A new database using state and federal jobs data to provide specific career and wage information will help fill in gaps for Minnesota students, career seekers and employers as funding for a similar resource dries up.
The Minnesota Department and Economic Development developed a “career profile tool,” a searchable database that allows users to see wages, demand and regional growth for virtually every job in the state. Lawmakers in 2013 asked the agency to mold its expansive labor data into something more accessible and useful.
In particular, the free portal tells users how much a particular job pays, whether it’s enough to keep up with the cost of living in each of Minnesota’s 13 economic development regions, what education it requires and what day-to-day tasks might be.
It also forecasts job openings over the next decade and lists similar occupations, and it links users to a job bank where they can apply for open positions.
“Career Profile will be the go-to resource for young people who are trying to decide on a career path or for experienced workers who are thinking about switching careers,” said Oriane Casale, assistant director of DEED’s Labor Market Information Office.
Employers can also tap into the tool to gauge the wage landscape and appetite for workers in their specific corner of the marketplace.
The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system runs a separate online career-search tool, ISEEK, but that service is in limbo as funding tightens. Several agencies that had partnered with MnSCU on the project pulled out funding, reducing its budget to roughly one-third of its original amount, Casale said.
Without the new DEED tool, the state would risk losing — or at least stripping down — a resource bridging workers and prospective employers.
“We just couldn’t let that functionality slide,” Casale said.
Unlike ISEEK, the career profile tool doesn’t offer online career assessments, though DEED has them at its nearly 50 workforce centers around the state. In general, though, the new career portal is a more comprehensive one designed to stay that way as market dynamics shift.
The portal will automatically update as federal and state agencies gather fresh data. For most fields, that means new information annually or every two years, but some will be updated more frequently.
DEED quietly posted the tool to its website a couple of weeks ago, but will make a more public push to raise awareness moving forward. The effort will start with presentations for its career counselors around the state and will spread to MnSCU and other education outfits.
In the education community, the tool could help students — and their parents — plan better and avoid missing opportunities, Minnesota Department of Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius said.
“This tool will not only provide educators with the opportunity to share rich information on jobs, earning potential and market, but will also open many possibilities to new careers they may not have known,” she said in a statement.