Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Helping Career Explorers Learn What It Takes to Get There

Guest post written by Jay Stulo of Fox Valley Technical College

The WI Career Pathways website, https://wicareerpathways.org/, helps people explore and understand different careers, and can be a valuable tool to use with patrons in public libraries. While career assessments, occupational information, and educational options currently exist in various formats and locations on the web, they don’t provide meaningful data truly capable of guiding someone in career choice decision-making. By using an integrated approach, the WICareerPathways.org website and Android mobile app place data from multiple sources in the hands of Career Explorers.
Career Pathways logo
Career Pathways logo
WICareerPathways.org is an engaging and easy to use website created in partnership and with guidance from several state agencies and educational organizations including:
  • Wisconsin Technical College System & individual colleges
  • Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development & Department of Public Instruction
  • K-12 school districts
  • Cooperative Educational Service Agencies (CESAs)
  • University of Wisconsin System
  • Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (WAICU)

The National Career Clusters® Framework (www.careertech.org) categorizes WICareerPathways.org’s vast occupational data into educational clusters. Each one contains broadly grouped occupations in similar fields of work requiring similar skills. Each cluster is also divided into pathways, which are sub-groupings of knowledge and skills.

All possible professions can be found within this framework. Both the clusters and the pathways allow individuals to explore any number of jobs and educational paths including Wisconsin postsecondary majors and programs and thousands of occupations. The framework is currently organized into 16 career clusters and 79 pathways.

Screenshot of Career Clusters
Screenshot of Career Clusters
Career explorers can set up an account during their first visit to WICareerPathways.org, or browse to explore careers without logging in. After an account is created, each person can then take the career clusters interest survey. Once this is completed, they land in a secure portal called My Locker where they can view their clusters in rank order based on their survey results. They can also take the O*NET Interest Profiler with Holland code results matched to the clusters. These self-assessments can be retaken at any time.

Typically, web-based, career-guidance tools offer assessments designed to narrow occupational choices. Their focus is on one job’s specific requirements and they miss the big picture. Career Pathways gives users a variety of ways to explore, including reviewing careers in a cluster, exploring different clusters, and learning how jobs are related to each other and to higher education. Instead of narrowing career exploration, Career Pathways expands it.

In a technological world where skills from one job are transferable to another, why limit someone’s exploration to a narrow set of choices? Our survey results cover a vast selection of professions. This allows each person to explore colleges, and research occupational information in every cluster, even their least desirable clusters. WICareerPathways.org provides a unique opportunity for our visitors to expand their career knowledge.

Originally a resource for high school and middle school students and staff, WICareerPathways.org now makes it possible for anyone to explore multiple careers and educational paths.

Guest post written by Jay Stulo of Fox Valley Technical College