Suppose, for a minute, that you've just graduated from high school and you have no idea what you want to do with the rest of your life — a very real roadblock that many students face.
Houston Community College has an amazing new online tool that can help. It's called Career Coach, it's free and anybody can use it.
Career Coach can tell you almost everything you need to know about numerous professions in the Houston area, ranging from aeronautical engineering to computer programming to nursing. It tells you what kind of jobs are available in those fields, what they pay and what kind of training you need to get one.
The goal is to help students explore both the local employment data and HCC's program offerings.
Here's how it works: Log on to the Career Coach website. The first page asks the user to click on one of three query categories: "What kind of job are you looking for?," "Top Jobs" or "Select a major you are interested in."
Career Coach unfortunately doesn't cover a country-wide area, but it does include jobs ranging from 25 miles to 100 miles away. Users can look at four more factors: Earnings, employment trends, education and training and job postings.
A sample search for "Newspaper reporter, editor" positions within a 100-mile area yielded interesting results. As expected, the earnings box didn't show a lot of promise — the entry-level wage for reporters was listed as $11.78 per hour and the median wage was $17.59 hourly.
But the job postings box was more encouraging.
In spite of the fact that newspapers are folding and laying off employees all over the country, HCC's Career Coach listed 29 local jobs for reporters. The listings include reporting jobs at both the Galveston Daily News, circulation 25,000, and the Beaumont Enterprise, a Hearst newspaper with more than 100,000 readers.
The site also includes a resume builder tool, which shows users how to type in personal and professional information and create a properly-formatted document online.
Career Coach was created by HCC in partnership with Economic Modeling Specialist, Intl., an Idaho-based organization that provides in-depth and current local employment date. The goal is to help students explore both the local employment data and HCC's program offerings.
"This tool provides real time data on career outlooks and projections," says Dr. Madeline Burillo, HCC associate vice chancellor of workforce. "We are helping the economy by successfully responding to the region's workforce and business development needs."