Archive for January 20, 2011

Is the (Biological) local that different from the (Computational) national?

I saw this quote in Georgia Trend magazine (with the subheading “The best job prospects are in healthcare, but logistics and biotech are opening up”), and was surprised.

“Our No. 1 area of enrollment, as well as employment, is in the field of health sciences, and that is what we as a college have dedicated ourselves to doing: providing programs in as many options in the health science field as possible, because there are so many jobs out there, and there are more coming,” says Bartels [President of Gwinnett Technical College].

“Health sciences are about 50 percent of our enrollment and about 50 percent of our budget.” To underscore the demand for studies in the health sciences field, Bartels cites one particular course of study. “Last year we had 2,700 people apply for our RN [registered nurse] program, and we had 40 slots open,” she says. “Last year [2009] we had right at 12,000 students that applied for one of our health sciences programs, and currently we can serve about 700 people in that program. We had 1,800 apply for our radiologic technology program, and we had 35 slots there.”

via Georgia Trend.

I was surprised, because I’d seen this Graph that Eric Roberts has put together, based on current enrollment and 10 year trends from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

This suggests that Engineering is just slightly over-subscribed (which Eric says is fine — you don’t want the lowest quartile students building your bridges), physical sciences is okay, and biological sciences are WAY over-subscribed.  There are far more people studying biological sciences than there are expected jobs.  The reverse is true in Computer Science.

Is this Georgia technical school President not looking at the same data?  Maybe it’s different in her local community?  Or maybe she’s looking at the wrong data.  She’s mostly talking about how many students want those classes, and how many classes she has to offer.  That’s not the same as measuring who is getting what jobs.

If she’s wrong, that’s really scary.  But it’s an interesting question: how much variance are there in these numbers, and can the local situation be that different from the national picture?

January 20, 2011 at 9:20 am 11 comments


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