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Insights For Success: Exploring the Career Connect Tx Data Dashboard

By: Ynez Chacon   |   April 2024

Exploring career pathways is a crucial step for students and families, but staying informed about industry demand and earning projections can be difficult. Discover how the Career Connect TX Dashboard empowers practitioners with comprehensive labor market and education/training system data to inform students and advocate for pathways that lead to living wages.

Career Connect TX (CCTX) is an initiative of Educate Texas dedicated to leading students toward careers in high-demand industries that provide livable wages through meaningful paid, work-based learning experiences. In 2021, our network of community college leaders and workforce organizations expressed a need for a centralized, comprehensive dashboard that visualized both education and training data. In response, we launched our CCTX Data Dashboard, resolving the challenge of stakeholders navigating between disparate data sources to attain data on workforce supply and demand in Texas. The CCTX Data Dashboard centralizes labor market and education/training system data and serves to inform decisions in paving and supporting educational pathways that meet workforce demand and provide sustainable wages for Texas families.
Because comprehensive demand, supply, and annual wage data is provided through the dashboard, it may be used to inform programmatic decisions at academic institutions, employer decision making, as well as students and families. It is widely recognized that pay transparency is crucial to ensure workers are compensated fairly, but it should also be noted that understanding pay within a career field works to promote equity and reduce wage disparities. Starting conversations early with students about what their earning potential may look like is important to ensure students are set up to provide for themselves and their families.
The MIT Living Wage Calculator is a tool that estimates the living wage necessary to meet the basic needs of individuals and families in different communities across the United States. The Industry and Occupation tabs on the dashboard provide average annual wage data as compared to the annual living wage data produced by MIT. Users can select a family composition (i.e., 1 working adult, 2 children or 2 adults, 1 working, 1 child) and see how well that average annual wage for the selected industry would support the selected family composition. On the Occupation tab, users can view entry, average, and experienced annual wage data.

Practitioners may also find use in the dashboard’s capability to report projected employment in 2030 by industry workforce development area. In the example below, a user can identify Transportation and Warehousing as experiencing 30% growth in projected employment, meeting 94% of the annual living wage in Middle Rio Grande WDA for a family of  one working adult and  one child.  
With this information, practitioners can identify industries in their regions that are predicted to grow in demand and provide a livable wage to students seeking economic and job security in their chosen path. Practitioners may also find this useful as a communication tool with leadership to advocate for programs that will prepare their students to join tomorrow’s workforce.
The CCTX Data Dashboard also provides comprehensive enrollment and completion data, and is filterable by ESC Region, TACC Region, County, Workforce Development Board, or Metro. This includes data on:

  • 2-year enrollment
  • Current and projected employment by industry
  • Current employment and wage data by occupation
  • Degree and certificate completions
  • Statewide enrollment of CTE concentrators by Federal Career Clusters
  • P-TECH directory of campuses in planning and designated campuses
Practitioners in the college access space may find utility in examining college enrollment by program trends over time. The dashboard allows users to right click and “drill down” on programs such as healthcare listed on the PS Enrollment tab to view enrollment of specific programs such as Registered Nursing, Radiologic Technology, or Phlebotomy Technician and then view enrollment trends over time by selecting “Annual Trends” and utilizing the Program (CIP) filter.
Metrics on enrollment and completion across various programs and the availability of these may support efforts to enhance regional capacity and align programs to employer needs. Those working to support and scale work-based learning programs may also use this resource to support the development of training programs that lead to occupations within industries that are growing rapidly, as well as advocate for more sustainable wages.
On the dashboard page, instructional video tutorials are offered to help users navigate the features and interface of the dashboard, and specifically:
  • Understand average annual wages for different occupations
  • Understand Employment in different industries
  • Analyze Post Secondary enrollment data, and
  • Understand employment demand and educational supply
Learn More
Should you have any questions on how to use the CCTX Data Dashboard, please direct them to Career Connect TX will be hosting a virtual workshop on navigating the data dashboard in the upcoming months.

As an associate on the Career Connect TX team, Ynez supports the development of quality work-based learning pathways in several impact zones within the CCTX network. She strives to increase opportunities for underserved communities to access careers that pay a livable wage and provide a pathway for social mobility.

Prior to joining CFT, Ynez taught middle school English as a Teach for America corps member in Fort Worth.

Ynez holds a bachelor’s in sociology from Arizona State University with minors in American Indian studies and family and human development.