University Economic Development Association


Gap Analysis Reporting

Award Category: Talent
Project Site: Gap Analysis Reporting
Submitted By: Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education
Contact: Sue Mukherjee , 717.720.4201


The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (“State System”) serves over 105,000 students, making it the largest provider of higher education in Pennsylvania. It comprises 14 universities and several university centers that support a wide range of postsecondary education programs that are the foundation of economic development in the Keystone State.

Higher education in the United States has historically operated under a supply-driven model, wherein learners seek out programs and degrees offered by the institution regardless of business need. The State System’s Gap Analysis project was undertaken in order to better align programs and to identify opportunities for universities and learner success. This original research, first conducted in 2016, aligned business needs (demand) with university graduates (supply) to provide students and universities with the ability to make demand-driven decisions. The Gap Analysis is a part of the larger Workforce Intelligence Toolkit that is meant to help the System’s universities increase their impact on the commonwealth’s economy and be better regional stewards.

The Gap Analysis project contributes to a new environment of data-driven decision making in the formation of new academic programs. The project incorporated multiple unique elements, including and a sophisticated methodology and an algorithm linking talent supply (from Pennsylvania’s 400 postsecondary institutions) and demand (from the state’s 360,000 employers). The innovative components and the resulting data and reports (43 were produced) are ultimately the result of embracing data-driven decision making in the State System with the primary goal of closing information gaps facing students, parents, faculty, and University administration.