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Tools You Can Use: Alaska's Career Lattice Helps Get Citizens Reemployed

In Alaska, workers now have a new tool to use in their search for employment: the Alaska Career Lattice (  The new electronic tool is based on the “real world” data analysis of occupation-to-occupation transitions by Alaska workers as well as extensive analysis of job characteristics data.  The Lattice is designed to help workers who are in transition, whether that is career advancement within an occupation or transition to a new occupation using their current skill set.

Employers in Alaska are required to report the occupations of their employees on their unemployment insurance records–the linchpin of Alaska’s Occupational Database (ODB). This gives Alaska the unique opportunity to track the movements of workers from occupation to occupation over time.

Data from 2001 through 2009 were analyzed to identify the most common paths of advancement or transfer from occupation to occupation. The tool is also powered by job characteristics data obtained from O*NET (Occupation Information Network) and wage estimate data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to assess levels.  It was also built using

Listen to the full story via podcast on KDLG Public Radio in Alaska in January 2012 by clicking this link:


What do you think of this tool?

ETA Releases New Career Pathways Policy Paper
The Promise of Career Pathways Systems Change and Inititatives, commissioned by ETA and released in April 2012, gives an overview of career pathways, the six key elements framework and examples of state and local workforce investment systems that are centrally involved in the development of career pathways.
The paper can be downloaded from the Career Pathways Community of Practice at

What are your thoughts about the policy paper?  How can it help your state or local community implement career pathways more effectively?

US Forest Service and Partners Provide Employment Opportunities Nationwide

Thousands of temporary seasonal jobs with the Forest Service and its partners are available this summer and officials say now is the time to begin the application process.

"Due to the nature of much of our work, such as wildfire fighting and seasonal recreation programs, we anticipate hiring many temporary workers," said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. "These jobs will provide economic relief for many unemployed Americans and help stimulate local rural communities."

Annually, the Forest Service and its conservation partners hire over 15,000 people for summer positions. Of that total there are around 12,000 openings during the peak fire season months for those seeking temporary work in the fire and aviation management field. More about jobs in the Forest Service can be found online at

Seasonal job opportunities also provide first-hand knowledge of natural resource management to the new hires, many of whom are young adults. These work experiences may instill lasting and meaningful connections between the future stewards of our land and America's great outdoors," Tidwell said.

Many of the communities most affected by economic hard times are located near national forests and grasslands. By providing temporary jobs to a diverse group of applicants, the Forest Service is contributing to stronger communities and providing safe access to the forests and grasslands for their use and enjoyment by people of all abilities, Tidwell noted.

For example, through the Forest Service's Urban and Community Forestry program some of these employment opportunities will engage students in the creation of a new generation of clean, accessible great urban parks and community green spaces, a goal of President Obama's America's Great Outdoors Initiative -- a plan to reconnect Americans to the forests and grasslands that sustain the nation.

An employment alternative offered through the Forest Service is enrollment in one of the agency's 28 Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers. This rigorous vocational training program combines a demanding academic curriculum and prepares students to excel in the 21st century workforce. One emphasis area focuses on "green-collar" jobs and clean energy issues. Recognizing the program's efforts in green jobs training, President Obama has endorsed them as America's Green Job Corps.

The Forest Service, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Parks Service, and the Employment and Training Administration share common goals regarding career development for young people. These goals include giving low income youth opportunities to gain valuable work experience, provide service to their nation, and contribute to much needed work projects on public lands.

Land management agencies and the land itself can benefit from increased employment of youth on the public lands, especially to address the backlog maintenance issues many agencies face. As these workers learn about the potential career pathways in these occupations, those who are interested can help meet the imminent demand for skilled workers as approximately 35 percent of Forest Service employees are eligible for retirement in the next four years, Tidwell said.

These jobs will also be part of the President's White House Summer Jobs initiative to provide pathways to employment for low-income and disconnected youth in the summer of 2012.

Study Finds 40 Million U.S. Jobs Reliant On Intellectual Property Right Protection


A new report released on April 11 by the Commerce Department found that computer, information, and other intellectual property-intensive industries and their suppliers employ one out of every four U.S. workers and account for one-third of the nation's gross domestic product. To view the report, go to$File/IP%20and%20the%20U.S.%20Economy.pdf


These industries, which depend on protection of trademarks, copyrights, and patents, “drive innovation, they bolster growth, and yes, they create jobs,” Secretary of Commerce John Bryson said at a White House news briefing to release a “first-ever” report on the sector.


The report shows the sector is “more important than ever” and demonstrates “how important protection of intellectual property is to American jobs,” Bryson said.


The study, conducted by the department's Economics and Statistics Administration and Patent and Trademark Office, identified 75 intellectual property-intensive industries employing a total of 40 million workers, or nearly 28 percent of the workforce. That included 27.1 million workers who are employed directly and 12.9 million employed indirectly in “supply chain” industries.


The figures include self-employed workers, who make up a significant share of employees in certain industries, such as entertainment.


The study also found these industries contributed over $5 trillion to the economy or nearly 35 percent of GDP in 2010, while accounting for $775 billion in exports, or almost 61 percent of total U.S. merchandise exports.


AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, also speaking at the briefing, said the report shows “the profound importance of intellectual property to American living standards and our future.”


Thomas J. Donohue, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said U.S. innovators cannot create jobs without strong intellectual property protection, and that the chamber established its Global Intellectual Property Center five years ago to work with government officials, labor, and other parties “on this vital issue.”  The business trade group issued a similar but less comprehensive economic study in 2011, finding that the intellectual property industries employ about 19 million workers (172 DLR A-3, 9/6/11).

DOL Announces Solicitation for States To Apply for UI Demonstration Projects for Reemployment


The Labor Department's Employment and Training Administration April 19 issued guidance to states on the requirements and application procedures for unemployment insurance demonstration projects under the new Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act.

Unemployment Insurance Program Letter No. 15-12 spells out the criteria under which state workforce agencies may qualify to conduct a demonstration project that identifies innovative strategies for placing unemployed workers in good jobs.

The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act, enacted in February, extended the payroll tax cut and emergency jobless benefits through 2012 and made several changes to the unemployment insurance program (35 DLR A-11, 2/22/12). As a result of these reforms, up to 10 states will be able to use administrative funding or apply for a waiver to use unemployment insurance trust funds to implement programs that expedite the re-employment of unemployed workers, DOL said.

The statute's UI provisions mark the beginning of “the most significant reforms ever to help transform our unemployment system into a re-employment system,” White House National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling said in an April 19 media conference call. He said the statute would encourage the expansion of worksharing programs, increase job counseling for UI recipients, and help UI recipients who want to start their own businesses.

Approved states will conduct projects that demonstrate and evaluate measures to expedite the re-employment of workers who are eligible to receive unemployment compensation or projects that improve a state's effectiveness in carrying out its state law with respect to re-employment. Projects can provide wage subsidies for employer-provided training or direct disbursements up to the amount of the worker's weekly UI benefit to employers who hire UI recipients. Demonstration projects will last from one to three years.

“This is about giving those on unemployment more options to connect to the workforce,” Labor Secretary Hilda Solis said during the call. “We're looking at innovation” when approving a state's application, Solis said. She said the Labor Department hopes to review states' applications in 30 days.

The statute allows the labor secretary to let states temporarily waive some federal requirements as they implement their demonstration projects.


ETA Announces Availability of Career Pathways Technical Assistance Resources

The Employment and Training Administration has released Training and Employment Notice (TEN) 39-11, which provides technical assistance resources for the workforce system on Career Pathways.  To view TEN 39-11, go to:

Reemployment Bridge Institute Annual Conference to be held June 7 - 8

 Click here to register for conference

The 2012 Re-employment Bridge Institute 2nd National Bridging Business and Workforce Development Conference is a two-day event (Thursday afternoon and Friday morning). The Conference will be held at the Embassy Suites in Concord, North Carolina. The Conference focus is to bring together private business with workforce professionals who provide services to displaced workers; the unemployed and the underemployed in response to the identified needs of business. Opportunities are afforded to participants to remain current on innovative initiatives, idea exchange and networking with colleagues.

This Conference is targeted to anyone with an interest in learning best practices in bridging the needs of business with workforce development. We seek to learn from each other in order to better serve the unemployed and underemployed. In particular; persons from the business community, workforce development boards, chambers of commerce, economic development councils, job-link centers, state employment services, community colleges, four-year academic institutions,vocational rehabilitation, aging and adult services, corrections, the faith-based community and other community-based organizations are invited.

More information to follow in regard to registration, registration procedures, call for proposals, exhibit and sponsorship opportunities!

Questions should be forwarded to Erin Ploplis at  or 704-216-7202.

Want to share your success story of engaging businesses at our conference?  Click here for the Call for Proposals Guidelines.

The Healthcare Virtual Career Network Makes Its Debut

The U.S. Department of Labor today announced a new online tool that will allow current and prospective health care workers to explore more than 80 different occupations, identify local education and training programs, and tap into current job listings. Through the Virtual Career Network, users also can learn how previous experience such as military or on-the-job training can be applied toward a health care career, take free online courses and find sources of financial aid.

"Health care continues to be one of the bright lights in our improving economy," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "In order to sustain this positive momentum, we must do everything we can to ensure that our workforce is equipped with the skills and experience that meet the needs of this growing industry. This exciting new platform will help connect people with the knowledge and training they need to qualify for available health care jobs."

The Virtual Career Network, available at , is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration under the leadership of the American Association of Community Colleges, and is funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. To build the Virtual Career Network and provide initial content, the AACC collaborated with the National Association of Workforce Boards, the American Council on Education, the National Association of State Workforce Agencies, the DirectEmployers Association, the U.S. Department of Defense, Jobs for the Future, the American Dental Education's Explore Health Careers, XPAND, Education 2 Go and iSeek Solutions.

Designed as an open-source platform, the Virtual Career Network will encourage additional organizations to contribute content, and the model can be replicated to meet the needs of other industries.

Goodwill Industries International, the International Association of Jewish Vocational Services and SER-Jobs for Progress National have received additional grant funds to ensure that local training centers in nearly 100 sites across the U.S. have the appropriate number of computers, sufficient Internet connections and trained career coaches to make use of the Virtual Career Network and provide in-person support for job seekers.

HHS Releases New Online Work Readiness Tool
The Office of Family Assistance, at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), has just announced the national rollout of the Web-based Online Work Readiness Assessment (OWRA) tool, a comprehensive, targeted, online resource that can be used to improve the assessment of TANF participants and other customers.
The OWRA tool, available on the Welfare Peer Technical Assistance (WPTA) Network Web site at, includes an Intake Module to capture demographics, employment, and education information; an Assessment Module to assess an individual’s strengths and barriers; a Self-Sufficiency Plan to help the participants address their strengths and barriers; and a Reporting Module to enable organizational leadership to monitor performance.

Texas Back to Work Surpasses 25,000 Job Placements

Texas Back to Work, an initiative to help unemployed Texans rejoin the workforce, surpassed a milestone in February by helping to provide job seekers with more than 25,000 job placements, the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) announced last month. The Texas Back to Work initiative was awarded the 2010 Unemployment Insurance Innovation Award by the U.S. Department of Labor and the National Association of State Workforce Agencies.

The initiative provides up to $2,000 in hiring incentives to employers who hire and retain qualified out-of-work Texans. Qualified individuals include those who have received or exhausted unemployment benefits.

“The Texas Back to Work program is a great example of what happens when states have the freedom to craft innovative programs to address the needs of their workforce,” said TWC Chairman Tom Pauken. “Millions in new wages have been added to the state’s economy, and the initiative has reduced the demand on Texas’ Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund.”

Since the program began in March 2010, nearly 4,500 employers have received wage incentives for hiring qualified out-of-work Texans. The incentives help to offset costs associated with hiring and training new employees.

“By providing hiring incentives, Texas Back to Work has connected employers with qualified workers they might not have been able to hire otherwise,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Ronny Congleton.

Employers can participate in Texas Back to Work by contacting their local Workforce Solutions center. Local contact information for Texas Back to Work is available at Local workforce centers also provide employers with workforce recruitment assistance, pre-screening of qualified applicants and training programs.

What other innovative unemployment insurance initiatives do you know about?  Share them with us!

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