Spotlight on O*NET Users: David S. Lipnicky

David S. Lipnicky

Sr. Workforce Development Information Specialist

U.S. Department of Labor/ETA

Dallas/Denver Regional Office and O*NET Champion

You may recognize David from a number of places.  He has been working with O*NET since it was born!  A Labor Market Information (LMI) expert with the U.S. Department of Labor/ Employment and Training Administration since 1991, David is an economist by education and experience.  He assesses LMI Federal grant proposals in an 11-state Region, stretching from Montana and Utah to Louisiana, from New Mexico and Texas to the Dakotas.  He reviews and negotiates proposals with those states and makes grant recommendations to the Federal ETA Office.

You might have seen the fine letter that David recently wrote to NetAssets,, explaining the beauty and wonder of O*NET.  David’s letter prompted us to ask him how much he actually has the opportunity to work with O*NET.  “All the time,” is the answer.  And in more ways than you might imagine.  He became involved with O*NET, “In January of  ’95,” he clearly recalls.  “I went to a OneStop conference and was amazed to hear about this new tool that I had been envisioning and hoping for, for years!  Ever since that conference, I’ve been learning all I can about O*NET and sharing information every opportunity I get.”  David has been the Dallas Regional Office’s O*NET Lead for the past decade.

And he gets plenty of opportunity.  He long has been a certified O*NET trainer and continues to lead one- and two-day training sessions on occasion.  However, his services covering Introductory and Special Topic O*NET workshops for various audiences are in the most demand, where he provides approximately 20 O*NET workshops a year across the region and most recently at various national Conferences.  WIB staff often call him for his expertise on the finer points of O*NET.  “Finding appropriate O*NET occupations to the ‘Program Manager’ lay payroll title,” is one of the most requested items from WIBs.  With these type of requests, he uses the O*NET Code Connector – often walking the person through the relatively simple Web process over the phone.  The second most requested O*NET-related assistance item is “how to implement O*NET into existing or new systems,” which comes from various state units in and outside the Dallas Region.

One can tell, listening to David, that the O*NET work he particularly enjoys occurs when USDOL brings students into the Dallas ETA Office for “Ground Hog Job Shadowing Day.”  Area high school students “shadow” various USDOL staff to see the many functions performed by USDOL and how an office environment operates.  Students assigned to David actually get to see how O*NET works “for real.”  David has the students explore occupations of interest via O*NET Online and other Federal and State Labor Market Information systems that use the O*NET database.  He introduces them to the skills, abilities, job tasks, and Related Occupations associated with their interests.  David tells the story of one student who had been selling herself short, expecting to graduate from a four-year college with the ultimate goal of becoming an office secretary.  “When she got into O*NET and explored with her skill set and education, she realized that she could also become a Budget Analyst (which pays about twice as much in Texas), just like her sister, who was with a bank in that role already.  O*NET really opened her eyes,” David concluded.  He relishes these successes where O*NET stars as a career exploration tool.

Another experience that he relishes is a recent Disney World vacation with four other grown-ups, sans children.  How fun does that sound!  While he has taken the next generation to Disney World, he especially enjoyed this trip with just the big people.

David is based in Dallas and visits state and local offices in all 11 states in the region, perhaps as much as half his time.  He tries to schedule his commitments to visits up in Montana and the Dakotas during May through November, to minimize the amount of time he is grounded by weather.  But one senses that he enjoys making the most of whatever he is doing, wherever he is doing it.