources explain how some education and training professionals harness the power of LMI to build pathways and career successes.

A Framework for Higher Education Labor Market Alignment: Lessons and Future Directions in the Development of Jobs-Driven Strategies

Created by the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, this resource provides a framework for researchers and policymakers who seek to create college environments that educate and graduate the appropriate numbers of students with the relevant skill sets to meet employer hiring needs. Using this framework, colleges can address local skills needs by instituting strategies such as career pathways, business engagement, work-based learning, and competency-based education. The authors present several approaches for collecting, analyzing, and applying LMI in a variety of higher education institutions and offer a nuanced view of the dynamics involved in the ongoing alignment of education and training with ever-changing LMI.

Success in Real-Time: Using Real-Time Labor Market Information to Build Better Middle-Skill STEM Pathways
State and local workforce and education professionals will find useful and real-time LMI strategies that align science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education with business’ hiring needs and connect graduates to family-sustaining wage jobs in this guide. The authors discuss the growth of STEM fields, differences between real-time and traditional LMI, and challenges in keeping up with the rapid changes in STEM occupations. The guide concludes with five policy recommendations to establish and maintain agile STEM programs that are relevant to business needs and lead to student completion and career success in middle-skill STEM occupations.

Using Labor Market Data to Improve Student Success
The guide describes how colleges can access, analyze, and apply labor market projections and results to improve degree and training programs to ensure that they lead to students’ career success. A case study of how one college used LMI to assess whether to add a new program of study exemplifies how other institutions might balance student demand for particular career programs with current business needs. Readers will also find an inventory of LMI sources and guidance on accessing state and regional wage and employment data in the guide.