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This report analyzes employment data for graduates of Oklahoma public colleges and universities one year and five years after graduation for various graduating classes of the past decade.  A snapshot of employment status five years after graduation is shown for the graduating classes of 2002-03, 2003-04, and 2004-05 and the employment status of the 2006-07, 2007-08, and 2008-09 classes is shown after one year.

The current study supports national data that link salary to educational attainment.  Oklahoma data for graduates of the state’s public colleges and universities confirm that, on average, the higher the degree a student earns, the higher the salary he or she will earn.

The good news for Oklahoma is that the majority of its college graduates remain in the state, contributing to the state’s economy and opportunities for growth, even five years after graduation.  Following are highlights of the most recent Oklahoma employment data for the state’s higher education graduates:

Efforts to improve student preparation and awareness of college, strategic scholarship programs, accelerated degree completion programs, and funding linked to degree production and other student success metrics all contribute to increased numbers of college graduates in the state.  Curricula alignment, internships and other partnerships between higher education and business enhance the value of higher education and the employability of Oklahoma’s graduates.

In 2010, Oklahoma joined with Complete College America, a national nonprofit organization focused on raising degree attainment.  Governor Mary Fallin framed the importance of this goal and the state’s commitment in a September 2011 press conference when she said “My top priority as governor is to create a business environment in Oklahoma that fosters economic growth and job creation.  Ensuring we have a highly skilled, college educated workforce is essential to attracting and retaining good jobs and investment to our state.”

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Photo courtesy of Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology.