Research Topics

Education & Training

In 2011, the Heldrich Center conducted a nationally representative survey of 571 graduates from four-year colleges and universities from the classes of 2006 through 2010 to examine the difficulties young people encountered as they entered a volatile labor market. The survey yielded several notable findings. While graduates are satisfied with their decision to complete a four-year degree, a large percentage reported they are struggling to find full-time, permanent jobs with benefits that will lead to fulfilling careers.

This Heldrich Center study examines the recent increase in demand for petroleum engineers and the response by students leading to a dramatic increase in numbers of graduates. Specifically, it examines the following issues: program dynamics of colleges in expanding size and number of programs; both demand (by industry) and supply (by colleges) of engineers for the petroleum industry; and the recent surge in industry demand, the mix of engineering fields employed, changes in content, and the response in supply (colleges, retraining, influx from other fields, immigration, etc.).

The Heldrich Center is conducting an evaluation of Platform to Employment, a recently launched initiative of The WorkPlace, the workforce investment board for Southwest Connecticut. Through Platform to Employment—recently featured on CBS 60 Minutes as a potential national model—The WorkPlace is offering assistance to long-term unemployed individuals, especially those who have exhausted extended unemployment insurance benefits, to help them prepare for returning to work.

The Heldrich Center is working with the Community College Research Center at Teachers College, Columbia University on a study of the effectiveness of One-Stop Career Centers co-located on community college campuses in North Carolina. Because the co-located One-Stop Career Centers have been established relatively recently (late 1990s) and not all community colleges have them, some students have had greater exposure to the program for reasons exogenous to students’ own characteristics and choices.