PHOENIX In today’s uncertain job market, many American workers are considering higher education to stay relevant in their careers. University of Phoenix and Emsi, a leader in labor market analysis, are working together to change the way we think about higher education and its connection to careers. Focused on instilling “skills-based learning” in graduates, the University of Phoenix is actively linking program coursework to the types of skills employers indicate they are seeking, per workplace statistics and insights.
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“Adult students want to know if what they are learning is useful and how it applies to their career goals”
“Helping students understand how their learning connects to desired employee skills is the new frontier in higher education,” said Bob Hieronymus, vice president of partnerships at Emsi. “University of Phoenix was among the very first universities to adopt the use of Emsi data early in the program development process back in 2015. Today, they are at the forefront of developing programs which focus program curriculum outcomes and student assessment specifically on desired job skills. This kind of ‘skillification’ of curriculum will transform the higher education landscape.
By pulling data from government labor sources and real-time job postings, Emsi builds algorithms to analyze the labor market and identify skills currently in demand. The University of Phoenix utilizes this research and data to develop curriculums and programs that teach career-ready skills that are mapped back to occupations currently in the job market. This intentional approach keeps UOPX programs and courses focused on bridging the gap between what you learn in the classroom and what to speak to in career conversations.
“Adult students want to know if what they are learning is useful and how it applies to their career goals,” said Ruth Veloria, chief strategy and customer officer for University of Phoenix. “Our work with Emsi will help ensure our graduates are more career-ready and can demonstrate their newfound skills. We want our students to feel empowered with the knowledge that they have the skills necessary to pursue opportunities in their chosen fields.”
The work with Emsi complements the already established University of Phoenix infrastructure that supports skills being embedded into curriculum outcomes. By incorporating labor market data to determine the skills employers are seeking, along with the expertise and counsel from practitioner faculty and by seeking input from industry advisory councils, University of Phoenix aims to translate education outcomes into career-ready skills.
“The future of higher-education will be built on the innovative application of data,” continued Veloria. “Providing skills-outcome data for courses and programs is like reviewing a nutritional label before eating a meal. Students now have a direct line of sight into the skills they will build, providing transparency into their academic experience.”
One example of how the curriculum is tied back to skills can be found in the University’s Leading Change course in the MBA program. Research and data show a need for business professionals to understand how to build healthy and effective organizational cultures. Assessing organizational cultures is a skill mapped back to the course. Assignments include assessing an organization’s culture and performance and creating a change management plan using that insight to implement changes. Students can utilize that plan to demonstrate to their employer, or potential employer, they can lead change by understanding organizational culture.
Two of the University of Phoenix’s most popular programs, Master of Business Administration and the competency-based Master of Business Administration, are currently fully mapped to careers, with other programs and associated coursework being skills mapped this year.
In addition to skills-mapping coursework in various degree programs, University of Phoenix is also committed to helping active students and alumni throughout their entire career with career services, such as coaching and networking through their new Career Services for Life™ commitment