Colleges Take New Approach To Anticipating—And Meeting—Workforce Needs

Ann McClure's picture
Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A handful of colleges think they’ve found the secret to closing the gap between the types of graduates they’re turning out and the types employers say they need.

Spiders.

Not the hairy, creepy kind. The colleges are using artificial-intelligence spiders that crawl through search engines and read thousands of online “help wanted” ads to check up on the job market in real time—not two years after the fact, which is how long the federal government can take to report on labor trends.

The technology is helping institutions add and update programs on short notice so their graduates can land real-world jobs. And at the same time, schools are using the new information to eliminate programs that leave students in debt with skills employers don’t want.

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