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Graduate Research Assistant

Alicia Sasser Modestino

The graduate student RA will be responsible for helping to conduct both qualitative and quantitative analysis pertaining to community college pathways for Boston public high school students. This will include:
• Compiling and comparing data on programs, entry requirements, credits earned and credentials awarded across the 15 community colleges to assess similarities and differences
• Interviews with community college leaders about barriers to enrollment and completion, articulation agreements with high schools, and transfer to four-year colleges
• Working with administrative data to evaluate trends in enrollment, completion, employment and wages for BPS students just above and below the graduation cut-off

Project Title: Exploring the Return to Community College Pathways
Faculty/Project Lead:

Alicia Sasser Modestino

Project Description:

This project will fill the gap in our understanding about how labor market outcomes vary by pathway for community college students. Using longitudinal administrative data from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, we will estimate the returns to different certificates and degrees by field of study. By taking advantage of the fact that the vast majority of community college students have substantial pre-enrollment earnings histories, we will be able to present detailed estimates of the labor market returns to earning college credits, completing a certificate or associate degree, and earning a four-year degree after transferring from a community college.

More specifically, we will seek to answer the following research questions;

• How do the employment and earnings trajectories of students with varying levels of completion compare for those with at least 30 community college credits, a certificate, an associate’s degree, and a bachelor’s degree (after transferring)?

• How do these employment and earnings trajectories vary based on prior experience and/or characteristics of these students? For example, does attending a comprehensive or vocational technical high school or early work experience prior to post-secondary enrollment lead to better labor market outcomes? Do earnings trajectories differ for students based on socioeconomic status or other demographic characteristics?
• How do these employment and earnings trajectories vary based on different fields of study (e.g., CTE, healthcare, business, culinary, other)? Do they also differ by institution or labor market area?
This research is part of a larger collaboration with researchers at Harvard and Brown universities. In addition to writing a paper suitable for publication in a peer reviewed journals, we will also draft a graphically-rich report for the Boston Foundation that will be presented at a large public forum.

Qualifications Necessary:

The ideal candidate will possess all of the required qualifications listed below plus one or two of the additional qualifications.
Required Qualifications:
• Excellent verbal and communication skills to facilitate client interactions and interviews
• Attention to detail and organization are essential to ensure data integrity
• Expert knowledge of excel and experience programming in STATA to analyze data
• Experience conducting social science research in economics, sociology, or a related field
• Ability to travel occasionally to sites in and around Boston for interviews.
Additional Qualifications:
• Ability to create informative visualizations from detailed data
• Knowledge of quantitative analysis and econometrics
• Understanding of community college system

Hours per Week: 20
Please briefly describe your own academic research interests in 100 words or less.
Please explain your interest in this specific position in 100 words or less.
Please describe your qualifications and skills and any relevant previous experience in 150 words or less.
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Published On: January 23, 2020 |
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