Webinar Recap: Addressing Education Deserts with University of Florida

Published on Mar 25, 2020

Updated on Nov 3, 2022

Written by Remie Verougstraete

Webinar Recap: Addressing Education Deserts with University of Florida

Thanks to everyone who participated in our webinar with Aaron King, Director of Program Planning at the University of Florida’s Office of Distance Learning! King started off the webinar by reflecting on some of the ways COVID-19 is reshaping the conversation around online learning. He then shared how his team uses tools like Analyst and Google Maps to collect and visualize labor market data that helps inform their work in areas like program development, employer engagement, and marketing strategy.

If you missed the webinar or would like to share with a colleague, see below for the full recording, downloadable slides, and webinar outline. You can also download the Education Deserts Summary Sheet, which outlines each step in the process of identifying and filling education deserts with labor market data.





  • About Emsi (1:39)

  • Comments regarding COVID-19’s impact on the role of online programs in higher education (4:28)

Challenges and approaches to building successful online programs

  • Overview of challenges – (11:15)

  • Overview of UF’s approach: education deserts – (12:39)

  • Identifying education deserts – (14:02

  • Next steps: Leveraging data for employer engagement and marketing – (15:17)

Locating education deserts (M.S. in Gerontology example)

  • Intro – (16:06)

  • Using the Program Overview Report to assess your competitive landscape – (16:36)

  • Using Job Postings by Location to assess employer demand across the nation – (19:21)

  • Using Google Maps to visualize location deserts – (24:50)

  • Using Job Posting Analytics to zoom in on employer demand in a specific region – (30:10)

  • Using the Company Talent Profile to get an in-depth look at a specific employer’s hiring needs – (34:26)

Looking ahead: Skill-level analysis and new credentials

  • Skills as a “Rosetta stone” – (39:58)

  • Online graduate certificates – (41:46)


  • Does this data help engage and communicate with your own academic program leaders and faculty? – (46:01)

  • How are you using this data to inform marketing and messaging to prospective students? – (49:59)

  • How current is this data? – (52:48)

  • Do you track placement of your alumni? – (54:25)

  • How do you actually talk to employers and engage them with this data? – (56:55)



To learn more, read the case study about how UF uses data to develop and market distance learning programs, or visit economicmodeling.com/higher-education. To receive notifications for future webinars, subscribe to the Emsi newsletter. If you have questions or would like to chat, please contact us