MARSHALL - If you are wondering what would be the best career for you and how do you go about getting training to acquire the skills for that position, there is a new website designed to help, said Pat Thomas, the coordinator for Adult Basic Education Southwest Minnesota.
The website is www.MyMnCareers.org and was launched this month.
"There's nothing like this in the nation," Thomas said. "We're the first. The idea came out of southwest Minnesota. The state is seen as a leader in career exploration resources via technology.
"This (website) plus www.swmncareers.com provide very good resources."
Swmncareers.com provides information about jobs, education and wages in southwest Minnesota.
"It's updated quarterly with new data," Thomas said.
GED test will have new look in 2014
By Karin Elton
MARSHALL - For anyone putting off getting their general equivalency degree until tomorrow - it's tomorrow.
The GED test is changing as of January 2014, said Pat Thomas, the coordinator for Adult Basic Education Southwest Minnesota. "It will be harder, more expensive and online," she said.
The GED credential is an alternative to a high school diploma. The test is comprised of five sections: reading, writing, mathematics, science and social studies.
"If you started the test and haven't completed it by November 2013, you'll have to start the whole thing over again," she said.
The test is altered to keep up with high school standards.
"They change the test about every 10 years," Thomas said. "The bar is raised, just like in k-12."
The more difficult test will require more studying, she said.
"I firmly believe that anyone who can pass today's test can pass the new one," she said. "More skills will be needed and it will require more studying."
In addition to a more challenging test, the entire test will now be taken online, which could be a problem for some people, she said.
"It requires a whole new set of skills that some of us don't have," Thomas said.
In addition, she said, the new test is expected to cost significantly more and will be administered by a private company, Pearson VUE.
Thomas urges people to get their diploma or GED and go on to some type of higher education.
"Your employability and lifetime earning power is reflected in the amount of education you have attained," she said.
For the new MyMnCareers.org website, Southwest ABE, St. Paul Public Schools ABE and WEST ABE received a $94,000 Otto Bremer Foundation grant to work with ISEEK, Minnesota's official resource for career exploration, education and training, and employment information, to develop the website.
The website is geared toward people who are English language learners, in the process of finishing high school or GED or have completed high school/GED and want to acquire post-secondary skills.
The site gives the same information to each group, but the literacy level is adjusted accordingly. Some text may be replaced with graphics and audio.
For example if you click on health careers and then click on home health aide, you would find that the "duties are caring for disabled or old people, helping with basic tasks. Some clean the home. Others shop for food. Some care for children.
The wages are $11.50 per hour on average. The training needed is short-term-on-the-job training (one month or less). The job outlook is excellent."
The information that is important to you can be easily printed out or saved to a personal file that you can set up.
The website can be used independently or as part of a classroom setting.
Thomas said it is more important than ever for people to further their education to reach their full potential.
She points to research that says by 2018, 70 percent of Minnesota jobs will require some education beyond high school.