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Central Region

central-minnesota-mapCentral Minnesota is a manufacturing stronghold, with several global manufacturing firms operating there.

The region is especially well known for its expertise in food processing, printing, furniture manufacturing, appliances, machinery and heavy equipment manufacturing.

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Using the Career Wheel to Reach Your Goals

9/5/2018 2:00:00 PM

Luke Greiner

A few years ago I began providing research and presentations to students and staff at various educational institutions. My intent was to provide accurate labor market information to help students make the best decisions possible. I wanted content to be useful for everyone who would be guiding students in their career decision-making.

Everyone seemed pleased with the information, but then a school district asked to see how their proposed career and technical education program ‘fit’ their local economy. This should have been a simple request, but the problem was that nearly all levels of Minnesota’s education system organize occupations differently than economists do. I couldn’t easily understand what type of program they were pursuing, and they couldn’t easily decipher how my data fit their proposal.

To address this, I built a crosswalk dashboard to create labor market information that people from educational institutions can easily use.

Instead of navigating through the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) hierarchy that is universally used in economics, the dashboard arranges occupational data based on the Career Wheel that the Minnesota Department of Education and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities use. Another benefit: Students are likely much more familiar with the Career Wheel than they are with SOC codes.

I have been gathering feedback and plan to make ongoing improvements, but the current dashboard should be able to aide in career exploration at the high school level. This is what you can find using the dashboard, all of which are extremely important when exploring careers:

  • What occupations specific career fields, clusters, and pathways lead to
  • Based on the selected region of Minnesota, what current employment looks like (i.e. how many jobs there currently are)
  • Regionally-specific median hourly wages
  • What type of education is typically required for these occupations

This dashboard shows how many jobs are currently filled, an important factor for how many openings are possible for employment opportunities. For instance, if there are only 20 current jobs for a specific occupation in the geography of interest, the number of openings is likely limited. Median hourly wages can help students understand the earning potential that different occupations can provide. And the typical educational requirement should assist students in deciding if higher education is necessary to achieve their goals.

So go ahead, do some exploring!


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