Topic: Postsecondary Education and Employment
Purpose: The Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment (CAPSEE) conducts research and provides national leadership (in cooperation with IES) in order to advance knowledge regarding the link between postsecondary education and the labor market. Specifically, the Center aims to clarify this link with attention to four key topics: (1) relatively short-term occupational degrees (occupational associate degrees and certificates or diplomas) that are designed to improve labor market outcomes; (2) non-credit workforce programs that now enroll millions of students and play an important (but under-investigated) workforce development role; (3) the burgeoning for-profit sector; and (4) the trajectory of earnings growth after college (or even occurring simultaneously with college).
Research Projects: The Center researchers are organized into 12 projects. They will conduct a focused program of research examining relations between postsecondary education, including education and training prior to the bachelor degree level, and employment outcomes. In addition to its focused program of research, the Center researchers will conduct supplementary studies and engage in national leadership activities relevant to postsecondary education and employment. The Center will conduct research using data from five partner states (North Carolina, Michigan, Ohio, Virginia, and Florida) in two broad areas: (1) the labor market returns and (2) institutional and public policies. Regarding labor market returns, the Center researchers will analyze a broad range of educational pathways in 2- and 4-year colleges. Regarding policy issues, the Center researchers will evaluate a series of initiatives designed to improve student outcomes, focusing on policies that combine work and study, that help students choose among educational pathways, and that provide incentives to choose specific occupational programs.
Project 1: North Carolina (Clive Belfield–Queens College, City University of New York (CUNY), Arne Kalleberg–University of North Carolina)
This 5-year analysis using North Carolina data will analyze the employment and earnings outcomes for different community college pathways and awards. Thus, the outcomes for this project will include employment (e.g., industry and occupation), patterns of employment and unemployment, and earnings. For pathways, specific attention will be paid to: (1) remedial education, (2) vocational/technical programs, and (3) patterns and timing of student progression through programs of study. For awards, specific attention will be paid to: (1) sub-baccalaureate credentials, (2) non-credit programs, (3) adult basic education programs, and (4) bachelor's degrees. Variation in the benefits of college will be examined by student characteristics, including age, gender, prior education, work experience, and specific community college. Data for this work will come from the North Carolina Community College System, specifically the Curriculum Registration, Progress, Financial Aid (CRPFA) Report on each student (from 2001–02 to 2011–12), college placement test data, and high school transcript data linked to Unemployment Insurance (UI) data.
Project 2: Michigan (Susan Dynarski–University of Michigan, Brian Jacob–University of Michigan)
This is a 5-year analysis using Michigan data. The first objective is to estimate the employment and earnings returns to course credits and the additional returns to a credential or degree. The second research objective is to examine variation in outcomes by program and course content (e.g., math, science, and remedial courses) and student characteristics (gender, race/ethnicity, English learner status, age, previous employment, previous academic preparation, and displaced worker status). The educational data sources will be longitudinal, student-level administrative data from community colleges in Michigan. Analysis by student characteristics will allow the research team to estimate potential differential effects of these programs for lower and higher income students.
Project 3: Ohio (Eric Bettinger–Stanford University, Bridget Long–Harvard)
In this study, the research team will examine the college enrollment, persistence, and educational and employment outcomes of Ohio students by using state administrative data matched with employment records. The sample will include all the students who have ever enrolled in Ohio's colleges. The research team will also make comparisons across the relative value of different sectors (e.g., technical colleges, community colleges, universities) in retraining workers. The research aims to identify whether traditional 2-year colleges and technical 2-year colleges have been successful in helping workers overcome job loss and shifting skill demands through retraining programs.
Project 4: Virginia (Shanna Jaggars–Community College Research Center [CCRC])
This is a 4-year study using Virginia data to relate educational pathways to the industry and occupation of employment, patterns of employment, earnings, and occupational outcomes. The research team will also carry out two additional analyses. First, the research team will examine the relationship between scores on the state's Career Readiness Certificate exam and employment outcomes (employment and earnings). Second, they will compare students who start in community colleges with those who start in 4-year colleges and will contrast the labor market outcomes for students who transfer from community college to 4-year schools to “native" students, i.e., students who initially enroll in 4-year colleges.
Project 5: Florida (Lou Jacobson–CNA)
This 5-year analysis of Florida data will extend previous analyses of the employment and earnings outcomes for various community college degrees and certificates. The researchers will include non-traditional students (in particular older, economically disadvantaged adults and dislocated workers) to evaluate barriers created by poverty and unemployment into account. In addition, the research team will analyze the effect of the use of One-Stop Career Centers.
Project 6: The Role of the For-Profit Sector in Higher Education (David Deming–Carnegie Mellon University, Claudia Goldin–Harvard University, Lawrence Katz–Harvard University)
This 5-year analysis of national and state datasets will analyze the relative size and importance of the for-profit sector and compare education and labor market outcomes (employment, earnings, pattern of unemployment, and industry and occupation of employment) for those attending for-profit institutions versus similar students attending public institutions. The project will pay particular attention to a comparison of the characteristics of students in the for-profit and public sectors to determine whether there are systematic race/ethnic and socioeconomic status differences between the two groups.
Project 7: Returns to Inter-State Mobility (Judith Scott-Clayton–CCRC)
This project involves linking postsecondary data from Florida to national administrative employment data from the Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics database. First, the researchers will examine the link between specific educational pathways and cross-state mobility. Second, because they can track students across state lines, they will examine national returns to schooling and track students over a longer time period than would be feasible with single-state data. Third, by establishing the link between specific educational pathways and cross-state mobility, they will be able to estimate the direction and magnitude of bias that results when researchers must rely on single-state databases.
Project 8: Federal Work Study (Judith Scott-Clayton–CCRC)
This 4-year analysis of data is from cohorts of 2- and 4-year entrants to Florida's public higher education system between 1991–92 and 2003–04. These data are matched to administrative state employment and earnings records. The researchers will examine the effects of mixing work and schooling on employment and educational outcomes. Specifically, they will study the effects of access to the Federal Work Study (FWS) program, which encourages on-campus work, on educational and labor market outcomes up to five years following anticipated college graduation date. They will use a difference-in-difference with instrumental variables strategy using the fact that FWS funds are allocated somewhat idiosyncratically across schools.
Project 9: Working While Enrolled (Eric Bettinger–Stanford University, Bridget Long–Harvard University)
This research study focuses on examining the roles that student employment plays in predicting students' college success. This project uses the same data as Project 3 (Ohio). The research team will first provide a descriptive analysis of how extensive employment while studying is among Ohio students. In the second part of the analysis, the research team will attempt to identify the effects of such employment on subsequent college success. Additionally, researchers are interested in determining whether concurrent employment undermines students' success in college.
Project 10: No Worker Left Behind (Susan Dynarski–University of Michigan, Brian Jacob–University of Michigan)
In this 4-year analysis of data from Michigan, the researchers will examine Michigan's No Worker Left Behind (NWLB) program, which aims to draw struggling workers back to school to obtain credentials in high-demand fields. The research team will evaluate whether the policy has succeeded in helping workers in Michigan obtain such credentials and will address potential issues of selection bias caused by long waitlists of people who have expressed interest in the training program.
Project 11: One-Stop Career Centers (Michelle Van Noy–CCRC)
In this 4-year analysis of data from North Carolina, the researchers will examine the effectiveness of One-Stop Career Centers located on community college campuses in North Carolina in securing employment for students. The researchers will also explore the effect of the One-Stop Career Centers on students' career choice. In addition, they will explore both whether this type of institutional arrangement facilitates better education and labor market outcomes and whether such effects have differential effects based on factors such as socioeconomic status and gender.
Project 12: Subject-Area Incentives (Judith Scott-Clayton–CCRC)
In this 4-year analysis of administrative data from Florida and North Carolina, the researchers study the impacts of two major new programs intended to encourage students to pursue educational and career paths in high-need fields. The researchers will utilize quasi-experimental approaches, including both regression discontinuity and interrupted-time-series designs, to estimate the effects of these programs. An important aspect of this study will be an examination of program take-up rates, given the concern that students may not be aware of all relevant federal-level policies. These data include information determining program eligibility, actual program participation, and academic and labor market outcomes for all cohorts up to 2 years following college completion.
Center Website: http://capseecenter.org.
IES Program Contact: Dr. Hiromi Ono
Telephone: (202) 208-2174