Postsecondary Education and Employment Pathways of Minnesota Public High School Graduates


In 2013, Minnesota passed the World’s
Best Workforce legislation. This legislation is aimed at providing high-quality education for all students. One of the key goals of the World’s
Best Workforce is to prepare students for college
and career success. To inform the state’s college and
career readiness efforts, Minnesota state and district education
staff wanted to learn more about students’ pathways after
high school graduation. Regional Educational Laboratory,
or REL Midwest, in partnership with members of the Midwest Career
Readiness Research Alliance conducted a study to describe the
postsecondary pathways of Minnesota public high school graduates. The Midwest Career Readiness Research Alliance brings together policymakers, practitioners
and researchers to conduct and interpret research
around career readiness. This study explores the pathways
that students took within one year of high school graduation, along with their degree attainment and employment outcomes six years
after graduation. So, what did we find? One year after high school graduation, 73% of Minnesota public high school graduates were enrolled in either a two-year,
or four-year college. Another 19% were employed, but
not enrolled in college one year after high school graduation. There were differences in initial
postsecondary pathways by student demographic characteristics. For example, female students were
more likely than male students to be enrolled in a four-year college one year after high school graduation. However, male students were more
likely than female students to be enrolled in a two-year college
within the same time frame. Some students were less likely
than their peers to be employed or enrolled in college one year
after high school graduation. Students who were less likely to be employed or enrolled in college include
Hispanic and American Indian Alaskan Native students, students
with disabilities, and students who had limited English proficiency. However, researchers did not find differences in initial postsecondary pathways by rurality. That means graduates from rural high schools chose similar college and career pathways as graduates from non-rural high schools. The study looked at long-term outcomes
of students, as well. Six years after high school graduation, about half of Minnesota public
high school graduates had earned a college certificate or degree. Six years after high school graduation,
37% of high school graduates had earned a bachelor’s degree or higher; 11% of graduates had earned an
associate’s degree; and 4% of graduates had earned
a college certificate. Six years after graduating from high school, 71% of Minnesota public high school
graduates were employed. Differences in employment and college
certificate or degree attainment remained when comparing
graduates who chose the same college or career pathway one year
after high school graduation. For example, male students, students
with disabilities, students who had limited English
proficiency, and students who are Black, Hispanic, or American
Indian/Alaskan Native were less likely than their peers
to attain a bachelor’s degree within six years of high school
graduation, even among students who chose to go to college immediately
after high school. Understanding students’ postsecondary pathways helps the Minnesota Department
of Education, districts and schools provide relevant support and prepare students for life after high school. Want to learn more? To browse the full report and learn more about our research, please visit the REL Midwest website. You can also follow us on Twitter
at @RELMidwest.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *