July | August 2017




Website a ‘Consumer Report’ on Careers

By Mary Branham, CSG Managing Editor
Washingtonians looking for a career path can find everything they need to know on the bridge.
The Washington Career Bridge website, that is.
The website—one of eight national winners of The Council of State Governments Innovations Awards—combines all the information about eligible training providers, average earnings and employment outlook for any career choice. Users can get information on future hot jobs and how to get those jobs.
Washington Career Bridge is a place where people “can discover their passion and how they can get training and education to get that job,” said Karen Pyle, Career Bridge Web manager.
That information previously was spread across several websites, she said.
“We have all these great websites but no one is using them because they’re clunky, old, trying to do too many things and not focused on the whole career and training and education paths,” Pyle said.
Not only can people find a career path and a school to get on that path, they also can see how successful different programs have been in preparing people for particular professions. The website also features earnings for those graduates, based on state wage records. With another click on the page in the career of choice, people can find projections on future employment in that field, said Pyle.
“Those pieces of information can be helpful for people trying to figure out where they’re going to spend their education dollars,” she said.
It’s a consumer report for training and education, according to Pyle. Every state is required to measure performance of eligible career training providers, so Washington decided to do something with that information.  That was the jumping off point for Washington Career Bridge, Pyle said.
Career Bridge was launched in March 2009 by the Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board, a partnership of labor, business and government dedicated to helping Washington state residents obtain and succeed in employment, while meeting employers’ needs for skilled workers, according to the Innovations application.
Having information for more than 5,000 education and training programs—from two-day training programs to doctoral education—has proved beneficial for many sectors in the state, Pyle said.
Not only is it a great tool for employment counselors, but it also helps high school teachers and counselors working with students on choosing a career path. It also holds career training programs accountable for the success of their students. Some training programs have made changes because of performance results listed on Career Bridge, Pyle said.
“It really forces them to look at poorly performing programs and retool them,” she said. “Without some kind of window into what they’re doing, that wouldn’t be happening as much.”

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