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Collegiate Employment/Workforce Readiness

Collage of photos from Boise State and the Boise area
The Collegiate Employment/Workforce Readiness Research Project is a collaborative effort between Boise State University’s Career Center, Office of Research and Economic Development, and Department of Community and Regional Planning with guidance from Dr. Phil Gardner. The project consists of five phases: Boise City-Nampa MSA Employment and Industry Analysis, Employer Workforce Readiness Survey, Alumni Career Progression and Workforce Readiness Survey, Current Student Career Orientation and Readiness Survey, and a Faculty Survey.

The purpose of the research is to gain a better understanding of the skills, competencies, and experiences that local employers will need in new college graduates to sustain and advance economic development in the greater Treasure Valley.  Specifically, we focused on the professional skills identified as critical to initial success in the workplace.

Our objective is to raise awareness of these skills, competencies, and experiences at the university with faculty, staff, administration and students and help students create a more thoughtful and intentional college experience so they are better prepared as they enter the workforce.

In this age of ever-increasing accountabilities, Career Centers are perfectly situated to evangelize the importance of career readiness and employability preparation in higher education.  While this appears to challenge the very foundational values that drive undergraduate education, we firmly believe that these pursuits go hand in hand to develop the total student.  Time is of the essence: higher education is being held to an increased standard of accountability today. Career Centers must be proactive in finding opportunities to embed the skills, competencies, attitudes, behaviors and experiences that employers say are critical to initial success into the very threads of a student’s academic experience.

Transforming, Growing, Emerging, and Declining Industries in the Boise-Nampa MSA, 2006-2010

Transforming Industries

  • Construction
  • Real Estate and Rental and Leasing
  • Retail Trade
  • Wholesale Trade

Growing Industries

  • Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting
  • Administrative and Support
  • Waste Management and Remediation Services
  • Public Administration
  • Health Care and Social Services

Emerging Industries

  • Other Services (except Public Administration)
  • Educational Services
  • Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation
  • Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services
  • Transportation and Warehousing
  • Utilities
  • Information
  • Finance and Insurance

Declining Industries

  • Manufacturing
  • Management of Companies and Enterprises
  • Accommodation and Food Services
  • Mining, Quarrying and Oil and Gas Extraction

Skills Critical to Initial Success in the Workplace

  • Able to perform with integrity
  • Able to solve problems
  • Able to manage time and priorities
  • Able to take the initiative
  • Able to think critically
  • Able to analyze, evaluate, and interpret information
  • Able to contribute to a team
  • Able to effectively communicate orally
  • Able to build and sustain working professional relationships

 Behaviors Critical to Initial Success in the Workplace

  • Takes responsibility and is accountable for work and behavior
  • Demonstrates a strong work ethic
  • Maturity (displaying sound judgment and controls emotions)
  •  Self-directed
  • Humility
  • Adaptable
  • Punctual
  • Sound Reasoning
  • Professional Demeanor 

Expectations for Prior Professional Experience

Expecations for Prior Professional Experience pie chart

Research Summary and Recommendations

Research Reports

Boise State University Research Team

  •  Phil Gardner, PhD, Director of Collegiate Employment Research Institute, Michigan State University
  • Debbie Kaylor, Director of Career Center, Boise State University
  • Susan Mason, PhD, Associate Professor, Community and Regional Planning, Boise State University
  • John Van Dyke, Graduate Assistant, Community and Regional Planning, Boise State University
  • Pengyu Zhu, PhD, Assistant Professor, Community and Regional Planning, Boise State University
  • Eric Landrum, PhD, Professor, Psychology, Boise State University

2013 NACE (National Association of Colleges and Employers) Innovation Excellence Award – Research Finalist

For questions regarding this research please contact Debbie Kaylor at the Boise State University Career Center at (208) 426-4351 or