Thursday - October 23, 2014
State Officials Launch Research Tool
Written by Bruce Ferrell   
Monday, 11 August 2014 01:30

RALEIGH -- The North Carolina Department of Commerce’s Labor and Economic Analysis Division (LEAD) launched a online resource called NC TOWER (Tool for Online Workforce and Education Reporting).

A new product of the Common Follow-up System (CFS), NC TOWER provides up to ten years of post- graduation employment, wage, and continuing enrollment outcomes for graduates of the North Carolina Community College System and University of North Carolina system.

NC TOWER was developed by LEAD in collaboration with the North Carolina Community College System, the University of North Carolina General Administration, and the North Carolina Office of Information Technology Services (ITS). The new tool is intended to provide useful information to anyone with a stake in understanding the outcomes of North Carolina's public higher education programs, including students and parents looking at college options, college and university program evaluators, workforce development and education professionals and policymakers, as well as economic developers assessing the available workforce.

NC TOWER provides the ability to track the workforce and educational outcomes of graduates for up to 10 years after their graduation. The tool also allows users to make visual comparisons of program outcomes across campuses, degree types, and subject areas. Users can research whether students find jobs in North Carolina, review the industries of employment and help determine which industries pay the highest wages for graduates. Finally, it allows users to determine whether graduates of a particular program go on to pursue further education at North Carolina public institutions of higher education. NC TOWER is therefore a rich source of information about the post-graduation experiences of those completing university degrees and community college credentials.

“North Carolina’s highly skilled and educated workforce is a major selling point for companies looking to invest and expand in the state,” said North Carolina Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker. “NC TOWER now gives us the ability to see the payoff from ongoing investments in educating and training North Carolinians to succeed in those jobs.”

NC TOWER is a product of the statewide Common Follow-up System (CFS), a longitudinal repository of workforce and education data maintained by LEAD. The system contains employment and wage information on all individuals working in jobs covered by North Carolina’s unemployment laws. The CFS contains data on participants in North Carolina public education, employment and training programs going back to the late 1990's.

Employment and wage information is derived from information maintained by the North Carolina Department of Commerce’s Division of Employment Security (DES). Funding for the development of NC TOWER came from General Assembly appropriations for the operation of the Common Follow-up System (CFS) as well as a Workforce Data Quality Initiative (WDQI) grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.

 
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