How Florida State College at Jacksonville Leads Thousands to Academic & Career Success

May 12, 2016 by Emsi Burning Glass

How Florida State College at Jacksonville Leads Thousands to Academic & Career Success

Emsi Case Study (See Full Archive)

Summary: In a bid to boost student engagement and completion, Florida State College at Jacksonville (FSCJ) launched Emsi Career Coach in May 2015. Since then, Career Coach has drawn more than 33,000 visits and maintained an average session time of 9.5 minutes by engaging students with relevant career information.

Using Career Coach, FSCJ helps thousands of students create clear career goals to aim for throughout their education. It’s a crucial step that leads students to the career they desire and helps them achieve academic success along the way.

Key Takeaways

  • FSCJ integrated Career Coach into recruitment, orientation, and career advising programs in order to help students succeed.

  • More than 33,000 visitors gained a better understanding of their career options by using FSCJ’s Career Coach from August 2015 through the end of April 2016.

  • By linking careers with academic plans—giving students clear goals to strive for—Career Coach increased student engagement at FSCJ.

  • Career Coach helped (and continues to help) FSCJ meet its strategic goal of increasing academic degree plan (ADP) development by 40% annually.

Connecting Students with Careers

Rich Turner

The job market can be complex and difficult to navigate. Students often don’t know what options are open to them. Deciding on a career early plays a major role in students’ academic and professional success.

“Many of our students show up really undecided,” says Rich Turner, Dean of Enrollment Management at FSCJ. “They’re really not sure even how to begin navigating that decision [of what they want to do].”

“This decision of a career, which really means ‘I’m deciding on an academic path,’ is absolutely critical for students to be successful. The sooner [students] are able to settle on a career, the more likely they are to persist to degree or certificate completion.”

“The brilliance behind [Career Coach] is in its user-friendliness—the student can literally spend hours looking at various academic programs, jobs, and how they intersect while recognizing more about the job placement demand in a given career field, job, as well as in its potential for salary and growth.”—Chris Holland, FSCJ

That’s where Career Coach fits in perfectly at FSCJ. It connects students with careers by matching their interests with real jobs, informing those essential academic decisions and helping students persist to completion.

Even students who know what they want to do often only choose their career field because they aren’t aware of other options. “Initially, they want to be a nurse or they want to work in finance, but as you work with the students it often becomes apparent that their passions lie elsewhere, that is where Career Coach can really assist students with job opportunities that align with their passions,” says Turner.

“With Career Coach, they get to really start looking at different careers. Through using the tool, it links to other careers that they’ve never even imagined or thought about.”

How FSCJ Uses Career Coach

Chris Holland

FSCJ recruiters present a six-part lecture series to nearly 30 high schools in Duval and Nassau counties. The driving point of the series is to help those students understand why higher education is important. FSCJ’s Career Coach page shows them what academic paths lead to in-demand local jobs. Turner believes that “the most effective thing we’ve done is training the recruiters and really making Career Coach part of the recruiter tool kit.”

“The recruiters use it to begin a discussion with anyone. You know, ‘let’s talk about what do you want to do? What do you ultimately want to do? And as you think about that, let’s go look at how much that’s going to pay, let’s look at availability of that job here in the northeast Florida area, let’s look if that really makes sense financially, and then let’s look at what it’s going to take academically to make that dream happen.’”

Incoming students at FSCJ see Career Coach during orientation to help them define an ADP—part of FSCJ’s goal to increase ADP development by 40%. All of those who are undecided or unsure about a major get a deeper look at career options to help them make that decision. The college uses Career Coach to help students better understand their pathway to completion for either work or transfer (and this pathway is defined through their ADP).

“The brilliance behind [Career Coach] is in its user-friendliness—the student can literally spend hours looking at various academic programs, jobs, and how they intersect while recognizing more about the job placement demand in a given career field, job, as well as in its potential for salary and growth” says Chris Holland, FSCJ Vice President of Student Services.

Career advising is a major part of Career Coach’s role at FSCJ. The tool helps students make pivotal decisions along the way—keeping them on track and focused on a career outcome.

“Career Coach helps connect the dots for the students,” Turner adds. “Students are able to see the academic path, expected earnings, and job market predictions. It really engages the student in a new way.”

For more information on how your institution or organization can use Career Coach or Emsi’s other labor market tools and services, please contact us. Follow Emsi on Twitter (@DesktopEcon) or check us out on LinkedIn and Facebook.