How JobsEQ Helps Illinois Students Succeed

Posted on July 9, 2021 by Adam Halawa

Before JobsEQ: "It took so much time every quarter..."

In an increasingly competitive labor market, preparing students with the necessary skills that match with what businesses in the region need has become a major concern for guidance counselors, career coordinators, and the other educators that help young adults think about life after school.

Accurate labor market data give career coordinators the necessary information to make the case that workplace skills should be an integral part of students’ learning. Will the curriculum students learn leave them ready to get good jobs after graduation?

Laura Cook is a career coordinator who supports 6,500 students across 3 schools for the Maine Township High School District 207 and the NSERVE consortium in Illinois. Laura strives to develop an academic environment that allows students to graduate with the skills that employers are searching for.

To do so, Laura attended over 15 meetings each year with different industries and communities to identify job opportunities and skill inventories. She collected, analyzed, and synthesized large amounts of data, and “…it took so much time every quarter. I would spend a full week doing that every quarter.”


JobsEQ changed that.


JobsEQ by Chmura made Laura’s research process more efficient. “In an hour, I could get the same data. Then we could focus more on working with the data rather than just finding it.” JobsEQ gives Laura a better view of her school district’s labor market needs down to the zip code level.

When first using JobsEQ Laura was “surprised such big information could be received so quickly and accurately.” JobsEQ helped Laura identify what skills students needed to be successful in today's competitive labor market, and which jobs are in demand in the region.


Students better prepared for the job market

These data allowed Maine Township High School District 207 to adjust their course offerings over the next three years so students were better prepared for the job market. The district has a strong photography program, but JobsEQ showed the prospects for future work in photography were not great.

Laura worked with the photography teachers to identify work-ready skills already present in their curriculum and added others, so that students now get prepared for a host of different careers through their participation in photography.

From one JobsEQ report, Maine Township High School District 207 identified manufacturing as the fastest growing industry in the region; and they worried that their curriculum didn't prepare their students for those jobs. The district decided to run a “Kickstart Manufacturing Pilot” program to provide students with the skills and counseling necessary to enter the thriving industry.

They partnered with manufacturing firms to implement certifications necessary for new employees and offered students paid internships. The program has been a great success, with the 80 participating students matched with an employer upon graduation.

Laura keeps using JobsEQ data to help Maine Township High School District 207 teach the skills in demand by local employers. If you want to help your students succeed after graduation, contact Chmura and learn what JobsEQ can do for your school.

This blog reflects Chmura staff assessments and opinions with the information available at the time the blog was written.