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What’s Important for Success in Future Jobs?

ACT’s new career report provides customized guidance

IOWA CITY, Iowa—Choosing a career that fits your talents and interests can be a daunting task, especially for high school students and adult learners who want to explore career options that may not require a four-year degree. A new ACT report, The Condition of Career Pathway Readiness in the United States, can help.

The report features information on the skills individuals need to succeed in various careers and “career clusters”—groupings of occupations that can be used by education and training providers to help students in educational settings. Its aim is to open opportunities for job seekers and help employers identify high potential candidates within different career pathways.

“This report is a valuable tool for high school students and adult learners who know what skills they have but don’t know how they relate to various career paths,” said ACT Principal Research Scientist Mary Lefebvre. “Not only does it show what people need to know to be ready for 21st century careers, but it allows for deep career exploration based on skills and opportunities to fill skill gaps.”

Job seekers who’ve taken the ACT® WorkKeys® Assessments and earned an ACT® WorkKeys® National Career Readiness Certificate® (NCRC®) can compare their scores to the benchmark scores displayed in the report for various career clusters, within different educational levels. For example, a high school student interested in carpentry can compare their WorkKeys scores to the career pathway benchmarks for entry-level Architecture and Construction to understand the foundational skills required to succeed in that career cluster.

This type of career exploration is designed to help high school students and adults understand their career options based on their skills and determine the types of jobs available to them. The report also features the projected number of future job openings and salary information alongside the benchmarks for each of the top occupation openings. A public Tableau dashboard featuring data from the report can be accessed here.

The information presented in the report represent aggregate data on WorkKeys examinees in the US from June 2017 through July 2019. The three WorkKeys tests measure the essential foundational skills necessary for success in most jobs. Scores for each of the WorkKeys assessments are reported in “levels,” ranging from a base score of 3 to a high score of 7.

Career clusters were developed using data from O*NET and the National Career Clusters® Framework and career cluster benchmarks were estimated for each of the career clusters by aggregating job profiling data for all occupations in the US. Additionally, a skills gap analysis was conducted for WorkKeys examinees who met the benchmarks for a career cluster. More information about WorkKeys can be found here.

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About ACT

ACT is a mission-driven, nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people achieve education and workplace success. Grounded in 60 years of research, ACT is a trusted leader in college and career readiness solutions. Each year, ACT serves millions of students, job seekers, schools, government agencies and employers in the US and around the world with learning resources, assessments, research and credentials designed to help them succeed from elementary school through career.

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