Marcia Hultman

Cabinet Secretary

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Postsecondary Graduate Outcomes System

Methodology

The South Dakota Postsecondary Graduate Employment and Wage Outcomes application provides students, job seekers, career counselors, educators and policy makers with a better understanding about the connections between postsecondary education choices and employment outcomes.

This application can help answer questions users might have, including:

  • What percent of graduates are employed in South Dakota?
  • How much are those graduates earning in South Dakota?
  • In what industries are graduates employed in South Dakota?

Data Sources and Methodology

Workforce and education data were made available through a joint collaboration of the following state agencies:

  • Department of Labor and Regulation (DLR) - workforce data
  • Board of Regents (BOR) - state university system
  • Department of Education (DOE) - state technical institutes

Social Security numbers for students enrolled in public postsecondary institutions were followed through the education system into the workforce longitudinally using South Dakota Unemployment Insurance (UI) wage records.

Graduate outcome results are aggregated and are published only if there are five or more graduates within a postsecondary education program with valid wage records. Reports will reflect new graduates after completion of the graduation year (using a July through June year).

Data Limitations

  • A degree or award has a value beyond employment and earnings. Personal interest and satisfaction resulting from completion of a program are intangible benefits that cannot be measured through this tool's data.
  • The job market varies across the state and over time. Past outcomes cannot predict the market success of future graduates in all locations.
  • Graduate numbers reflect degrees awarded, resulting in duplication of graduates from a macro level. (A graduate with a double major who received two degrees is counted as a graduate for each major.)
  • Outcomes represent only the graduates who are reported as wage earners by South Dakota employers in quarterly reports submitted to the Unemployment Insurance program. Although about 95 percent of South Dakota workers are covered by unemployment insurance, people who are employed by federal agencies, the self-employed and those employed in other states are excluded.
  • Wage and industry employment outcomes may include data on graduates who are earning wages from multiple jobs.
  • Wage and industry employment outcomes may include data on graduates who re-enrolled in school after completing a degree, if they met the wage earning criteria (having been reported as a wage earner for a minimum of three quarters in a calendar year).
  • Since the quarterly employment and wage reports submitted to the Unemployment Insurance program by South Dakota employers do not identify the number of hours employees work, average and median wage estimates may reflect the earnings of both full- and part-time workers.
  • Work outcomes for programs with few graduates can fluctuate significantly over time.
  • The data cannot be used to evaluate the overall return on investment of postsecondary education compared to no postsecondary education, because South Dakota does not have the ability to link high school graduate records to workforce records. Additionally, the wage records do not include the value of such factors as employee benefits, working conditions, etc.