What we’re up to after Strawberry Days | PostIndependent.com

What we’re up to after Strawberry Days

It’s a common question: “So what is the chamber up to after Strawberry Days?”

Frankly, the chamber is extremely busy year-round with a robust program of work set by our board of directors. One of the goals is to be involved in workforce development. So let me tell you about something new and exciting — Launch My Career Colorado. It is a web-based resource for students and working adults interested in “hot” career pathways in Colorado, and it is cool.

As everyone knows, a college investment is one of the most important decisions for an individual, yet the value of a college degree is often called into question. What if we treated students as consumers of postsecondary education so that they could determine what kind of return they could expect from their investment? What if students knew which degrees or majors could best lead to self-sustaining employment?

Launch My Career Colorado allows students to answer questions like:

• What programs lead to in-demand jobs?

• What programs will help me reach my lifestyle goals and help me get the most of my investment?

• What kinds of majors lead to job satisfaction and personal satisfaction?

Easily accessible data from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment and the Colorado Department of Higher Education are linked on the Launch My Career website. Students simply fill in their desired career and/or major and then see the return on investment (ROI) if they earn that degree. Better yet, they get comparison reports for up to three Colorado institutions in a single report.

There are other key features as well:

• Hot Jobs lists the most in-demand jobs in the state, ranked by predicted growth and ways. Each “hot job” listing leads to info about wages, employment, skills and degrees.

• There is a Lifestyle Goal Calculator that shows students how many years it will take the salary from a particular occupation to reach their lifestyle goal. This calculation is based on factors like what type of home the user wants or whether they want a family.

• The Break-Even Calculator shows how many years for earnings from a degree to exceed the net price of the program.

• The 20-Year ROI displays earnings (or returns) over 20 years, taking into account the investment in a particular institution and the potential earnings of the resulting job.

• A Comparison Report I mentioned above compares the same major or course of study at up to three Colorado institutions (e.g., if a student plans to major in accounting and become a CPA, how do tuition costs compare at CU, CSU, Metro or Colorado Mountain College? What is the ROI from each of these programs, and how long will it take to earn your degree?

Outside of personal finances and career expectations, “Launch My Career” addresses some important issues:

Did you know that ¾ of the jobs across Colorado will require some sort of postsecondary education beyond high school by 2020?

Did you know only 18 percent of Colorado high school grads enter college, graduate and immediately join the workforce?

Did you know there is no difference in satisfaction of associate degree graduates compared to bachelor’s graduates?

We are excited about Launch My Career Colorado for lots of reasons — for the students and families who will benefit; for the business community needing well-trained employees; and also for how it will position Colorado Mountain College, which will undoubtedly score well in the ROI assessment.

Colorado was the first state to unveil Launch My Career in Denver last week, and Matthew Gianneschi, chief operating officer and chief of staff of Colorado Mountain College, was part of a distinguished panel at the event.

Our vision is to see the Roaring Fork Valley as an early adopter of this very exciting tool, and we’ll be working with educators, counselors and students to promote it.

Check it out: http://www.LaunchMyCareerColorado.org.

Marianne Virgili is president & CEO of the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association.

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