Tag Archives: career center

The Best Career Decisions Use Local Information

A local college recently announced a new program to train occupational therapy assistants, citing 41% national growth through 2022 and a persistent labor shortage.

As a job seeker how could you decide whether to invest over $45,000 of your tuition dollars in this program?

Enter the Long-Term Occupational Projections, 2012–2022, for New York State and its 10 labor market regions. These data were just released by the New York State Department of Labor. They tell you the demand for about 700 different detailed occupations, both statewide and in your local area.

Click here to download the chart.

How to Read the Chart

1. Identify your occupational title, which is sometimes easier said than done. Suppose you are looking for information on occupational therapy assistants. That one is not too difficult because there is actually an occupational title named “occupational therapy assistants” (try not to confuse it with occupational therapists or occupational therapy aides). However, you will find that the list is not sorted alphabetically by occupation. To find your title you will need to use Microsoft Excel’s Find function. If you still cannot find an occupation that matches the job title you had in mind, try searching for it on www.onetcodeconnector.org.


2. Check out the Employment numbers. The first tab on the chart is for all of New York State. Note that there are projected to be 2,570 occupational therapy assistant jobs statewide in 2022, 520 more than there were in 2012. That is a growth rate of 25.4% over 10 years—pretty impressive, but not quite as high as the nationwide growth rate cited in our first paragraph. Of course the most important piece of information on this chart is the Total number of Annual Average Openings—just 100 per year. Half of the openings are due to new job growth, half due to replacements for people leaving the occupation.

3. Take a look at the wages. Remember that if you have no experience in the occupation, you will likely start near the entry level. If you can find a job after graduation, $39,720 is probably a high enough annual salary to start paying back those inevitable student loans.


What About Your Local Labor Market?

Information for the Finger Lakes Region, which includes Monroe County plus eight other surrounding counties, can be found in the fourth tab on the chart.


Notice the Total number of Annual Average Openings in the Finger Lakes—zero! (There are actually at least three average annual openings, but rounded to the nearest 10, that equals zero). Thirty or more annual openings would be a less risky number for the Finger Lakes. Some high-demand occupations have 100 or more annual openings.

Entry-level wages for occupational therapy assistants in the Finger Lakes are also a bit lower than statewide—$36,440 annually.

Can You Trust These Numbers?

The Long-Term Occupational Projections are usually fairly consistent with numbers of actual job openings. But for several reasons they are not accurate in every case. So you should always verify them by doing a real-time search on job search web sites.

I performed a search on www.indeed.com for occupational therapy assistants within 50 miles of Rochester, NY, expecting to find only one, or none. To my surprise I found at least four unduplicated, full-time, regular jobs posted. I also found a number of part-time, per diem, or travel jobs. So this was one of those instances where the long-term projections underestimated the number of openings.

Supply and Demand

We cannot discuss demand without also looking at supply. In the labor market demand represents the number of job openings. Supply represents the number of qualified job seekers competing for those jobs. For example, until that new occupational therapy assistant program starts pumping out graduates, we may very well have a labor shortage—even with a relatively small number of annual openings. However, if the college starts graduating 15 occupational therapy assistants per year, we may end up with an oversupply. Graduates of the program would then have to be open to working a travel job or relocating. The long-term projections show that more than half of the statewide openings are likely to be downstate.

So Should You Pursue That Occupation or Not?

When in doubt, get some advice. College counselors can give you an idea of the market for the jobs they prepare you for. But keep in mind that their perspective is limited to the educational programs offered by their school. And admissions counselors at some colleges may advise you with the motive of filling a recruitment quota.

Your local career center is a great place to get a second opinion. If in Rochester, come see us at one of the RochesterWorks! Career Centers. Elsewhere in New York State, find your local career center at http://labor.ny.gov/career-center-locator/.

Opening image from publicdomainpictures.net

Industry Careers Panels—Excellent Information Source for Jobseekers

In March, the RochesterWorks! Career Center held our first in a series of industry careers panels. The event was a great success! We had participation from a broad range of Information Technology (IT) experts. They gave insightful answers to many questions that job seekers have, including the following:

1. What abilities or personal qualities would make someone a good fit for the IT field?
2. What can mature workers do to be competitive in the IT field?
3. How important is it to have a college degree? Is a degree even necessary for someone with work experience?

If you missed the session, you can view a four-part podcast at http://www.rwvcc.org/index.php?option=com_hwdvideoshare&task=viewcategory&Itemid=7&cat_id=18.

Our next offering in our careers panel series will focus on Advanced Manufacturing. It is scheduled for Wednesday, June 20, at 9 a.m., at the RochesterWorks! Career Center. RochesterWorks! members may sign up online at http://www.rochesterworks.org/js_workshops_downtown.aspx. Pre-registration is required because seating is limited.

Here is the flyer:  Advanced Manufacturing Careers Panel 6-20-12

Career Change in 3 Simple Steps

How many different careers will you have in your lifetime? Although some experts put the number at 5–7, no one has yet researched the true answer to that question. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/nls/nlsfaqs.htm), one group was found to have held an average of 11 jobs between the ages of 18 and 44. So we can conclude that you will probably change careers at least a few times during your working life.

How then do you make a career change? Here are a few simple steps.

1. Start with a list of jobs that might be a good fit for you. You can develop such a list by taking a career assessment. If you live in New York State, I recommend creating an account with www.nyjobzone.org and taking the Interest Profiler. You will find that tool in the Self-Exploration section under Career Interests. Alternatively, you could download the Interest Profiler at http://www.onetcenter.org/IP.html. Either way, your scores will result in a list of matching occupations.

2. Prioritize your list. First, circle the job titles that interest you. Do not worry about whether you have the training or experience to do a particular job. If you might like to learn the job, circle it! Next, draw a line through the jobs that definitely do not interest you. Finally, if there are any titles that you are unsure about, mark them with a question mark.

3. Do your research. Start with the jobs on your list that you circled. Then move on to the ones that you marked with a question mark. You may find information on these jobs at www.nyjobzone.org or www.onetonline.org. When doing your homework on each job title, ask yourself the following questions. Could I see myself doing the job and enjoying it? How much and what type of training or preparation would be needed to qualify for the job? How much does the job pay? How many job openings are there? Your goal during this step should be to narrow your list to the top 3–5 job choices.

After completing these steps, you may still need help making a final decision or preparing yourself to qualify for your new career choice. The professional staff at your local One-Stop Career Center (www.servicelocator.org) would be happy to assist you further.

The Power of the Group

Several years ago I facilitated a weekly networking group for some of my jobseeker customers at our career center. I could not figure out why, but there was something about the group dynamic that just made it work. And it was gratifying to watch group members hold one another accountable for their job search activities.

Today we serve far more jobseeker customers than we did six or seven years ago. And we can help them in so many ways. Yet the majority does not follow through on our advice. Lately I have been thinking that what most jobseekers need is a group to hold them accountable. If you are looking for work, please give some serious consideration to joining a networking group. I think that you will be pleased with the results.