Western graduates making financial gains in the community
Published on Tuesday, May 06, 2008
The growth in earnings by Western Technical College graduates was 42 percent over the rate of inflation over the past five years. According to the Western Technical College Longitudinal Follow-Up Study, more than 70 percent of the 2001-02 graduates are working in their fields of training and employed in the seven-county local district. These graduates experienced a median salary growth of 65 percent over a five-year period (10.5 percent annually) to over $38,000. The change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) was 16 percent for the same period.
The Longitudinal Follow-Up Study, which looks at changes in employment five years after graduation, also concluded that technical college graduates had much lower unemployment rates (2 percent) than all Wisconsin workers during that time (5.1 percent).
Changes in the economy dictate that employees are highly skilled and ready for employment in a number of Wisconsin’s established and new sectors, many of which are technology driven. Western Technical College provides the most relevant education for these new and emerging technology careers, according to Lee Rasch, Western’s president.
To align education with business and industry, Western uses advisory committees made up of business and industry representatives to provide input on their most critical employment needs. The Longitudinal Study evaluates the success of employees and their respective education.
“Our advisory committees make sure our programs are relevant to the jobs and careers available. Our graduates are prepared to excel in those jobs. This survey is one of our measurement tools to verify the success of our students and satisfaction of employers,” Rasch added.
In the survey, most respondents (87 percent) agreed their technical college education played an important role at the start of their career and an even greater number (94 percent) said they are likely to recommend technical college to others. Also, roughly nine of every 10 (87 percent) are employed in Wisconsin.
A total of 552 of 1,349 graduates completed the survey in late 2007 for a 41 percent response rate. Western conducts the Longitudinal Follow-Up Study every four years and compares it with the Graduate Follow-Up Study for that same class. The Graduate Follow-Up Study evaluates employment six months after graduation.