TITLE: O*NET Consortium: Occupational Information Network

ACCESS: http://www.onetcenter.org/whatsnew.html/

Job seekers, students, workers, employment professionals, counselors, and others interested in exploring occupations and careers will find this site a great place to start. The centerpiece of the site is a database of worker attributes and job characteristics developed by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (ETA) in coordination with the National O*NET Consortium. It replaces the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT), which ceased publication in 1991, and is billed as "the nation's primary source of occupational information." O*NET strives to provide a standardized way of defining and describing occupations, similar to the DOT; however, O*NET offers much more.

O*NET Online is a well-designed search engine for exploring the database. Search "Find Occupations" by keyword to produce a relevance-ranked list of all occupations including that word. Alternatively, browse by the "Job Family" hierarchy of occupations. Pull-down menus reveal categories such as Architecture & Engineering, or Education, Training & Library, or even All Occupations. In addition, the "Skills Search" feature allows searchers to locate jobs by choosing attributes of importance to them. Finally, with "Crosswalk," one can use any of 4 other occupational classifications, such as DOT codes, to find matching O*NET- SOC (Standard Occupational Classification) occupations.

Each occupation listed includes the O*NET-SOC code and 3 reports. The summary report describes characteristics most needed for each occupation organized under a dozen standard categories: Tasks, Knowledge, Skills, Work Activities, Work Context, Interest, Work Values, Related Occupations, etc. Especially interesting is a tab for Wages & Employment which offers an Occupation Report by state, including outlook, trends, a career video, and much more. Detailed and custom reports offer other viewer options.

Beyond O*NET Online, this site is chock-full of information on the Consortium, other easily accessible O*NET products, career assessment guides and tools, research and technical reports, data collection methods, planned products and ways to contribute to the process. Browse the site map or FAQ to start as the numerous paths can be a bit overwhelming to navigate.

O*NET Online alone, however, is worth the stop for students searching for relevant careers at any point in their academic journey. Through it they can explore occupations, match skills, find out about salary and trends, or just see what is out there. Researchers, employment specialists, and others can dig deeper and discover a wealth of information about the world of work likely available nowhere else.

Barbara Valentine
Linfield College

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