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College & Career Training in Alaska

Wow!  COVID-19 is probably giving you more time to reflect on your current employment status.  Do you like what you do?  Do you have a postsecondary credential you’ve been interested in getting, or finishing?  Are you balancing your work life and home life well? Are you looking to move from a job to a career?  Maybe you are looking for a promotion, or you’re looking to provide an example of life-long learning to your kids.  Not sure where to start or how to make the right decisions for you?  ACPE and the Alaska Career Information System (AKCIS.org) has FREE tools to help you from every angle.

Where should I start?

Learn about yourself – take time to reflect on what you like and dislike about your current, and past, jobs.  Pivot those tasks and qualities you liked into other occupations.  They are transferrable skills – they worked in one situation, but transferrable skills can work in other options, too.

Take a couple of assessments to help you see patterns and consistencies in your interests and values.

  • Find out where your interests and personality traits can lead you by completing the Career Cluster Inventory or Interest Profiler assessments
  • Find out how your skills and workplace values might guide your choices with the SKILLS Inventory and Work Importance Locator assessments
  • Complete the Reality Check, a budgeting assessment, to see how your choices for lifestyle, length of continued education, Career Clusters of interest, and the Alaska community you live in can drive the career possibilities

Review your individual assessment results, or put the results together on the Combined Assessments Report to see which occupations have the most matches.  Still not sure?  Look at the Career Cluster(s) with the most occupations with the most matches.  Focus your research here.

Compare Occupations – Look up former occupations, as well as new occupations of interest.  Use the Compare tab to compare Skills and Abilities, Interests and Values, or Wage information for two occupations side by side on the screen.

Interested in a Field or Specific Occupation?

Assessments point you toward occupations that fit your interests, skills, and values.  What information can we find out by researching occupations in AKCIS?  A lot!

All occupations are sorted into 16 National Career Clusters, or groups of similar occupations and skills. Clusters are a good place to start when exploring career options, but even 16 can feel overwhelming to research.  Break up the information by topic and compare occupations side by side.

After you figure out your top cluster(s), navigate to an occupation that interests you and walk through information on the left menu of the Occupations screen.  These are helpful in planning your next steps:

  • Skills and Abilities – use these “bullet statement” starters to help write your resume.
  • Wages – Does your desired lifestyle require a certain rate of pay? The Reality Check assessment results can help here.  Knowing the range of pay when interviewing can keep you in the candidate pool, if they ask what wages you expect.
  • Programs of Study – Learn all you can about the program of study you are interested in – Certificate, Apprenticeship, Associate, Bachelors, Masters, et.  Starting with a focused program of study, and limiting program changes, will save you time and money on unnecessary courses.

Don’t know what/where to study?

Especially if you are finding yourself with extra time on your hands, going back to school might just be the thing you need to be qualified for the occupation you are aiming for.  The AKCIS Education Tab lists Alaska Schools, either by Type or Name, and Apprenticeships.

  • Apprenticeships are a great way to “earn while you learn.”
  • Programs of Study – If you know what you’d like to study, then you can find related occupations and schools offering that program of study.
  • School Sort – Search for schools using criteria that means something to you: programs of study offered, student body, admissions, academics or student services (academic, support of women and families, disability support, campus security, etc.)
  • Compare Schools – Compare the information reported for up to three schools at a time on the same screen.  Find the level of education that each school offers.

Not sure how to pay for college or training?

There are several ways to make postsecondary education and training available.  There are several programs, nationally and locally, helping adults just like you find the way to and through financial aid.  The AKCIS Education Tab can help you with this too with these tools:

  • Paying for School – Learn more about the many ways to afford postsecondary education either federally or through State of Alaska student loans, grants, and scholarships.  Find out more about applying for financial aid, including completing the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). The priority deadline for the 2020-2021 academic year is 30 June 2020.
  • Financial Aid Sort – This exploratory tool helps you find scholarships and other awards you may like to apply for based on your attributes and interests.  Use the Financial Aid Sort more than once to create lists based on different criteria.
  • Application Tracker – Track deadlines, award amounts, award status, any notes about who to contact and if the award is renewable for each of your scholarship applications.

Need a Plan?

The future may be uncertain, but the AKCIS Career Plan puts you in charge of your future.  The best way to predict your future is to plan for it. And NOW is that time!

The Career Plan tool will walk you through answering each of the big three person learning and career planning questions:

  • Who Am I?  Learn about yourself and career matching your background and interests.
  • Where Am I Going?  Explore and compare career clusters and occupations you want to pursue.
  • How Do I Get There?  Plan your education and employment paths using the assessment and sort results, favorites, Job Search and Job Success strategies, and Resume Creator entries saved in your My Portfolio.

 

About the Author

Julia Renfro

Julia Renfro

AKCIS Partnership Coordinator

 

A military BRAT turned military spouse, Julia likes traveling and meeting new people. Using Personal Learning & Career Plans (PLCPs), she works with students and families to plan futures that will help them enjoy life and their communities.

 

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