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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.

Occupation

2010 Statewide Employment

Annual Growth-Numeric
2010-2020

Annual Growth-Percent
2010-2020

Utah Median
Hourly Wage

Healthcare:
Surgical Technologist
       750 30 2.2

$17.13

Healthcare:
EMT/Paramedic
  1,860 100 3.5

$15.68

Mechanic/Repair:
Auto Mechanic
  5,650 270 2.2

$18.64

Mechanic/Repair:
HVAC Mechanic
  2,450 150 4.4

$19.27

Personal Care:
Cosmetologist
  6,270 290  2.8

$11.92

Protective Service:
Firefighter
  2,680 130  2.2

$12.72

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.

Occupation

Interest Code*

U S Employment

2010

Growth-Numeric

2010-2020

Growth-Percent

2010-2020

Nat’l Annual Median Wage (2011)

Education

Endoscopy Technician

RIC

202,000 65,800

Average

$30,790

1-2 years college

Histo-
technologist

RIC

169,000 52,100

Average

$57,010

Associate

Nuclear Equipment Operation Technician

RCI

7,000 33,400

Average

$68,030

Some college

Neuro-
diagnostic Technologist

RI

94,000 40,400

Faster than average

$38,080

Associate

Opthalmic Medical Technologist

RI

94,000 40,400

Faster than average

$38,080

1-2 years college

Surgical Technologist

RSC

94,000 33,900

Average

$40,950

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.

Occupation

2010 Statewide Employment

Annual Growth-Numeric

2010-2020

Annual Growth-Percent

2010-2020

Utah Median

Hourly Wage

 

Education/
Training

Administrative Services Manager      13,900            70

2.3

$34.00

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

2.5

$15.40

High School
+ OJT
Customer Service Rep      33,350        2,100

3.4

$12.80

High School
+ OJT
Funeral Service Manager          250            10

3.1

$27.50

Associate/
Apprentice
Lodging Manager          450            20

2.4

$24.70

High School
Office Clerk      26,370        1,150

2.6

$11.40

High School
+ OJT
Property/Real Estate Manager        2,510           100

1.9

$29.40

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.

Occupation

U.S. Employment
2010

Growth-Numeric
2010-2020

Growth-Percent
2010-2020

Annual Median Wage
Nat’l
Utah

Education

Landscape Architect

22,000

3,500

16.0

$63,240
$65,050

Bachelor’s

Landscape and Groundskeeping Worker

1,152,000

240,800

20.9

$23,410
$24,200

High School

Nursery and Greenhouse Manager

1,203,000

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

$64,660
NA

Associate +

Soil and Plant Scientist

16,000

2,000

12.1

$58,940
$54,490

Bachelor’s +

Supervisor/
Manager of Landscaping, Grounds

203,000

30,700

15.1

$42,050
$43,280

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
($75,650/year)
  Commercial pilots
($67,500/year)
  Air traffic controllers
($108,040/year)*
         
Elevator installers
and repairers
($70,910/year)
  Electrical and electronic repairers, powerhouse,
substation & relay
($65,230/year)
  Radiation therapists
($74,980/year)
         
Power distributors
and dispatchers
($68,900/year)
  Insurance appraisers, auto damage
($56,230/year)
  Nuclear medicine technologists
($68,560/year)
         
        Dental hygienist
($68,250/year)

 

*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

Career Highlight – Healthcare Support Occupations

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Nationally, Healthcare support occupations are expected to be the fastest growing occupational group through 2020. Home health aides account for the largest portion of jobs in this group, with 31 percent of the total by 2020.

The table below reflects a sampling of occupations that are projected to grow as fast as, or faster than average over 2010-2020. You can check this information, look at additional occupations, and find schools that offer related programs via UtahFutures.

Occupation

U S Employment 2010

Growth-Numeric

Growth-Percent

Annual Median Wage

Nat’l/Utah

Education

Dental Assistant      297,200       91,600       31% $33,470/$28,330

Certificate

Home Health Aide   1,017,700     706,300       69% $20,560/$19,770

< High School

Massage Therapist     153,700       30,900       20% $34,900/$30,960

Certificate

Medical Assistant     527,600     162,900       31% $28,860/$27,250

HS Diploma

Medical Transcriptionist       95,100         5,600         6% $32,900/$28,920

Certificate

Nursing Aide, Orderly, Attendant   1,505,300     302,000       20% $24,010/$22,320

Certificate

Occupational Therapy Assistant/Aide       36,000       14,800       41% $47,490/$37,050

Varies

Physical Therapist Assistant/Aide     114,400       51,100       45% $37,710/$30,785

Varies

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