The Center for Employability Outcomes (C4EO) at Texas State Technical College is a research, development, and commercialization division focused on optimizing student employability. C4EO develops solutions to capture skill requirements of industry and to align them with educational offerings. The result is a more qualified workforce for industry and better job placement outcomes for graduates. The Center is a response to the growing demand for skilled-labor needs generated by rising incumbent worker retirements (baby boomers), global competition in the labor market, and technological advances across industry sectors.
SkillsEngine: Aligning Education With the Needs of the Texas Workforce
When TSTC converted to its outcomes-based funding model, the College refocused its attention on the skill and job demands of Texas employers. TSTC recognized immediately that traditional methods of designing curriculum – involving the laborious process of linking industry advisory groups with faculty and curriculum designers – was ineffective and could not keep pace with evolving skills needed in the job market.
To streamline this process, TSTC created a new skills data platform called SkillsEngine, along with a web-based application called Calibrate that uses algorithms to create Job Profiles, matching competencies or skills with specific occupations. The Job Profiles are validated online by educators and industry professionals within minutes and can easily be customized.
Together, SkillsEngine and Calibrate have transformed curriculum development from a costly, inefficient process that can take years to a revolutionary process that takes only a few hours, ensuring that the technical skills taught in the classroom match those in an ever-changing work environment.
Calibrate directly supports a growing number of state and national mandates to improve student employability outcomes and enhance accountability metrics. In Texas, institutions are seeking solutions to the state’s new Higher Education Strategic plan, 60x30TX. This plan charges two- and four-year public institutions with identifying and updating, as needed, the marketable skills students acquire in each program.
The Center’s groundbreaking work addressing business and industry workforce needs is generating national acclaim. SkillsEngine clients include a host of industries, state agencies, and educational institutions from across the country. In Texas, clients include Houston Community College, Alamo Colleges, Collin County Community College, Texas Southmost College, as well as the Texas Education Agency (TEA). The TEA is using Calibrate to engage hundreds of industry subject-matter experts to refine the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills across the entire career and technology education (CTE) course catalog – a significant process enhancement for Texas.
Note: The algorithms used in the Job Profiles comprise the very first patent held by TSTC.