Provide employment opportunities that match the graduating majors from local colleges and vocational training institutions
Lexington has public and private post-secondary education institutions awarding thousands of degrees and certificates each year. Some of these graduates find jobs in their career fields in Lexington, some in other counties, some other states, etc. If a graduate desires to stay in Lexington but cannot find jobs in their desired field, it is either because there are not enough jobs in their field, or the degrees are not matching the job demand.
In looking at the degrees conferred from University of Kentucky and Bluegrass Community and Technical College over the years 2006-2016, a total of 68,777 college degrees were awarded, but only an increase of 16,454 jobs over that same time span. This did not take into consideration all the degrees awarded from private colleges in the area. Making sure there are degree programs for occupations with existing or projected demand is important to fill the job openings in Lexington.
The James W. Stuckert Career Center at University of Kentucky has a main office and three satellite offices: Engineering College, Business School, and College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment. The career center is making efforts to recruit college students during junior and senior year of high school’ advise students to help them pick a major and finish a degree in a timely manner; provide student internships and co-op opportunities; and hold several large job fairs in the fall, plus several smaller ones throughout the year.
Comparing trends in college degrees to which industries students report working in after school reveals insights into the jobs that are available, and which industries should be promoted to retain more college graduates in Lexington.
The chart below (LEFT) from the Kentucky Education Cabinet shows that Retail Trade and Accommodation and Food Services industries are the top industries where the 2010 Fayette County high school graduates work after completing some college or an Associate’s degree. Both of those industries have low wages on average.
The following chart (RIGHT) shows where the 2010 Fayette County high school graduates work after completing a bachelor’s degree or higher degree. Retail trade is still prominent, but Educational Services is now the highest employer. Noteably Accommodation has fallen, and some of the higher paying professional industries have surpassed it.
- Perform analysis of existing employment opportunities and graduate supply from area institutions.