CHICAGO – Educational attainment is the best precursor to employability and life-long learning. That is why the Illinois Department of Employment Security provides several programs for students, teachers and adults that build, step-by-step, education and training plans to achieve job readiness and a living wage.
“Preparing for the working world begins in grade school, matures through middle and high school, and continues beyond graduation. Following any other path guarantees a life-long disadvantage,” IDES Director Jay Rowell said. “We often talk about a skills gap – the hole between a worker’s abilities and the requirements to do a job. That gap doesn’t appear during a recession; it begins when that worker is a child. These tools help students, as well as their teachers and parents, stop that from happening.”
At this time each year, the IDES updates its Career Information System (CIS) and its counterparts; CIS Junior for junior high school and ReNEW for adults. These programs identify a path to careers, the wages associated with specific job titles, and the education and financial commitment required to achieve both. There is guidance on apprenticeships, post-secondary options, and entrepreneurship for young-adults and adult career-changers. Highlights include:
My CIS Portfolio builds a career attainment plan from 6th-grade through college. It tracks skills development and work history. It saves resumes and sorts careers by skills, wages and growth trends.
Reality Check prompts students to calculate expenses for housing, transportation and entertainment. It then works backward to determine if the chosen career will support the lifestyle.
Kids and Careers: How Families Can Help Youth Succeed provides timelines from middle school through high school, including ACT or SAT preparation, financial aid tips, and job-readiness goals.
Jobseekers Success Mindset Training helps adults and career-changers create a plan to look for work, including goal-setting and expectations of employers.
Educators: call (217) 785-1728 for suggestions on how to incorporate these tools into your curriculum.