NDUS extends contract with analytics company

NDUS extends contract with analytics company

The North Dakota University System has extended its contract with Lightcast, a company that bills itself as a global leader in labor market analytics.

According to the company, the labor market analytics provided to clientele includes data that can help plant talent strategy, workforce training, curriculum planning and more.

Ryan Jockers, assistant director of reporting and analytics for the university system, noted that the data available had been helpful in the past regarding labor market studies. The contract was first put in place in July 2020. The service is notable as it represents a combination of labor market information such as job postings, online profiles, and data related to global trends, skills, and compensation.

According to Jockers, campuses use it for academic program alignment to the labor market, career services, talent management, and retention. Two campus researchers said they each used the platform daily for anything from monitoring labor demand to determining if new academic programs should be put in place. Due to Lightcast pulling information from multiple data sources, it also proved both useful and timesaving.

“I most appreciate having access to multiple data streams in one platform. Lightcast pulls information from IPEDS, BLS, and other places to present these data in a single interface. I can also apply various filters to focus in on exactly the information I want to understand,” said Jeff Boyer, Ph.D., at North Dakota State University. “As we consider new academic programs, we use Lightcast to understand student interest and the competitive landscape for those programs. We can also understand the existing workforce needs and the required skills that are being advertised in current job postings so we can ensure that our programs develop the appropriate skills necessary for the college-to-workforce transition.”

“Within this general use, I look at what other institutions are offering related to the programs I am analyzing. I also look at the occupations and job posting data pertinent to these programs we are examining. Finally, less often, but still frequently I look at trends in the job market for our region and state and what employers are hiring what jobs and what kinds of things they are asking for that might inform curriculum changes we are making,” said Jeff Holm, Ph.D., at University of North Dakota. “It has allowed us to better address relationships between our programs and occupations and ensure we are tending to the types of skills that employers are valuing in our graduates.”

At the university system office, the Lightcast data has been used as a required report for any new program request to the State Board of Higher Education (SBHE), as a way for the Dakota Digital Academy to provide job posting data to the public, and as a benchmark for the SHBE to track progress toward its strategic goals.

The renewal effectively extends university system access to the program for three years. Additionally, it includes access for 20 users throughout the university system: one at most campuses and system office, two at Minot State University, three at North Dakota State University, and four at University of North Dakota.