Albany, NY (June 18, 2010) -
At a news conference at the City School District of Albany's Stephen and Harriet Myers Middle School today, State Labor Commissioner Colleen C. Gardner promoted CareerZone, the department's award-winning online career development tool. The web site, at www.careerzone.ny.gov, features a special Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) portal for students to explore many careers that are expected to be in high demand. Commissioner Gardner was joined by Superintendent of Schools Raymond Colucciello, Ed.D., Albany Public Library Executive Director Carol Nersinger, and teachers and administrators from the school district.
"The perfect time to begin planning for a future career is during middle school," declared Commissioner Gardner. "Even though it's almost summer vacation, students need to think ahead to make sure they take the high school courses they need to enter post-secondary schools and succeed in the career of their choice."
"There's no question that today's youth face a tough economic climate," Commissioner Gardner continued. "CareerZone is a valuable tool that can give them an edge as they prepare to enter a competitive job environment, and it's free. We want them to begin to think like workers and develop a ‘worker identity' early on. If they focus their studies on the subjects they need in order to succeed in the job market, they will be more successful when they leave school."
Nearly one million New Yorkers access CareerZone each year in the classroom and at home. The site offers direct access to in-depth career and education information for more than 800 occupations, including job descriptions, estimated wages and the job outlook for each occupation. The special STEM portal, found at www.careerzone.ny.gov/stemventure, features a video application that lets students create their own avatars and explore a variety of STEM careers.
Students can search and explore the CareerZone database by career interests, by career clusters, or by wages and educational level. More than 400 occupations have short video clips that demonstrate people on the job. This gives a young person a glimpse of the workplace and the daily tasks performed.
The web site also offers a new budgeting tool, designed to give students a "reality check" by comparing the cost of living in various cities and regions with the estimated wages of a typical worker in their chosen career.
"We strongly encourage educators across the state use CareerZone as part of their curriculum," said Commissioner Gardner. "We want students to get excited about the world of work. Then, they'll get excited about school and they will want to learn."
"I urge students to spend some time this summer visiting the CareerZone web site," she continued. "If they don't have a computer at home, the public library is the place to go. There, kids can get on the Internet and go to CareerZone; plus they can read and enjoy the books on their summer reading list."
"Sometimes it can be hard for middle-school students to see the connections between their classroom work and the opportunities that will be available to them in high school, college and their careers," Dr. Colucciello said. "CareerZone is an excellent tool that takes advantage of cool new technology to make it easier for young people to make those critical connections, and to begin to envision the ways that education can help prepare them for success in life."
"The public library is a wonderful place for students to research future careers by using our computers, reading about the latest trends and borrowing relevant materials, all for free," Nersinger said. "Albany Public Library has seven libraries throughout the city - five of them brand new - that are chock full of great resources for students. We welcome everyone to make use of all that we have to offer."
"I applaud the New York State Department of Labor for establishing such a useful tool for our young people," said Albany Mayor Gerald D. Jennings. "In addition, I strongly encourage our students to take full advantage of what this web site has to offer. As our future leaders, it is critical that they are fully and appropriately prepared for life after school."
Since the launch of CareerZone, nearly 770,400 middle and high school students have created career portfolios hosted on the web site. These portfolios are tied to the State Education Department Career Development and Occupational Studies (CDOS) learning standards.
Nearly any career-related question can be answered on the web site, including links to college exploration, planning information and real job openings. CareerZone is linked directly to Job Central, a national job database. After selecting an occupation from the lists within CareerZone, students may access Job Central to view openings across New York State.
CareerZone portfolio accounts are free to users. The account is a place to store results of work interests, skills and values assessments. Youth can explore and save information about their jobs and colleges of interest. These interactive career portfolios serve as a basis for creating resumes, documenting career plans and helping make decisions for the future.
For more information about CareerZone and career planning, visit the Department of Labor's web site at www.labor.ny.gov.