Focusing on Career Development
By Melissa Deets, Workforce Solutions Specialist, Monster Government Solutions
One of the most exciting aspects of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) is that success will now be measured over the long haul, through metrics that are directly tied to people improving their lives by helping them find careers and not just a job.
WIOA sets out to help citizens obtain employment that will lead to financial stability and economic security for themselves and their families. We’re talking about giving people the tools they need to earn a family-sustaining wage over a lifetime. This means tracking key performance indicators like job retention, earnings increases and credential achievement over an extended period of time, rather than measuring “quick win” job placements every quarter.
In other words, we’ve moved from asking “how quickly can we get someone a job?” to “how can we help someone build a career?” Which is incredibly important, because you know what they say about teaching a man to fish...
Building a career starts with a vision, but dreams can be intimidating to reach, especially for folks that are essentially starting from scratch. That’s why WIOA focuses on career pathways, which outline the necessary steps - in the form of educational degrees, certifications, apprenticeships, or professional experience - required to reach a professional destination. But how can we help folks get started?
One strategy that works well is to start with the end goal and work back. What are the hottest industries in that person’s community? What types of skills are local employers looking for? What types of positions will pay enough to provide for their family? WIOA is pushing workforce boards from around the country to capture and deliver this information to citizens, along with resources like “day in the life” videos outlining the roles and responsibilities of certain professions.
At Monster Government Solutions, we’ve had success taking people through our career planning tools, which helps them understand potential options and maps out the steps in their professional journey. These career planning tools can be found in our Monster Career Center solution. The solution gives job seekers a wealth of career planning tools including a resume builder, career-path advice, education and training materials, budget calculators, skills assessments, and more. These tools help job seekers get a feel for what’s out there, what they could be, and it makes the promise of a new life more tangible.
The foundation of long-lasting careers are often built on answers to questions like “what would I be good at?” and “what would I enjoy?” Before we can help someone create a career pathway, we have to know where they are from a basic skills perspective (math, writing, verbal communication), which is why WIOA’s requirement to conduct upfront assessments is critical to guiding initial training recommendations. We’ve also seen personality assessments like our Traitify tool play an important role in helping job seekers uncover careers that they would enjoy and thrive in. Matching someone’s interests and strengths to their professional path is essential to achieving WIOA’s goals of long-term job satisfaction and retention.
Once a job seeker has a realistic direction that he or she is excited about, it’s time to put a tactical plan in place. A great first step is getting folks signed up for training to close any foundational skills gaps. The good news is that WIOA’s emphasis on distance learning solutions are making all sorts of education programs more accessible than ever before.
Providing career pathway tools is critical for helping people develop careers so that they can achieve economic security, and eventually prosperity, for themselves and their families.
For more on WIOA and how Monster Government Solutions can help visit our
Monster WIOA Resource Center.