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Employers Evaluate Their Technical College Educated Employees
By Sara Mackey, Marketing Communications Specialist
Statewide Marketing Consortium of the Wisconsin Technical College System

Each month for several years, we have contributed an article regarding education and training for the SHRM monthly newsletter. To show that we strive to be relevant, responsive, and effective in preparing the next generation of employees, it only seems fair to back up our statements with facts.

One of the most valuable components of the work the Wisconsin Technical Colleges does in our communities is with employers, who in turn support our local economies and provide value to that communities’ residents. As one business leader, S. Mark Tyler affirms, “Employers in every sector and in every region of the state rely on Wisconsin’s technical colleges in order to compete and grow.”

The relationships between employers and technical colleges around Wisconsin are extremely varied, and as such, it’s important that employers and their leadership know about the many ways the technical colleges can serve employers. Whether by maintaining an active talent pipeline, offering the most relevant programs employers need, consulting on a wide range of issues, reviewing processes and procedures to improve safety and productivity (the list goes on). There are many ways in which employers provide value to the technical colleges as well. Employers may become involved in advisory committees which may influence future program development, for example. These partnerships prove to be valuable to both the college community (especially students) and the local employer communities.

As a check on the work the technical colleges do, the technical colleges survey employers every four years. A handful of topics are covered in this survey, from graduates’ skills and preparation coming out of the educational program to the relevance of the program overall. The most recent survey of employers was conducted in 2001 and the Wisconsin Technical College System recently published the results of the survey. Overall insights from employers were very positive. Here are a few of the highlights from what was gleaned from the survey.

  • 98% of respondents said a technical college was important to the overall success of their business
  • 96% were satisfied or very satisfied with technical college graduates’ education
  • Perhaps most telling, 95% would hire a Wisconsin technical college graduate again.

The survey dives deeper into some of the skills-related questions, for example, when it came to graduates obtaining the following:
  • ability to perform technical skills
  • the ability to communicate effectively
  • mastery of science, technology and engineering; and
  • overall preparedness for employment,

9 out of 10 employers said that technical college program graduates met or exceeded expectations in those areas.

The employers contacted for this survey come from graduates who identify their place of work in a separate follow up study, conducted within six months of the student graduating. The survey intentionally went to the employers of students who identified themselves as working in the field pertaining to the program (or major). Of all the employers asked to complete the survey, 40% responded, and those responses were returned to the Wisconsin Technical College System office for compilation, formatting, and reporting on a statewide level. The total number of employers completing the survey was 2,596.

To learn more about services the technical colleges offer to employers, please visit: https://www.wtcsystem.edu/workforce-solutions/.

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