Employer engagement at community colleges has become an increasingly important strategy for community colleges to help their students build the right skills for available jobs, and to help local employers find and retain workers with the skills they need. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York conducted a survey of community colleges across New York State during the months of March-May 2017 to document the amount and type of employer engagement activities by New York’s community colleges.
Key findings include:
- A typical community college engages with more than 100 local employers, and every community college surveyed performs some type of engagement activity.
- In New York State, employer engagement spans every industry sector, with healthcare, manufacturing, and information industries being among the most common.
- Employer engagement tends to occur mostly with medium-sized firms, with 250 or fewer workers.
- Nearly all community colleges surveyed have employers who serve on curriculum advisory committees, come to campus for guest lectures, offer workplace visits and tours of their facilities, provide work experience and job opportunities to students, help students prepare for the job market by participating in career fairs or mentoring, or work to promote the college or its programs to the local community.
- Community colleges in New York State form and build relationships with local employers in many different ways.
- Nearly all colleges reported that they do not have enough financial resources and staff to find employers to work with.
- Community colleges generally rate their employer engagement efforts as moderately successful in terms of both helping their students find jobs in the local economy and helping to meet the needs of the local labor market they serve.
- Most community colleges in New York State plan to increase the amount of employer engagement they do over the next few years.
The report also includes 11 real-life examples of employer engagement in action at community colleges.