News Update: Changes Coming to the GED - Lancaster: In Lancaster County there are an estimated 35,000* individuals... http://t.co/Ah1VdGQR0m
Changes Coming to the GED
Lancaster: In Lancaster County there are an estimated 35,000* individuals between 25 – 64 years old that do not have a high school diploma. Those individuals face a significant challenge gaining employment considering the job market has increasingly demanded workers have a high school diploma or Certificate of High School Equivalency (obtained by passing Graduate Educational Development tests).
Sheldon Esch, Business Services Representative, estimates that over 90% of jobs posted on JobGateway, the state's labor exchange website, require at least a high school diploma/GED.
The Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13 is a partner at the PA CareerLink providing GED testing, among other remedial services in reading and math. Since the IU13 began proctoring the GED test individuals were given a pencil and paper test in five subject areas to receive certification. However, this process is undergoing some significant changes in 2014. Here are a few of the outlined changes:
- Anyone that has completed one or more GED tests must complete ALL five tests by December 2013. Those not completing the tests prior to December 2013 are required to start the new process beginning in 2014 (no individual subject test scores will carry over to 2014). This applies to 1,800 individuals in Lancaster County.
- All GED tests starting January 1, 2014 will be Computer Based Testing.
- The 2014 GED test will consist of 4 subtests: Math (45% quantitative, 55% algebraic), Literacy (reading and writing), Science (40% life science, 40% physical science, 20% earth and space science), and Social Studies.
- The 2014 GED test will score two achievement levels, with the highest range being recognized as career and college ready.
There are six months left in the year for individuals to complete their GED using the current paper and pencil method, so we encourage anyone that has started the GED process to finish before December 2013. Attaining a GED is the first step in the road to a good job and developing a career path.
For more information about GED requirements and how to begin the process, please contact 717.606.1364 or visit the IU13 at the PA CareerLink.
Business Services Team
Lancaster: Lancaster County has over 12,000 employers providing a wide range of products and services. With 50% of the United States population residing within a five hundred mile radius, Lancaster is in an ideal location for many companies. Healthcare, Manufacturing, and Service are the sectors with the highest employment in the county. Manufacturing, health care, retail, business services, financial services, and logistics and transportation are sectors with large workforces in the County.
The Business Services Team (BST) at PA CareerLink serves at the primary connection point between employers and the PA CareerLink. Members of the BST foster relationships with employers in the region, keeping them informed on the many programs and services PA CareerLink offers and how they may benefit their company or organization.
- BST Helps Employers Fulfill Their Workforce Needs.
Each month several thousand individuals come through the doors of the PA CareerLink in Lancaster seeking their next career step. Many of those individuals are connected to the PA CareerLink through workshops, short-term trainings, unemployment compensation requirements, or intensive job search programs. The BST and case managers meet regularly to match job seekers with available employment opportunities. For example, if an employer is seeking a welder or an accounting professional, the BST team works to connect the employer with quality candidates, with no recruitment fee incurred. The BST also highlights graduates of CareerLink training programs to employers in the sector for which they are training.
- BST Assists In Spreading The Word About Workforce Needs.
Through the Department of Labor and Industry, the JobGateway database is available for employers to post job openings. This is a free service offered to employers across the Commonwealth. The BST assists employers in posting their open positions on the database with the job description and requirements as well as the maximum number of referrals an employer wants to accept. In addition, the BST helps to organize a large Job Fair twice a year in the spring and fall for employers to showcase their employment needs. These Job Fairs feature nearly 60 employers and have consistently drawn over one thousand job seekers with a diverse skill base.
- BST Proctors Testing For Employers.
The BST will proctor tests for employers that require WorkKeys testing to assess future employees or to promote current employees. They relay the test scores to the employer and will schedule interviews based on the employer's requests. For more information on the WorkKeys assessment tool, click here. The BST also proctors other assessments that a company may require.
The Business Services Team is connecting employers to job seekers throughout Lancaster County. The next time you are looking to hire, make your first call to the PA CareerLink.
Re-entry Customers - Striving for Success
Lancaster: In January 2012, the PA CareerLink of Lancaster County officially began to offer reentry Services to customers seeking employment. These services are available to men and women with a criminal background, whether the offenses were recent or 20-years prior. Reentry customers, like many other clients at the PA CareerLink, are seeking job training and employment. However, individuals with a criminal history often find additional barriers to employment, as well as societal stigmas, which make the road to employment more challenging.
Reentry services at the PA CareerLink were begun to help individuals with criminal records gain employment. Reentry Team Leader, Todd Blankenstein, comes to the PA CareerLink with 25+ years previous experience with the Lancaster County Probation department and has great conviction and passion in working with ex-offenders. He was recently joined in his efforts by Reentry Career Advisor Andrew Sheely. Todd and Andrew advocate for employment opportunities on behalf of the returning citizens.
To access reentry services, customers must attend a workshop entitled, Landing a Job with A Criminal Background. Participants are encouraged to complete Ready2Work, a workforce job readiness program at the PA CareerLink of Lancaster, which helps customers brush-up on their skills in Applied Mathematics, Locating Information, and Reading for Information. Upon completion of the WorkKeys standardized test of workforce skills, participants receive a Ready2Work certificate from the Lancaster County Workforce Investment Board and the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce. WorkKeys scores are good for five years and are now required by many companies locally and nationally.
Receiving the certificate opens several doors for customers; one door is to move forward with short-term occupational training. All short-term trainings are listed here.
One example of short term training is Introduction to Manufacturing. This course gives participants a two-day OSHA safety training and two weeks of half-day class work, which incorporates blueprint reading. The course is taught by Nick Russo of Russo Consulting. Nick relays that "the blueprint portion gives the student an edge over many people. For years having the capability to read a print wasn't important, but today that has changed."
Equipping a reentry customer with the National Career Readiness Certificate and short-term training prepares them for the job market. As stated by Andrew, "when you work with people who have a criminal background, success, of any kind, is vital. Whether they find that success by completing a GED test, or a Pre-Employment training program, success will keep them engaged and moving forward on the right path. That is what we strive for at the PA CareerLink."
Back L-R: Re-Entry Career Coach Todd Blankenstein, Michael McKinney, Marc Palmer, Harry Philpot, Patricia Shirer, Francis Wilson, Chris Hertzog and Julie Zug.
Missing from Photo: Tommy Hills and Instructor Nick Russo, Russo Consulting
Anyone interested in learning more about the opportunities at the PA CareerLink, may contact 717-509-5613 x221 or 717-391-3570 (TTY) for enrollment information.
It's no secret that job searching has taken to the internet. Most employers have gone the way of online job application collection and emailed resume submissions. Navigating this technical job search method can feel impersonal, as you hit "send" and rely on your flat documents to communicate the full breadth of your experience and qualifications. Given the current prominence of the internet in job searching, it is important to have a solid résumé and an understanding of job search engines (technology used by those websites you use to find the jobs).
We will delve more into the nuances of a résumé in our next article, but for now keep in mind the résumé is your opportunity to sell yourself. Make sure the résumé is selling your skills and work-related accomplishments; poor grammar will hinder the sale.
Navigating the world of online job search engines and job boards can be daunting and lead you to spending an inordinate amount of time lost in cyber-world. To boil down the job search world into a more palatable format, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry has developed a website for job-matching. JobGateway, the name for this website, is a user-friendly system for publishing your job experience and presenting it in a standard format to employers.
1. Create a profile. Be sure to use capitalization and good grammar as employers notice these things and mistakes can quickly derail your chances.
2. Create your job preferences. This will enable employers to search your profile for skills that match their open positions.
3. Check the box. When conducting a search of the jobs on JobGateway, try a search where you check the box for "Only display jobs from registered employers:" These are employers that are verified by the PA CareerLink Business Services Team and there are a number of reasons why this is a helpful way to focus your search-
- When this box is not checked you are receiving job postings from a variety of job boards, which have not been verified by the Business Services Team. When applying for these "unverified" jobs, you will leave the secure JobGateway website and be directed to the website of the job board posting the position. While the vast majority of these postings are legitimate positions, only the Registered Employer positions have been verified by our Business Services Team.
- Furthermore, many of the positions we post are with companies that we have a working relationship with and JobGateway may be the only site where the position is posted.
- Finally, because the system limits the viewable open job postings to 500, running a general search in Lancaster County without checking the box will capture so many open positions that it will usually only allow you to view jobs that have been posted within the last five to eight days. This makes it very likely that you are missing some of our recent postings from employers ready to hire! Checking the box ensures that you will see all of our postings from registered employers.
Creating your JobGateway profile is just one of many ways to begin your job search. As we have mentioned in earlier articles, networking, in addition to applying through online job boards, is key to finding your next job. Attend a Career Planning Seminar to learn about the Job Search Center program at the PA CareerLink, which highlights effective methods for networking your way to your next job.