Washington, D.C. — Today, the United States Senate unanimously adopted an amendment offered by U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) that instructs the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study and make recommendations regarding the employment of postsecondary education graduates.
"We are living in a global economy that is creating intense competitive pressure on our workforce. It is more important than ever that our nation´s students, employers, and universities have access to good information about the effectiveness of our higher education system as it relates to employment and job-placement," said Senator DeMint. "While a number of college rankings exist, they are largely based on subjective surveys and standards. But what matters most are the results in terms of employment, and we need objective information to know if we are properly preparing American students to compete in a global marketplace."
The DeMint Amendment instructs the GAO to study the feasibility of collecting employment information on students who complete a postsecondary education program. It further instructs the GAO to provide Congress with answer to several important questions related to collecting this information, including whether a voluntary website could be used to solicit information from graduates on the types of jobs they find as well as from employers on their satisfaction with the graduates they hire. The study will also examine what others industries have done to collect information to measure results, and whether this is a task the government should do directly or that could be contracted out to an independent education and employment organization.
Senator Michael B. Enzi (R-Wyoming), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP), voiced support for DeMint´s amendment saying that, "Reliable information on students´ success, particularly employment success, is very important to the future of higher education."
Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Massachusetts), chairman of the Senate HELP Committee, also backed DeMint´s measure saying, "It´s a very solid amendment and a very useful one."
"Evidence suggests that American college graduates are losing ground to graduates in other countries. Employers are reporting that our graduates are less prepared to compete in the global economy," said Senator DeMint. "This new information will help students find the best colleges, it will help graduates find the right jobs, and it will help employers find the most-qualified employees. It will also help our colleges and universities identify ways they can better prepare students for the workforce, and it will help lawmakers make better education policy decisions."