Teachers College, Columbia University

Employer Perceptions of Two-Year Degrees in Information Technology

August 2008–March 2012

CCRC completed a three-year study on the role of associate degrees in preparing graduates for information technology (IT) jobs in the Seattle and Detroit labor markets. Interviews with employers revealed that hiring managers expected associate degree holders to possess many positive qualities that they sought in IT technicians, particularly technical skills, thinking skills, communication skills, and a strong work ethic. However, they also expected that associate degree holders would be less skilled than bachelor’s degree holders. This expectation was particularly common among Seattle hiring managers, highlighting the importance of the local labor market in understanding employer perceptions of associate degrees.

This research was conducted in partnership with the National Workforce Center for Emerging Technologies at Bellevue Community College (Washington State) and Macomb Community College (Michigan). The project was funded by the National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education program.

Project Lead

Michelle Van Noy