Working knowledge: 4 things to find at

Working knowledge: 4 things to find at is a website established by community, business and education leaders in East Central Illinois who want to make sure the skills of area workers meet the needs of area manufacturers. The region includes six community college districts.

At ...

1. You can figure out which careers are right for you.

What kinds of employers are interested in the interests and skills you have?

Find out by taking a quick (36-question) skills assessment that matches you up with careers you may enjoy. You'll be given 36 tasks and asked how strongly you'd like (or dislike) doing those.

Based on your answers, you'll be given 50 careers that match your skill set — as well as the average national salary for those careers, the amount of education needed for them and the projected number of job openings.

2. You can find training programs in the area.

Now that you know what you might want to do, see where you can get the training. lists 91 training programs in eastern Illinois — including 64 college-level programs, nine community programs, 12 aimed at high school students and six aimed at K-8 students.

Of the college-level programs, 24 are offered at Parkland College in Champaign, 18 at Lake Land College in Mattoon and eight at Danville Area Community College.

Plus, a variety of other organizations — including Vermilion Advantage, Education for Employment, Parkland Business Training and Vermilion Vocational Educational Delivery System — offer opportunities for training.

A few of the training fields: wind energy technician, advanced manufacturing, electronic control systems, collision repair technology.

3. You can find out what area manufacturers say they need.

Get a jump on prospective employers by discovering what's important to them.

Forty manufacturing companies in East Central Illinois were surveyed about their workplace needs.

Among the companies: Alcoa, Flex-N-Gate, LyondellBasell, Vesuvius USA and Clifford-Jacobs Forging.

When the employers were asked what technical work skills are most sorely needed, their top responses were:

— Manufacturing experience (77 percent).

— Troubleshooting ability (67 percent).

— Leadership (42 percent).

— Programmable logic controller experience (42 percent).

— Math skills (38 percent).

— Computer skills (35 percent).

When the area employers were asked what "soft" skills they most desperately want, their top responses were:

— Attendance (81 percent).

— Reliability (75 percent).

— Personal responsibility (69 percent).

4. You can read Mike Rowe's SWEAT pledge.

Rowe is probably best known as the host of the Discovery Channel series "Dirty Jobs" from 2005 to 2012 and as the likable pitchman for Ford Motor Co.

See what he has to say about work ethics, attitude, education, debt, workplace safety, making choices and the pursuit of happiness. If it makes sense to you, take the Skills and Work Ethic Aren't Taboo pledge.

Sections (2):News, Business
Topics (1):Technology

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