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Career Clusters, A Bridge…

Career Clusters, A Bridge Between Education and Career Planning

Since 1960s, career cluster resources have been used as career exploration and planning tools in schools, learning communities, and organizations across the nation. Career Clusters is a system that matches educational and career planning.

Step 1: Identifying Career Cluster Interest Areas

Career clusters are groups of similar occupations and industries. When teachers, counselors, and parents work with teens, college students, and adults, the first step is to complete career cluster assessment. The assessment identifies the highest career cluster areas. Career assessments show teens, college students, and adults rankings from one of the following 16 Interests Areas or Clusters:

1. Agriculture, Food, & Natural Resources
2. Architecture & Construction
3. Arts, A/V Technology & Communication
4. Business, Management & Administration
5. Education & Training
6. Finance
7. Government & Public Administration
8. Health Science
9. Hospitality & Tourism
10. Human Services
11. Information Technology
12. Law, Public Safety & Security
13. Manufacturing
14. Marketing, Sales & Service
15. Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics
16. Transportation, Distribution & Logistics

Examples of career cluster assessments are –

  • Career Exploration Inventory
  • Guide for Occupational Exploration Interest Inventory
  • Kuder Career Planning System

Step 2: Exploring Career Clusters and Related Careers

After pinpointing the highest career clusters, teens, college students, and adults explore the different careers and create education plans. Career cluster tools used in career and educational planning include:

  • LISA: A comprehensive career cluster database
  • Models
  • Brochures
  • Pathways
  • High school plan of study
  • Interest and Skills Areas
  • Crosswalks

After completing a career cluster assessment, teens, college students, and adults look at web sites, career models, brochures, pathways, and high school plans. One of the most unique comprehensive career cluster resources is the Louisiana Integrated Skills Assessment (LISA), an Internet program. LISA lets you explore career clusters, careers, abilities, training requirements, and more. There are 3 steps in the LISA program:

STEP 1: Click here to select a Career Cluster
STEP 2: Click here to select a Career Group
STEP 3: Explore Occupations within this Career Group

In Step 1, when you choose a career cluster, you will see a description of the cluster. When you select a career group in Step 2, you see different careers. Finally, in Step 3, you see a wealth of information:

  • Job descriptions
  • Educational and training requirements
  • Crosswalks, for example ONET, DOT, GOE, and other codes
  • Abilities
  • Knowledge
  • Skills
  • Tasks
  • Work Values
  • Labor Market Information

Even though LISA is an awesome program, in classroom or workshop settings, you need printed materials. When using printed materials, the career model is the best place to start. Models provide excellent overviews listing the cluster definitions, sample careers, pathways, knowledge, and skills. Visual models show career clusters, the cluster subgroups, and related careers. Models are an excellent way to introduce career clusters.

For presentations, workshops, and group discussions, the career cluster brochures provide additional information. Adults and teens read about the different careers that are available in each career cluster. Teachers, counselors, and parents use the brochures to solidify adults’ and teens’ potential career or educational decisions. The brochures cover topics such as:

  • Definition of career clusters
  • Careers
  • Career pathways
  • Employment outlooks
  • Skills
  • Credentials

Teachers, counselors, and parents use career pathways for more detailed information. The career pathways are subgroups or areas of concentration within career clusters. Each pathway contains career groups. The career groups have similar academic skills, technical skills, educational requirements, and training requirements. Career pathways are plans of study that outline required secondary courses, post secondary courses, and related careers. The career pathways are essential tools that teachers, counselors, parents, and other adults use to give educational planning advice.

Several web sites feature High School Plans of Study. These study plans show required, elective, and suggested courses for each grade level. The school plans also match the career clusters to related careers, career pathways, and post-secondary options. Teachers, counselors, and parents find that these school plans are guides for selecting the right high school courses to match potential careers. Beyond high school, the Utah System for Higher Education has created a College Major Guide. Parents, teachers, and counselors can use the guide to match college majors to Certificate and Degree Programs.

Additional Resources for Counselors and Teachers

For planning curriculum and educational programs, there are detailed Knowledge and Skills Charts and Cluster Crosswalks. The knowledge and Skills expand upon the information listed on the career cluster models. For each knowledge and skill area, there are performance elements and measurement criteria. Crosswalks show the relationships between career clusters and other career models:

Career clusters build a bridge between education and career planning. Different types of career cluster resources are available: videos, web sites, booklets, brochures, activity sheets, and workbooks. Teachers, counselors, and parents use career cluster resources to successfully complete career and educational planning.

Resources:

American Careers Career Paths, Career Communications, 6701 W. 64th St., Overland, KS 66202, 800-669-7795

Career Click, Illinois Department of Employment Security,33 South State Street, Chicago, IL 60603, (312) 793-5700

CIP Code Index by Career Cluster, Adult & Postsecondary CTE Division, Bureau of Career and Technical Education, 333 Market Street, Harrisburg, PA 17126, (717) 772-0814

Cluster and Career Videos, Career One Stop, U.S. Department of Labor, Frances Perkins Building, 200 Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20210, 866-4-USA-DOL

College Major Guide Utah System for Higher Education, Board of Regents Building, The Gateway, 60 South 400 West, Salt Lake City, UT 84101-1284, (801) 321-7100

Find Careers (Videos), iSeek Solutions, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, Wells Fargo Place, 30 7th St. E., Suite 350, St. Paul, MN 55101-7804

High School Plans of Study, New Hampshire Department of Education, 101 Pleasant Street Concord, NH 03301-3860, (603) 271-3494 Introduction to Career Clusters, Career Education, Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, P.O. Box 543 Blacklick, OH 43004-0544,

Louisiana Integrated Skills Assessment (LISA), customized Internet version of OSCAR, a product of the Texas Workforce Commission/Career Development Resources, TWC/CDR, Austin, TX 78753

Maryland Career Clusters, Maryland State Department of Education 200 West Baltimore Street Baltimore, MD 21201,

Rhodes Island’s Career Clusters, Rhode Island’s Career Resource Network, 1511 Pontiac Avenue, Cranston, RI 02920, 401-462-8790

School to Career Clusters, State of Connecticut, Department of Labor, Job Bank, 645 South Main Street, Middletown, CT 06457, (860)754-5000

States’ Career Clusters Initiative (SCCI), 1500 W. Seventh Avenue, Stillwater, OK 74074 Career Pathway Plans, Career Cluster, Knowledge and Skills Charts

VTECS Cluster Frameworks, VTECS, 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA, 30033,404-679-4501 ext 543

What are Career Clusters? Career Prospects System, New Mexico Career Resource Network, CAREER TECHNICAL AND WORKFORCE EDUCATION BUREAU (CTWEB), Education Building, 300 Don Gaspar, Santa Fe, NM 87501, (505) 827-6512

Adapted from article posted at EzineArticles.com.


Comments on: "Career Clusters, A Bridge…" (2)

  1. Bill Bell said:

    Thanks for the tip about Lisa. Beautifully done.

  2. Holland Codes Blog said:

    Thanks you Bill for the feedback.

Comments are closed.

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