Incorporating LMI into Career Exploration, Planning and Policy
Supporting students’ path to employment success can be challenging. The journey requires multiple steps, including opportunities to explore careers, develop focused career plans, and engage in learning experiences that support the acquisition of valued workplace skills. Within each of these steps, there are multiple factors that contribute to employment success. Labor market information (LMI), as one of these factors, has the ability to inform students, parents, and educators of the realities of the current and future labor market, which can help frame student career decisions and planning. LMI can also inform education policy and encourage the practice of career-focused learning that is aligned with workforce needs. When LMI is part of career exploration, planning, and policy, students benefit from a more comprehensive and complete career preparation experience that acknowledges job trends and helps students position themselves for high-value careers.
Labor market information is rapidly becoming an additional factor in the career exploration process. Knowledge of local job markets can significantly enhance employment success through the revelation of high-demand, high-wage jobs. Armed with this information, students can make informed decisions about careers that may be more plentiful and that provide wages consistent with their lifestyle goals. Assisting students in accessing and understanding labor market information can facilitate a stronger alignment of career aspirations with the realities of the local economy.
Preparing students for employment success requires meaningful and relevant educational experiences that support career readiness. LMI can assist in developing effective policies and practices that support learning experiences that are aligned with the economic realities of local labor markets. This alignment can bring student programs, services, and resources into focus, ensuring students are provided with the foundational skills necessary to access viable career opportunities in their area.
In preparing students for careers, most elements of the education process can benefit from LMI and its ability to direct efforts toward high-value career destinations. Providing policymakers and educators with a basic overview of local LMI can help familiarize them with the landscape of local careers and contribute to informed policy decisions and educational practice.
In developing policy or engaging in educational practices, LMI can serve as a compass that provides additional direction for decisions and planning. Awareness of the local labor market sets the stage for preparing students to achieve one of the principal goals of education – employment success. Because LMI outlines the landscape of current and future job opportunities, reports, reviews, and presentations that summarize labor market realities are a critical first step in policymaking activities and education practices.
Achieving awareness, however, is only part of the equation. Knowledge of high-value careers has its greatest use in supporting informed decisions about curriculum, programs, and services that are offered to students. Having strong career destinations as a point of focus for policy and practice promotes a stronger alignment between educational processes and local employment opportunities. This shift in focus can be used to encourage programs and services that foster the acquisition valued career-relevant skills and concepts. Educators can design curriculum around the realities of the local job market. In addition, learning opportunities can be offered that provide hands-on experience in high-demand careers. The ultimate result of informed policy and practice can be empowered students who are armed with valued, career-relevant knowledge and skills.