New York State is making sure that all its students are prepared for the future. As of 2012, 40 percent of students were prepared for college and careers and over 50 percent of those who entered two-year institutions were required to take at least one remedial course. In response to these astonishing data, and along with federal and state initiatives aimed at college and career readiness, New York State Education Department (NYSED), in partnership with the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL), sought innovative ways to engage and properly prepare students for college and careers through an online career exploration and planning system, CareerZone.
CareerZone is a free online career exploration and planning system developed by NYSDOL. It offers direct access to in-depth career and education information for more than 800 occupations, listing each one with detailed information such as job descriptions, estimated wages, and job outlook. Users – specifically students – can search and explore the career database by career interests, career clusters, or wages and educational level and can save this information in an electronic, career portfolio. The goal of the site is that students will begin their long-term career planning process earlier than in their final years in high school.
To increase registration and use of CareerZone, NYSDOL partnered with NYSED and the Northeast Comprehensive Center (NCC) to develop the CareerZone Informational Video Series. The video series includes seven three to five minute videos on how CareerZone can prepare students for college and careers.
The video series provides an in-depth look at features and resources available on the CareerZone website. The videos in the series include testimonials from New York State students, teachers, guidance counselors, and experts in the field who discuss their use of the website and how it can encourage students in thinking about their options as they pursue a postsecondary education and/or career. Additionally, the video provides stakeholders with information on how CareerZone can assist students in completing Option 1 of NYSED’s new exiting credential, the Career Development and Occupational Studies Commencement Credential (or most commonly referred to as the CDOS Commencement Credential).
NYSDOL, in partnership with NYSED and NCC, also developed companion tip sheets to engage each stakeholder group (parents/guardians, teachers, school counselors, and students) in seven activities, based on the highlighted CareerZone tools, to build their knowledge and skill in using the career exploration and planning system. The CareerZone Informational Video Series and tip sheets are anticipated to be released in late spring of 2015.
NCC will continue to support NYSDOL and NYSED in this work by developing an evaluation design to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of the CareerZone Informational Video Series and companion tip sheets. The evaluation design will not only ensure that the resources developed for use of CareerZone are helpful, but that teachers and school counselors in New York State are prepared to use the website with their students.
To learn more about CareerZone, visit http://careerzone.ny.gov/. If you would like additional information on the CareerZone Informational Video Series and companion tip sheets, please email Monique C. Morgan.
Monique C. Morgan is a Research Associate and member of the Regional Innovations in Learning team at the Northeast Comprehensive Center.