WITC News and Events
Technical college graduates making financial gains in Wisconsin
MADISON – The growth in earnings by Wisconsin’s Technical
College graduates was nearly twice the rate of inflation over the past five
years. According to the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS)
Longitudinal Follow-Up Study, more than three-quarters of the 2001-02 graduates
are working in their fields of training. These
graduates experienced median salary growth of 48 percent over a five-year period
(an average of 8.2 percent annually) to nearly $40,000. The change in the
Consumer Price Index (CPI) was 16 percent for the same period.
The Longitudinal Follow-Up Study, which looks at changes in
employment five years after graduation, also concluded that technical college
graduates had much lower unemployment rates
(2 percent) than all Wisconsin workers during that time (5.1 percent).
“Changes in the economy dictate that employees are highly
skilled and ready for employment in a number of Wisconsin’s established and new
sectors, many of which are technology driven,” said Dan Clancy, president of the
WTCS. “Wisconsin’s Technical Colleges provide the most relevant education for
these new and emerging technology careers,” he said.
To align education with business and industry, technical
colleges use advisory committees made up of business and industry
representatives to provide input on their most critical employment needs. The
Longitudinal Study evaluates the success of employees and their respective
“Our advisory committees make sure our programs are
relevant to the jobs and careers available. Our graduates are prepared to excel
in those jobs. This survey is one of our measurement tools to verify the success
of our students and satisfaction of employers,” Clancy added.
In the survey, nearly all respondents (93 percent) agreed
their technical college education played an important role at the start of their
career and an even greater number (95 percent) said they are likely to recommend
technical college to others. Also, roughly nine of every ten (89 percent) are
employed in Wisconsin.
A total of 7,359 of 17,833 graduates completed the survey
in late 2007 for a 41 percent response rate. The WTCS conducts the Longitudinal
Follow-Up Study every four years and compares it with the Graduate Follow-Up
Study for that same class. The Graduate Follow-Up Study evaluates employment
six months after graduation.
Wisconsin Technical College System has 16 technical college districts throughout
Wisconsin, which offer more than 300 programs awarding two-year associate
degrees, one and two-year technical diplomas and short-term technical diplomas.
In addition, the System is the major provider of customized training and
technical assistance to Wisconsin’s business and industry community. More than
half of all adults in Wisconsin have accessed the technical colleges for
education and training. Find more about educational programs at