"Workforce Education at Green River was VERY instrumental in allowing me to go back to school, and I'm grateful for all the assistance I received and continue to receive." - Genie L, Green River Student

"Make sure you talk to Workforce Education...They can help in many ways to make things go smoothly and make sense." - Chris S, Green River Student

"Workforce Education...will embrace you and lend a helping hand with open hearts." Elsie Q, Green River Student

"Workforce Education has been there for me since day one!" - Jenny S, Green River student

Jun 28, 2012

Career Planning Q and A

Josh Staffieri, M.S.
Here in Workforce Education, we meet lots of students who want to attend Green River, but don't know what they want to study. To make a career planning decision like this involves gathering information.

For example, students need to figure out if their strengths and interests align with a particular degree. They also need to know what kinds of jobs a given degree will prepare them for, and if those jobs pay livable wages. There are a lot of different career planning tools out there to help students find the answers they need. To talk about some of those career planning tools, please welcome Green River's resident Educational and Career Planning guru, Josh Staffieri.

Hi Josh. Welcome to the blog. Let's say we have a new student walk onto campus. She wants to train for a new occupation because her former job doesn't pay enough. She has never been to college, and doesn't know where to begin or how to go about deciding on what degree or certificate to pursue. Where's a good starting point for a student like this?

JOSH: The student has a number of options. First off, she could stop by the Career & Advising Center in LC 126 to schedule an appointment with a career planner, and to get information on a number of different career assessments that we offer here at the college (keep in mind, the folks in Workforce Education can sometimes pay for a student to take a professional career assessment).

I'd also encourage new students to review the list of GRCC's Professional Technical programs. Just like when you visit a restaurant, one has to order from the menu and the list of programs is GRCC's menu. And even if GRCC doesn't offer the type of program the student may be looking for, there are 33 other community colleges, many of which are in the area. For more information about programs at other schools, visit: CheckOutACollege.com.

What are some tools you can recommend to help students find wage information on jobs they are interested in training for?

JOSH: There are a number of great websites that provide labor market information (i.e. salary, employment outlook, educational requirements) and so choosing one is not easy. Here are a few we recommend to students:
  • O*NET Online. Provides detailed reports on different careers.
  • MyNextMove.org. Offers quick data on wages, salaries, and related employment info.
  • Careerbridge.wa.gov. Explores careers, views job trends, and helps locate educational programs throughout the state.
Are there any other career planning tools you would like to speak about?

JOSH: Aside from researching programs and jobs online, I always encourage students to first test drive their potential career. For example, before purchasing a vehicle, it's normally a good idea to test drive it. You want to ensure the vehicle works and if you're comfortable driving it. Jobs are no different! It might look like a good job (good pay, strong employment outlook) but how will you know if it's truly a good fit until you talk to someone doing the work (via information interview) or better yet, observe someone doing the work (via job shadow).

A simple way to find people performing the job you have an interest in is to ask your family and friends if they know anyone working in the type of job or related field. You would be surprised who others know that you don't. You can also enhance your networking circle through the world's largest professional social networking website, LinkedIn.com. It's free to join and gives you the opportunity to connect with literally millions of people online in a safe and professional manner.