Minutes July 24, 2008

Date: July 24, 2008                               Time: 10:30 p.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Location: Michigan State University, East Lansing MI

Participants listed by group:

  • MichiganStateUniversity (MSU): Mark Urban-Lurain, Neeraj Buch, Daina Briedis, Claudia Vergara.
  • Corporation for a Skilled Workforce (CSW): Taryn MacFarlane.



1)     Pilot Interviews; Demographics

2)     Pilot Interviews: Sampling and Protocol

We went through the demographic data from the interviews. These data is summarized in Zoomerang. The link is

Mark: Louise raised the concern about not hearing about the two year eng. We want to make sure that the interview protocol specifically gets to things that are appropriate to two year programs. These are the data about hiring demand for entry level eng positions and these are the jobs that were described in the department of labor so these are the 4 eng positions and these are the two years LCC kind of folks there was a fair number of pilot interviews that did not hired two years folks at the entry level so this might be one reason for these.

One of issues is that we need to get a good fit of things like where are our students going and this sort of thing, similarly we want to be talking to companies that are getting a good mix so we might want to do a two stage sampling process ask people to fill out the survey part of the, review the survey data and then select the companies for the actual interview. 

Claudia: The other component of this is that different companies have different job titles and during the interview we don't know what is what whereas with the survey data on hand we can understand better what are they saying in terms of job descriptions.

Neeraj: We saw this on the DEQ interview they are hiring more analysts and the reason that they are doing this is because this is cheaper than an eng.

MarK: What degree do they have?

Neeraj: They have a science degree, people working in the lab analyzing water samples or air samples you don't really need an eng to do this; and they don't have to be licensed.

Mark: When we go back to the curriculum we need to understand when a company is calling someone an analyst and they are hiring someone with a chemical eng degree that's something that will have an impact on the neg curriculum.

Daina: An analyst could be a data analyst.

Neeraj: There are many possible permutations.

Mark: For the upcoming MDOT interview I guess the best thing to do is to review the survey and see what the information about the two year people is, and then explicitly ask about the two year positions.

Taryn: I was thinking that to get the two year information, then if Louise can access the two year graduates placement data we could cross reference that to the list of companies that we have and use that to ensure that we get a couple of companies in our sample that hire two years because I am nervous about doing double layer interview that might get more complicated that we need.

Mark: So you are saying start with the destination survey instead of the Zoomerang survey.

Taryn: Yes, and remember that we are going to end up with about 30 interviews so I was wondering if there was a way to see in the front end which companies are hiring LCC graduates.

Mark: Sure that's a good point and I remember that we had this conversation and she said that the data was there but she was not sure how to get it and Clint would have more idea but we cannot get traction whit him. We could also try the LCC website. So you are saying that you would rather avoid this idea of having the company fill the survey and then we might or might not interview them?

Taryn: Yes, because one it might confuse the company and two if you have two (as we have already seem) different people fill out the survey we might get two different types of responses so even if we have the survey data I am not certain that we will get the true and still miss the two year folks, so I think that we are creating more work for us than necessary. And my concern is also that we are going to reach out to a company ask them to fill the survey and then tell them that we are not interested after all.

Mark : I agree that is a down side and we would have to explain that up-front if we decide to go this way.

Taryn: I think that doing the cross reference to the companies and including in our sample those that hire four and two year degree is a better approach.

Mark: Ok  

Daina: The AB members have connections to MSU.

Taryn: And we are about to interview them and their demographic information would give us a sense of the hiring they are doing.

Claudia: We have to see as we go along what type of sample we are getting and then if we are missing two years data target that demographic more specifically.

Daina: Do we need everyone reviewing the interviews.

Mark: No, one person is Ok but in terms of LCC it is Ok that Louise does as many as she can do since she is the only person from LCC. The idea is also that even with the notes listening to the tape is different than getting information from the notes. We need to do this in real time so the analysis is taking form as we do the interviews.


IRB Status

Claudia updated about who is updated on the IRB. The people who have not done the training need to do it for people outside MSU I got the guest IDs to do the tutorial.



Mark: The brochure was a piece of the engagement strategy and the intent is to give it to the AB members so that they can help us engager some companies for the interview and survey at this point we are trying to do a focus sampling and we are not asking our AB to go and beat the bushes so if we give them the brochure at this point then what is it exactly that we want them to do with it. Taryn, any thoughts on this?

Taryn: I think it will come very handy when we contact companies to do the employee survey then we can give them a stack of brochures and this will give them a more tangible thing to know why are they doing this survey.

Mark: I think is a good idea.

Next AB meeting date and agenda items.

Claudia Are we ready and what are we going to ask from them?

Daina: I don't know how much data we will have by that time.

Mark: We will certainly have data at that point.

Daina: We can ask them to look at it if we can send it to them ahead of time that would be huge for them to be able to have an input in this.

Mark: We have to get the interviews and also the survey so September might be a little closer we could think about October. I don't want to ask people to come without having work for them to do. We don't want to give them raw data we need to have digested data.



Pilot Interviews; Demographics, sampling and protocol


-         We want to make sure that the interview protocol specifically gets to things that are appropriate to two year programs. As part of our sample we need to have companies that hire two year engineers.

-         It is important to analyze the demographic data because it helps us inform the sampling process and it also gives us clues as to why we are not getting information about the two year engs. For example, the zoomerang summary data from the pilot interviews indicates that the companies in our pilot did not hire two years folks at the entry level and this might be one reason why we are not seeing much information on these demographic.

-         One quick suggestion is to explicitly ask about the two year folks.

-         The other important issue is that different companies have different names for their job titles and we need to be able to understand how is this going to affect the curriculum discussion. For example, are they hiring analysts with science degrees to work in the lab or are they hiring engs?

-         One idea is to do a two stage sampling process, ask people to fill out the survey part of the interview, review it and then select the companies for the actual interview.

-         Other idea is to access the two year graduates placement data and cross reference that to the list of companies that we have to be sure that we get companies in our sample that hire two years.

-         This should be an iterative process in which the results would inform gaps in our sample strategy, in this way we should be able to target data collection more specifically if necessary.



-         At this point we will give the brochure to the companies that we contact to do the employee survey. This will give them more information as to why are they doing the survey.

AB Meeting

-         Best to do the next meeting at the beginning of October.

-         We need to have processed data so that we can ask them to do specific things.

-         The format of the meeting would be the same as the April 24 meeting.


Action Items:


Contact Louise/Clint to ask for LCC placement data.

Post schedule table for AB meeting dates and for CPACE Fall meetings.

Mark: Finalize NSF report.