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Archive for the ‘College and Career Ready’ Category

Career Highlight – Summer Jobs

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

A summer job is the ideal opportunity to apply the technical skills you’ve been learning through Career and Technical Education, but also to learn those critical “soft skills” that you may have heard about. Here are six tips to get you started.

  1. Check with your school counselor for job search assistance – like résumé writing help, letters of reference, and even local job listings.
  2. Tell everyone you know that you’re looking for a summer job! Tell all your friends and their parents, and have your parents tell their friends. This is called “networking,” and if you are specific (and honest) about the kind of job you’re looking for and the skills you have to offer, you’ll have a whole army of people promoting you with potential employers.
  3. Be easy to find. Your “army” needs to be able to contact you in at least a couple of ways – phone, email, social media; keep in touch.
  4. In addition to looking at job listings online and in newspapers, start walking! Looking around as you walk through your neighborhood, the mall, sports arenas, parks and restaurants – and go ahead and submit an application in person, if you can.
  5. Whether you have a formal interview or simply have a conversation with the person who is hiring, make sure you appear neat and clean, and are ready with clear and concise answers about why you’ll make a good employee.
  6. Say thank you. Say it to everyone who is helping you look for a job, and be sure to put it in writing after a job interview.

One last tip; if you don’t find a paying job, consider an unpaid internship or volunteer position – especially if you can find something that is related to your career interests. Paid or unpaid, working gives you an edge today and in the future!

For more information on what Utah employers want, visit: http://www.schools.utah.gov/cte/documents/pathways/WhatUtahEmployersWant.pdf.

Tribute to a CTE Teacher: Mr. Flores, you will be missed

Monday, March 11th, 2013

By Hailee Anderson,
Student, West Jordan Middle School

Mr. Flores (also known as Mr. Flowers) was a well-loved teacher. He was a Career and Technical Education teacher at West Jordan Middle School who recently died of cancer. The entire staff and every student – not just the ones in his classes – were very upset about it. We will miss him so much!

My favorite thing about Mr. Flores was his smile. His smile could brighten anyone’s day. He also had a great attitude about teaching. Most teachers just want you to learn stuff, but Mr. Flores would put a twist on every assignment to make it more fun and interesting. He loved his students and wanted them to succeed in their learning. He would encourage us to do our best in everything, and did it with a smile, patience and kindness. I never heard him raise his voice to any student.

I learned a lot from Mr. Flores. We created PowerPoint presentations, we learned the parts of a computer, and we learned how to properly type on the keyboard. Mr. Flores made sure that every student did their best and learned new skills. We had a lot of fun with the assignments. For example, we created PowerPoint presentations on various types of fruit. When it was our turn to present, we brought samples of the fruit for everyone. He always thought of ways to have fun but still get things done. 

Probably the most important things I learned from Mr. Flores were patience, kindness, and a love for learning.

West Jordan Middle School students wanted to create something to show their appreciation for Mr. Flores so they wore purple, red and pink and the entire student body formed a huge heart on a field outside the school. LifeTouch took this photograph from high up on a crane to give to his family. You can view the Fox13 story on Mr. Flores here.

Sales Occupations

Monday, March 4th, 2013

A sales occupation can be a good career choice for people with varying interests, since just about every product needs someone to take it from producer to buyer. For example, if you love science, you might enjoy working as a sales representative for scientific or technical products. If you enjoy construction, you might excel as a building materials representative. Not all sales occupations are high paying, but the table below reflects a number of sales occupations in which workers earn higher than the national median ($16.27/hour).

In high school, you can learn more about sales by participating in a Marketing Pathway. Beyond high school, one of the best ways to get started in a sales occupation – especially those that don’t require a Bachelor’s degree – is to work for a company that provides training for new representatives or agents.  Beware of job offers that sound too good to be true, or one that has a complicated pay scale based solely on sales. You should check out prospective employers visiting their websites, or the website of the local Better Business Bureau. Read more about sales occupations in the Occupational Outlook Quarterly.

Jump Start Your Career; Complete a Certificate!

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) U. S. schools awarded more than one million certificates in 2010-11, making certificates more popular than every other postsecondary education option except bachelor’s degrees. People usually earn a certificate to prepare for a specific occupation, but these occupations may provide entry into work environments that support further professional growth. Because certificates typically take less than a year to complete, a certificate is a fast track option to prepare for various occupations in demand in the labor market today. The most popular certificate programs are in healthcare, mechanic and repair technicians, and personal or protective services. The table below includes sample occupations within each of these areas. Read more about certificate training and associated occupations in the Occupational Outlook Quarterly.


2010 Statewide Employment

Annual Growth-Numeric

Annual Growth-Percent

Utah Median
Hourly Wage

Surgical Technologist
       750 30 2.2


  1,860 100 3.5


Auto Mechanic
  5,650 270 2.2


HVAC Mechanic
  2,450 150 4.4


Personal Care:
  6,270 290  2.8


Protective Service:
  2,680 130  2.2


Source: Utah Department of Workforce Services

Lesser Known Occupations in Healthcare

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

Healthcare offers some of the best opportunities in the economy, but includes workers in many occupations besides the familiar doctors, nurses and CNAs. Healthcare occupations require varying levels of education/training. Some workers are directly involved with patients, and others work behind the scenes. There are some workers in healthcare facilities that aren’t specifically classified as healthcare workers – e.g., Hospital Receptionist, Janitors, Food Service Managers – but employment in this industry often translates into better wages even for workers in these occupations.

The table below reflects some lesser known occupations in healthcare. For more detailed information about these occupations, and others in which you may be interested, visit UtahFutures. Completing related Health Science Career Pathways is a good way to explore these occupations or to prepare for further study in college.


Interest Code*

U S Employment






Nat’l Annual Median Wage (2011)


Endoscopy Technician


202,000 65,800



1-2 years college



169,000 52,100




Nuclear Equipment Operation Technician


7,000 33,400



Some college

diagnostic Technologist


94,000 40,400

Faster than average



Opthalmic Medical Technologist


94,000 40,400

Faster than average


1-2 years college

Surgical Technologist


94,000 33,900



1-2 years college

*For descriptions of the interest codes included here – consistent with Holland Codes and Utah Career Fields – visit O*NET Online.
Sources: U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (national), Utah Department of Workforce Services (state)

Occupations in Business

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Did you know that Business is the most popular field of study in college? Bachelor’s degrees in Business are awarded to almost twice as many graduates as those awarded to students in the second most popular field, Social Sciences/History! A business background is an advantage when preparing for promising careers across a variety of industries. Coursework can include business strategy, statistics, accounting, finance, and operations management. A business education is valued by employers, too, judging by the 16 percent higher salaries paid to entry level workers with business degrees vs. the average salaries of workers with degrees in other majors.

The business occupations listed below are examples of opportunities available to workers with some preparation beyond high school, but less than a bachelor’s degree. Workers in these occupations are often promoted within their organizations as they learn new skills through work experience (wk. exp.) or on the job training (OJT). Employers may even invest in additional formal education for successful workers in these occupations to allow them to complete a Bachelor’s or other degrees/certifications that will enable workers to keep moving up the ladder.


2010 Statewide Employment

Annual Growth-Numeric


Annual Growth-Percent


Utah Median

Hourly Wage



Administrative Services Manager      13,900            70



High School
+ Wk. Exp.
Bookkeeping/Account Clerk      15,010           540



High School
Customer Service Rep      33,350        2,100



High School
Funeral Service Manager          250            10



Lodging Manager          450            20



High School
Office Clerk      26,370        1,150



High School
Property/Real Estate Manager        2,510           100



High School

Source: Utah Department of Workforce Services


Work to Help People

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

Human service workers serve people who need various kinds of help. These workers create plans to meet individual circumstances. Human service workers may be employed by either public or private agencies or organizations – such as employment agencies, food banks, legal assistance centers, disaster relief organizations, and others. Their clients might be elderly or young, or might have a physical disability or mental illness, or may be struggling with a personal problem or challenging situation. Human service workers coordinate services to ensure that clients recover and maintain well-being.

The demand for human service workers will increase as the population grows. However, workers in many of these occupations may earn less than others with similar levels of education. The rewards of this work are more likely to be found in the good feelings that come from helping others. Sometimes people are drawn to the human service field by overcoming a difficulty of their own. Their own experiences give them an edge in developing positive relationships with their clients. Other important worker characteristics include:

  • interpersonal communication skills, 
  • both creative and
  • analytical thinking skills,
  • the ability to work on a team,
  • patience.
You can start preparing for a career in human services by participating in the Family and Human Services Pathway in high school, including involvement in FCCLA. Many human service workers have postsecondary training as well, with degrees in human services, counseling, social work or psychology. The level of responsibility you have in a human services job is often decided by your education level, but work experience is also important.

Review specific human service occupations and find schools that offer related programs using UtahFutures.

Occupations in the Green Industry

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

Let’s talk about the opportunities specifically related to growing flowers, greenery, trees, and vegetables, and planting them in the landscape. (This is the more narrow “green industry” commonly referenced, rather than the more broad “green jobs” designation that you might find in O*NET that includes occupations in additional industries such as Energy, Transportation, and Manufacturing.) The U. S. Department of Agriculture tracks activity in the green industry, collecting information from landscaping operations, garden centers, sod farms, pest control businesses, and other workplaces that employ workers to manage landscapes and plants.

The table below reflects a sampling of occupations in the green industry. You can check this information, look at additional occupations, and find schools that offer related programs via UtahFutures.


U.S. Employment



Annual Median Wage


Landscape Architect






Landscape and Groundskeeping Worker





High School

Nursery and Greenhouse Manager


O*NET ‘Bright Outlook’ designation, though numbers show decline


Associate +

Soil and Plant Scientist





Bachelor’s +

Manager of Landscaping, Grounds





Associate +

Sources: U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (national), Utah Department of Workforce Services (state)

Occupations Related to Electric Vehicles

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

Did you know that electric vehicles actually outsold gas-powered vehicles in the early 1900s? Now they’re making a comeback! Electric vehicles are better for the environment, and – given the rising cost of gas prices – might also be more affordable over the long run. This industry employs a variety of workers in Research, Engineering, Manufacturing, and Maintenance. For example, there are research scientists who are focused on improving battery technology, including a group at Utah State University who just received a $3 million grant to improve electric vehicle battery performance. Chemical, electrical, industrial and mechanical engineers all play a role in the design, development, and testing of electric vehicles and the various systems involved in making those vehicles run efficiently. The largest concentration of U. S. workers in electric vehicle manufacturing occupations (assemblers, CNC tool operators, and machinists) is in the Great Lakes region, but workers that maintain electric vehicles are needed all across the country. No matter what the occupation, people who work on electric vehicles require specialized training.

You can learn more about these occupations, and find schools that offer related programs via UtahFutures. You might also be interested in this article in the Occupational Outlook Quarterly: Electric Vehicle Careers: On the Road to Change. And – just for fun – learn about an electric vehicle company on “our side” of the country: Tesla Motors. Tesla’s Chief Technical Officer got his start in the industry at age 14 when he discovered a discarded golf cart and re-built it!

Photo courtesy of Tesla Motors

A Well-Paid Job Without a Bachelor’s Degree?

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

Are you looking for a well-paying job? What if you are looking to start your career as quickly after graduating from high school as possible? Contrary to what you may have heard, you have some great options! High school students who combine their Pathway coursework with related work experience or on-the-job training, or who complete a certificate, other non-degree award, or an associate degree will have the training they need to compete in 80 well-paying occupations (over $50,000/year) that require less than a bachelor’s degree for entry. The following is a list of the top three highest paid occupations by education level. You can check out the full list – and a lot of other great information – in the Summer 2012 edition of the Occupational Outlook Quarterly.  

High School   Postsecondary Non-degree   Associate Degree
Nuclear power reactor operators
  Commercial pilots
  Air traffic controllers
Elevator installers
and repairers
  Electrical and electronic repairers, powerhouse,
substation & relay
  Radiation therapists
Power distributors
and dispatchers
  Insurance appraisers, auto damage
  Nuclear medicine technologists
        Dental hygienist


*Air Traffic Controller was the 5th highest paid occupation in Utah according to Utah Department of Workforce Services (“Utah’s Top 20”).

Sources: U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Utah Department of Workforce Services