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Steps To Help Youth Attain Credentials In High Demand Occupations

To help you and your program identify promising occupations for youth served by the workforce system, and the credentials that help youth attain them, you can follow the step-by-step process below.

Step 1Finding High Demand Occupations Using Labor Market Information (LMI)

To find out which occupations are in demand, check out Careers with a Bright Outlook at My Next Move. Bright outlook careers are defined as occupations that:

Career Report

Click on large number of openings to view a list of the occupations that have the largest projected number of job openings. For example, many allied health occupations such as dental assistants, emergency medical technicians and paramedics, home health aides, licensed practical nurses, medical assistants, nursing assistants, and pharmacy technicians are included in this list. Some occupations can be accessed through registered apprenticeship programs while other occupations with the largest job openings are part of the green economy. Select the occupation you want to learn more about by clicking on the career (or occupation) name. A report of the job duties, knowledge, skills and abilities, education, technology, job outlook, and other related information is provided. When information in these reports is not yet available, more details can be found on O*NET OnLine (as shown on the bottom of the Occupational Report under See More Details). The O*NET OnLine summary report on nursing assistants, for example, indicates that over 1.5 million were employed in the occupation in 2010. Projected growth in the occupation of 20-28% between 2010 and 2020 is faster than average. Further, there are 496,100 projected job openings over the next ten years.

Job Outlook

Continuing with nursing assistants as the example, the job outlook shows that new job opportunities are very likely in the future. Always be mindful that national labor market information, such as job outlook information, may differ from your state data, so be sure to also Check Out Your State. The U.S. map shown indicates which states have more opportunities than others for the selected occupation. For detailed state-by-state information, click on the Employment and Wages link at the bottom left-hand side of the page to access an Occupational Employment Statistics report. This report provides national employment and wage estimates, industries with the highest employment levels and concentrations of the occupation, and state and local areas with the highest employment levels and concentrations, location quotients and pay.

Also within the job outlook section, you can find local salary information by entering your zip code or state. Charts of high, median and low annual salary and hourly wage distributions for the occupation in your selected local area or state compared to national averages are displayed. For example, you can see from the chart that the median annual salary of $24,800 for nursing assistants in Wisconsin, a state with an above average outlook for the occupation, is slightly higher than the national average of $24,200.

An additional Occupation Profile is also accessible from the bottom of this page by clicking on learn more about this occupation . The Occupation Profile offers a description of the occupation, a career video, and more detailed occupation information on knowledge, skills and abilities, tasks and activities, tools and technology, and education and training. Or, you can change the occupation for which you want more information at the top right of the page.

A few things to note:

  • Typically, occupations identified as fastest growing are occupations that have the highest projected change in employment levels in the next several years. However, occupations with the highest projected job growth may not have the largest number of expected job openings.
  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in most occupations, more job opportunities occur when workers who leave their occupations need to be replaced than are created through employment growth. This is particularly the case in low skill, low wage occupations where there is generally significant turnover.
  • Also, occupations with the most job openings are likely to exist in occupations where levels of employment are highest.

Step 2Finding Promising Occupations for Youth Served by the Workforce System

When helping youth develop career plans, it is important to remember that goals should vary based on the age, school enrollment status, and educational attainment of individual youth. For many youth served by WIA Youth Programs, secondary and postsecondary educational attainment is their primary focus. For others, particularly older, out-of-school youth, the goal is to complete high school or attain a GED and move directly into employment. For those interested in entering the workforce, you can help them by identifying promising entry-level occupations that require a high school diploma or GED, little or no work experience and up to a few months of training. Other promising jobs may require a high school diploma, some work experience and up to two years of training.

Looking at lists of occupations by educational level is a good way to begin identifying jobs that are promising and appropriate for youth. A good Labor Market Information source for a sortable occupations list is the America's Career InfoNet. There you can find the Occupations with the Most Openings. Select an education level to get a list of promising occupations with typical entry education levels that make the occupations more appropriate for youth. Among this list are many occupations in office and administrative support, health care support, transportation and materials moving, construction, and building and grounds maintenance industries. Included also are teacher assistants, bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks, security guards, insurance sales agents, loan officers, etc. Although some of these jobs are entry level positions with low earnings, they may serve as good opportunities for work experience, or stepping stones into other entry level positions that have career ladder opportunities.

Step 3Determining Occupations with Pathways to Career Advancement

While a number of fast-growing jobs require post-secondary education, the majority of jobs with the most job openings requires a high school diploma or equivalent or less, no previous work experience, and short-term training. These jobs can help youth get valuable work experience and can be a good first step into the world of work. However, it is important to help ensure youth are entering occupations in which they are interested and have the ability to be successful, with career ladder potential.

Youth should be encouraged to pursue and be provided adequate information on occupations where there is a clear path to specialize or advance. Increased credential attainment may be one way to meet requirements for more specialized work. Credentials that are stackable help a worker progress along a career pathway or up a career ladder. Industry competency models provide information on what skill sets and competencies are required to move along a career pathway. For example, you can find a sample career ladder/lattice for information technology (IT). Clicking on links between job titles allows you to see the critical development experiences required to move either vertically or horizontally on the IT career pathway. For occupations where there has not been a clear or established pathway, career ladders and lattices can be built using industry competency models. Also, you can learn more about career pathways models and identify numerous career pathways resources by searching the Career Pathways Community of Practice website.

Step 4
Discovering Credentials Needed for Identified Promising Occupations

To find out which credentials are needed for the promising occupations in which youth are interested, return to the career report as outlined in Step 1 above. Search for the occupation, for example, computer support specialist. In the career report, click on Find Training (under the Education section in the bottom left hand corner of the page) to find certifications by zip code or state. The Certifications link on the following page will take you to certification information for specific occupations. As you can see forcomputer support specialist, information such as certification name and certifying organization is provided and whether the certification is common (or entry-level), advanced, specialty, or specific to product/equipment is also indicated. Click on the name of the certification, such as the A + certification, to find the certifying organization, a description of the certification, details about accreditations and endorsements, and whether exams and renewal are required. This page also has a link to the certifying organization that will offer more information about the certification. You’ll also find links to websites with information about certification examinations and whether the credential has third-party endorsements, is related to Career and Technical Education career clusters, is offered in Job Corp training programs, and whether the certification may draw on training or experience gained in certain military occupational specialties . Additional resources related to credentials can also be found on the Workforce Credentials Information Center. The Center provides access points to tools and resources relating to certifications, licensing, apprenticeship programs and military training.

Here you will find a great many links that will help you research your career plans and development.  Use the links... some of them are really great web resources and they are FREE!
Mr. B.
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