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O*NET in Action:  Oklahoma

"Using O*NET Data in Job Descriptions and Training Curricula"

Eastside, Workforce OK-Career Connection Center


Summary

Eastside, Workforce OK-Career Connection Center in Oklahoma City used O*NET to help employers. With "lots of small business driving Oklahoma's economy," this One-Stop Career Center makes small business customers a big priority. The Center's Business Services Development Specialist realized that many small employers do not have or use fully-developed job descriptions for positions in their establishments. He used the O*NET system to develop a series of appropriate job descriptions for one such customer. The job descriptions, in turn, were included in an overall design for a certified training program for welders.

How is O*NET being used?

A small metal fabrication business in Oklahoma City needed trained, experienced, certified welders. The company did not have detailed job descriptions, nor did it have a training program for welders. It had tried an outsource welding program offered through a local service provider. That program, however, did not meet the company's specific needs.

The company decided to design and conduct its own certified training for welders. It would be an on-site, on-the-job training program. Three Master welders currently on staff would run it. Among them, they had 75+ years of combined experience and knowledge of the company.

The Business Development Specialist believed that the O*NET system might be a resource to help in designing the program. He was already skilled in obtaining position descriptions from employers. With this customer's needs in mind, he found positions for welders, fabricators, and related occupations in the O*NET database. From sections under Details and Snapshot for each occupation, he selected items that provided potential content for job descriptions, such as Tasks and Work Activities, Skills, Abilities, and Work Context. He printed the selected items, organized the information to suit his customer's needs, and then cut and pasted the appropriate text into a job description. Several levels of job descriptions were written to the company's satisfaction.

The job descriptions were built into an overall design for a six-year training certification for a welding fabrication program. The training extends from Apprentice to Master status. The program has been certified by the local welders association. A next step may be to see if the program also meets Federal standards for registration under the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training.

Who is your target population?

Small businesses with fewer than 100 employees and less than $1 million in sales. Many of these establishments do not have adequate job descriptions to address their workforce recruitment and training needs.

What kind of results is O*NET helping you to achieve?

The metal fabrication business now has a fully-designed, approved, certified, in-house training program and detailed job descriptions for welders at several levels. They are collaborating with a willing local service provider to meet additional training and development needs. Coaching by the One-Stop Center continues on an ongoing basis with the customer.

The benefit for the One Stop Center is being able to satisfy real needs of small business customers. Usually they are entrepreneurs -- operators, not management, personnel, or HR specialists. They like to see results that show a real understanding of what they had in mind.

What are the related program initiatives?

Like other One-Stops, the Eastside Career Connection Center provides a range of services to employers and to workers seeking employment or career assistance. This particular initiative is part of its comprehensive services for business customers.

Is your product, program or service available for others to use?

Other One-Stop Centers could offer a similar service to small employers. To do so, staff need some knowledge of format, writing employment policies and writing job descriptions (including knowledge of reasonable accommodation, essential functions, etc). Knowledge of "thru-put" procedures and work processes in relation to jobs helps. Staff also can benefit from experience in asking questions to get solid position information from the customer. Familiarity with O*NET OnLine is needed to identify elements that apply to a particular job description. To view a copy of the template the Eastside Career Center used to prepare job descriptions

What other strategies make your product, program or service successful?

The key is talking and listening to the customers . . . not just for their needs, but listening to what they are saying. One sometimes has to listen between the lines. Many times the customers know what they want; they just don't know how to articulate it. Familiarity with resources like O*NET OnLine also helps you identify material that can help you satisfy a customer's needs.

Do you have other pertinent information?

A similar program is being designed for a home builders/construction association in Oklahoma City. It will include job descriptions, training and development identifiers, and profiles for various levels of needs. Other suggestions for using O*NET OnLine to help small businesses include: on-site demonstrations of how to enter and retrieve pertinent information; coaching in how to transfer the job information as it relates to one of their positions; or illustrations of how O*NET information can help a business client in planning employment strategy by adding new position descriptions and getting the job information on what their future needs may be.

Contact information.

Doyle Paden, Business Services Development 
Workforce Oklahoma - Career Connection Center
7401 NE 23rd Street 
Oklahoma City, OK 73141 
telephone: 405-713-2395 
FAX: 405-713-2348 
email: doypad@oklahomacounty.org


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