KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Mey Wong, B.S.'22, made connections at a job fair that led to a successful internship and information technology job at Kellogg. Jamilah Anthony, B.S.'21, M.S.'22, found holistic support in the Foundation Scholars family along with multiple internship opportunities that led to a guaranteed accounting position at her dream firm. Kyle Albrecht, B.S.'22, sharpened his skills on Western Michigan University's precision flight team while securing an accelerated path to the captain's chair in the Delta Propel Career Path Program.
Their stories are the rule, not the exception. Western's 2021-22 Career Outcomes Report shows recent graduates, backed by caring and engaged faculty and empowered by resume-worthy opportunities, are positioning themselves to make a meaningful difference in the workforce and society. In fact, 93% of Broncos who graduated between fall 2021 and summer 2022 are employed or continuing their education.
"Over the years, it's been pretty constant; Western students are getting jobs very consistently," says Dr. Ewa Urban, director of assessment and effectiveness.
Compiled annually, the Post-graduation Activity Survey is distributed to all graduating students to collect data on job placement, satisfaction and salary; destinations for continuing education; and experiences and relationships that impact graduate success. In the most recent report, data was obtained for 72% of alumni earning degrees.
Some highlights of the report include:
88% of graduates said their education and experiences as a student at Western prepared them for their profession.
92% of graduates working full time have a job related to their degree.
97% of Broncos had instructors who made them excited about learning.
93% of graduates had one or more resume-worthy learning experiences, including internships, co-curricular activities and long-term projects.
The survey also asked open-ended questions about graduates' Western experience. "It was very nice to have professors that genuinely cared about my growth and performance and challenged me," wrote one alumnus. "I had an opportunity to learn and grow both inside of the classroom and outside, all while being supported by fantastic faculty, staff and peers," wrote another.
The anecdotes are reinforced by the data. Urban and her team found experiences that allowed students to thrive at Western translated into post-graduate success as well. For instance, the team found Broncos with professors who made them excited about learning and cared about them as a person were almost six times more likely to report being prepared for their profession than those who didn’t have such experiences.
New this year, an interactive dashboard displays the Career Outcomes Report in more detail than ever, allowing everyone from administrators and faculty to prospective students and the University community to dial in the results based on student level and academic unit.
"How we can listen to the students through data to get their feedback and improve the University, I feel, is very powerful," says Becca Sly, B.B.A.'19, market research analyst senior in WMUx, who led the dashboard's design.
The dashboard also shows where Broncos are landing jobs and internships—places like major corporations such as Kellogg, Stryker, Ford Motor Company, Hormel Foods, Google and L'Oreal, Bronson and Ascension Borgess hospitals, and school districts across the state and country. The career connections are a testament to Western's focus on experiential learning.
"Our data show recent graduates who had an internship were 4.5 times more likely to have a job related to their degree after graduation and twice as likely to feel prepared for their profession," Urban says. Those outcomes are a driving factor behind the creation of the Broncos Lead Internship Program, supported by the Empowering Futures Gift, which aims to make internships even more accessible to students.
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