Informing Rhode Island’s Tech Talent Strategy

May 25, 2016 11:15 am

Last week we published a new report at the RI DataHUB, “Informing Rhode Island’s Tech Talent Strategy: A Looks at Computer Science Graduates in RI.”

Companies across the nation are struggling to find tech talent. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that by 2022, there will be 1.3 million job openings in the computer and mathematical occupation sector. However, like most states, Rhode Island’s current tech talent pipeline does not fully support existing demand. The Brookings Institute identified tech talent as an area in which Rhode Island should invest.

In collaboration with Commerce RI, we analyzed various components of the “Tech Pipeline” in Rhode Island to provide descriptive data that can inform our tech talent strategy. Using longitudinal, cross-agency linked data analysis, we determined how many people completed Computer Science degrees at the three public higher education institutions and tracked if those people were still working in the tech industry in Rhode Island. Through the analysis of successful Computer Science degree completion at the higher education level, we developed three proxies that could be used to determine if a student would be prepared to complete a Computer Science degree. Using the three determined proxies, we then looked at seniors in Rhode Island public high schools in the 2013-2014 school year to determine how many students would be potentially prepared Computer Science degree candidates. Finally, we looked at two cohorts of graduates of Rhode Island public postsecondary institutions and determined what percentage of graduates were employed in Rhode Island after graduating.

The report takes the following format:

  • Section III, “Postsecondary Education: Common Characteristics of Computer Science Graduates” determines the key characteristics of computer science-related (CS) program graduates from Rhode Island College, the University of Rhode Island and the Community College of Rhode Island from 2010 through 2014.
  • Section IV, “K-12 Education: Potential Preparedness of Rhode Island’s High Schoolers for Computer Science” examines the common characteristics of CS graduates in Section III and develops proxies of qualities that may indicate if a student is prepared to enter a CS program at a Rhode Island public postsecondary institution. These proxies are: 530 or greater SAT Math score, advanced math and tech related coursework. This section also examines what percent of high school seniors in SY 2013-14 enrolled in a Rhode Island public postsecondary institution.
  • Section V, “From College to Career: Are Graduates from Rhode Island Public Postsecondary Institutions Employed in Rhode Island?” looks at a cohort of graduates from Rhode Island public postsecondary institutions from 2005 and determined that 34% had known employment in Rhode Island nearly 10 years after graduating. Specifically, it also compares the outcomes of graduates who were originally from Rhode Island to those of students who attended high school in another state. For example, 45% of graduates from Rhode Island had known employment in Rhode Island Quarter 3 of 2014 compared to 10% of graduates that were originally from out-of-state.

Please visit the DataHUB to access the full report!