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The light at the end of the tunnel: important numbers pt3

September 6, 2011

Why do students come to a career college?  It comes down to one thing, something we call placement.  By and large most students come to a career college because they want to be a more valuable employee.  Wether that’s getting additional certification or undergoing a complete career transformation at the end of their time they want a career with better opportunities.

Much like enrollment, placement might seem to have little to do with libraries but if you look a little harder and think about what services a library is supposed to provide, you can easily draw parallels.  I work off the idea that libraries provide information.  I don’t put a limit on what that could include.  Ask any public library what a main reason was for a patron to use their services in the last 5 years and they might mention employment.  We have resources that can help with that.  At a career college it should be even larger of a focus.  The reason the students came through the door was for employment, certainly we should be providing appropriate services to fulfill that.  What are some services we can provide?  Well, how about…

Career guides.  Books and electronic resources that talk about what types of career opportunities are available with a Cosmetology Certificate.  Resume writing workshops.  Networking workshops.  Expert speakers for “a day in the life of…” programs.  Information of professional associations in allied health or marketing.  What about just a place to talk about successes.  The library should be working hand in hand with whatever career services department that might exist in creating useful ways to get information to graduates.  Or soon-to-be graduates. 

Placement is such an important number in career colleges.  If placement isn’t at a certain percentage a campus could struggle to keep accreditation.  Without accreditation funding for our students would be almost impossible.  But beyond that, and more importantly anyway, is the fact that without placement the students have received a piece of paper that ultimately, isn’t helpful for them.  And no one wants that.  The whole point is to help those who want to achieve something more, another step up.  Isn’t that what libraries have always been about in this country?  Allowing those that want it to find the resources they need to be successful. 

When you think about it like that there really isn’t a reason for every career college to have a library, even if it isn’t called a “library” in the traditional sense.  Resources can and should be provided to our students through every leg of their journey, especially at the end when they are looking for the “job” they came to get.  It would be interesting I think to see what kind of ROI numbers can be generated by looking at this data.  Is there a correlation between students using library career resources and ease of placement?  Or maybe the satisfaction with the career after employment was secured?  What do you think?  Be sure to share your thoughts and please feel free to pass along to others.

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