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State Reports on Distance Education and Workforce Development for NC-SARA


NC-SARA hired NCHEMS to produce a series of state-level reports on distance education trends and how they may help each state meet its workforce needs. NCHEMS produced a 4-page report for each NC-SARA member state/territory that summarizes trends in attainment, distance education enrollments and programs, out-of-state learning placements, and high-demand occupations and job skills.

Challenges Approach Impacts Resources


The project entailed distilling a large amount of complex information into short reports made of easy-to-interpret graphs and text. Additionally, some potentially valuable distance education data are simply not available; NC-SARA and IPEDS do not collect data on either distance education graduates or the academic programs of distance education students.


NCHEMS was able to use two previous sets of attainment-focused state-level reports we had produced as a starting point. We examined available data on the topics of educational attainment, state workforce demand and distance education and, working with NC-SARA staff, determined which data were most relevant and interesting given the topic and intended audiences.


NCHEMS presented the reports at a summit for NC-SARA State Portal Entity partners from each state. Attendees expressed gratitude for the reports and interest in using them for decision-making. Both NC-SARA and NCHEMS received enthusiastic follow-up questions about the reports.