On December 8, EMSI’s chief innovation officer Rob Sentz held a webinar to introduce the Find Your Calling Initiative. Designed to help students, parents, and educators, Find Your Calling will be a major step in closing the information gap about how education and careers are connected.
If you didn’t have the chance to attend, you can see the webinar here. To get involved, please contact us today!
At the end of the webinar, we heard a huge number of questions from participants who wanted to know more about how Find Your Calling works and how they could get involved. We’ve gathered those questions here to give you an overview of the ins and outs of FYC.
1. How long will it take students to use FYC?
A student can click through the site, see accurate local data, and get in touch with someone at a real college about a real program in just a couple of minutes. Of course, there are a lot of possibilities in the tool, so we won’t be surprised if people spend some time looking around.
2. Can they really make a major life decision—like choosing what career to pursue, and where—in two minutes?
Career and education decisions are massive, so generally, the answer is no. Our goal is to deliver an experience that gets students’ attention and equips them (and their parents) with the information they need to take a smart next step. Using the contact information provided for officials at your school, students and parents can start a great conversation with you about what to do next.
3. How will you market the site? Who is your target audience, and how are you going to communicate this to them?
Our target audience for Find Your Calling is high school students, a group that has traditionally struggled to make good decisions about their future and their education. But we also want to reach out to parents since they are heavily involved in choosing and paying for their children’s college. We want them to know they’re making a good investment in their children’s futures. To reach these folks, we will work with our parent company Career Builder to utilize their massive database of people seeking better careers. We also hope to get FYC in front of lots of young people via our partnerships with youth-serving organizations.
4. Is this aimed at two- and four-year schools?
Both. Career Coach and FYC tend to be for those post-secondary institutions with occupation-oriented education and training and/or those institutions that need to help people understand the connection between those programs and careers. Just think about those schools that offer education related to health care, IT, accounting, engineering, and the ever-expanding range of professional careers that require specific education and training…
5. Will students have to pay for FYC or register on the site when they visit?
FYC is free for students and they are not required to register; we want them to get involved immediately and get through the entire process quickly. However, our end goal is for students to contact schools. We would therefore encourage them to submit their contact info so that you can get in touch. And we could see the need for registration eventually arising as FYC develops.
6. Will FYC motivate students with factors besides high wages?
Wages are a big aspect of any given career, of course; however, as the name Find Your Calling suggests, the biggest point of the site is to motivate students with the goal of finding work that is personally fulfilling. Throughout the assessment process, we’ve seen that the combination of earnings and personal interest is a good place to start when helping high school students. They genuinely want to know who they are and what career suits them, not simply which job pays the highest. That’s why FYC’s personal assessment is an essential step in motivating students.
7. Can you include one-year certificate and GED programs along with two-year and four-year degrees?
8. If a student chooses the two- or four-year option, do the results change based on their selection?
Yes. We would use the student’s selection as a sorting criteria so that they are shown opportunities relating to their chosen education level.
9. What if students don’t know what’s involved in a given occupation, such as logistician?
We are developing a body of online content which students can click through in order to learn more about the careers that match their gifts and personality. The content includes occupation profiles and interviews with real people who work in various occupations.
10. Can I look in a regional area versus a specific county or city? What if I’m in a rural region with a large catchment area?
Every institution will appear to students within a default radius, which will be fairly wide. However, if you’re in a special situation, we may be able to work with you to develop a solution.
11. How would the site work for a multi-college system?
With our product Career Coach, we’ve had greatest success when we work with each campus individually, since it creates the simplest experience from a user perspective. That said, we work with multi-college systems to find the best solution so that the education and training offered shows up in the right spots.
12. What if my school doesn’t have an admissions office to answer individual student questions?
We would just want to work with you to determine who tends to be the main point of contact for students and parents who have questions about the education you offer.
13. How often is the data in Find Your Calling and Career Coach updated?
We update our datasets every three months, the most frequent timetable possible with the various sources we use. The job posting information is updated more frequently as it relates to the job ads posted by employers.
14. How can workforce investment boards support this effort?
If a workforce board offers occupation-specific training, we can certainly work to feature this. If a workforce board collaborates with an education provider, we can work to feature those providers. We would love to discuss this with WIBs. Please contact us to discuss further.
15. If our college is interested, how can we get involved? Can we put Find Your Calling on our website?
The best way to get involved is to work with Career Coach. Career Coach is the tool that we would place on your website and train your staff to use so that you can explore education and career possibilities with parents and students when they contact you. FYC can’t be placed on your website, but it will be freely available on the web as a way to draw students into the schools that can help them on their way to a fulfilling career.
16. What is the cost if the college already uses Career Coach? What if they don’t? Are these costs the same for nonprofits?
Because they’re designed to work together, a Career Coach subscription includes having your data added to Find Your Calling at no extra charge. If you have questions about pricing and how to get involved, please contact Rob Sentz.
17. Will you list only the colleges that agree to join?
No; we will use elements of IPEDS data top provide a basic listing for every institution in the country so that users can see all the options. We will, however, feature the schools that do join because these are the schools with whom we will have gone through the program-to-occupation mapping process. Once we have that information, we can more confidently point students and parents to those institutions that we trust will provide great education. We certainly prefer using the current data from the college about programs, so map if you can!
18. Can you describe the mapping process?
Over the course of about a month (sometimes more, sometimes less), our team will work with you to gather data about your programs and to see how you envision these programs connecting with specific occupations in your region. To learn more about what we need from you, get in touch!
19. Will FYC be publicly accessible to young students (like Career Coach is currently) or will it be predominantly distributed through high school counselors and career centers?
The FYC website will be publicly available in order to reach as many people as possible. However, we definitely hope that high school counselors and career centers will also feature FYC in order to interest students in using the tool.
20. When will the beta site be available for colleges to look at?
Our goal is to launch a beta site in Q1 of 2015. To be the first to hear about developments to FYC, or to join the list of colleges interested in mapping, contact us.
Still have questions? Want to get involved? Contact Rob Sentz. 208.883.3500