Maine Unveils Employment Outcomes Website

By Michelle Massie
August 5, 2014

As part of the effort to empower stakeholders through information, Maine developed a public website that links graduate records with wage records. Only students who enroll in Maine public postsecondary institutions or academic adult education programs are reported. 

The website provides students and families with more information on employment and earnings outcomes for graduates of Maine public colleges and universities as they make decisions about higher education. Policymakers also may benefit, as they use aggregate information to assess higher education needs and trends in the state’s job market. 

The site displays first year wage and employment outcomes for University of Maine System and Maine Community College graduates from the 2009-2011 academic years. The information is intended to help people better understand the relationship between education credentials and labor market outcomes.

The outcomes data includes the number and percentage of graduates employed in Maine and the wages paid to them. The data is available by school, credential and area of study. The results show averages for groups of students to ensure confidentiality of individual information.

In April, the state of Maine passed legislation in support of the outcomes website. The law created a task force of 15 members to develop procedures around the maintenance and dissemination of the data, which is already held by the state Department of Labor and Department of Education. The task force will also work to identify funding for the long-term sustainability of the website. 

The site was developed by the Maine Department of Labor, Center for Workforce Research and Information with grants from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Workforce Data Quality Initiative and the Maine Department of Education’s Statewide Longitudinal Data System American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grant; and is part of a collaborative effort with the University of Maine System and the Maine Community College System.

According to Bill Hurwitch, Director of the Statewide Longitudinal Data System for the Maine Department of Education, the site provides information to address the following questions:

  • Do program completers get jobs in Maine?
  • What do those jobs pay?
  • How do wage and employment outcomes vary by degree, institution and area of study?

Some limitations exist as the site is unable to capture data on graduates’ occupations, graduates who work out of state and federal/military employment.

One of the tenets of WDQC’s policy agenda is to assess employment outcomes for all education and training programs. Maine is putting this principle to work. WDQC will continue to identify examples of states using their data systems to address customer needs.