Spotlight on O*NET Users: Jane Field

Jane Field

LMI Training Coordinator

Labor Market and Economic Analysis

Washington State Employment Security Department

Have you seen Jane Field’s latest handbook, Jobs for the Sidewalk Economist?  In the first few weeks of publication, Washington schools requested over 7,000 copies!

Jane has been on Washington’s “best-seller” list before.  She traveled statewide to train employment counselors in the application of labor market information while her colleagues created a new website that made the economic data readily available.  Her challenge was to take complicated economic data and respond to the questions of employment counselors.  She created The Handbook for the Sidewalk Economist to meet that need. TheHandbook was wildly successful, winning first place for Special Projects/One-time Research by the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA) in 2001.  It was posted on Washington’s Workforce Explorer website in November, 2002, and has been downloaded more than 75,000 times.

And now we have Jobs for the Sidewalk Economist, a wonderful career exploration guide and planning tool for students embarking on their careers.  Do not miss this 36-page book and 13-page accompanying workbook, available in PDF form on Washington’s Website.

Who is Jane Field?  Jane has been with Labor Market and Economic Analysis, the research and statistics arm of Washington state’s Employment Security Department, for over 15 years.  Prior to the state’s conversion to O*Net, Jane developed job descriptions and conducted the statewide prevailing wage survey.

Today, Washington high school students must pass a state exam at the 10th grade, and then prior to graduation, prepare a portfolio and plan for their transition into the workplace.  Jobsmakes this task easier.

No doubt because of her huge success with The Handbook, Jane drew the assignment to write a guide for high school students preparing their portfolios. Working through the steps of career exploration and planning, the user learns how to leverage O*NET in developing a sound strategy. Students use of the O*NET Interest Profiler and Work Importance Locator tools is a key part of the process.

The examples in Jobs are realistic and current.  Jane explains:  “Going into the high schools, I discovered that students dream of becoming crime scene investigators, wedding planners, astronauts, video game creators, rock stars and web designers.  Yet the people who were to help these students develop their portfolios had vastly different areas of expertise.  Some were English teachers, some were auto shop teachers, and some were career specialists.  Everyone working toward the goal needed sure, consistent expertise.  O*NET delivers that expertise, and it’s easy for everyone to use.”

“I knew that Jobs for the Sidewalk Economist would have to feature O*Net, because O*Net is the bridge to understanding all of the different ways of describing jobs.  It also is the only way to understand the rest of the economic data on the website.” 

And now Jobs begins to gain exposure beyond Washington.  Jane is sharing the book and workbook at the Careers Conference 2005, in Madison, Wisconsin.  (Madison is also Jane’s birthplace)! And check the O*NET Knowledge Site, for an upcoming piece about the publication, as well as a Webinar led by Jane, tackling the topic of developing and distributing career planning resources. The point of creating a Jobs resource is winning usage among the target market, and Jane will share her insights around that topic during the webinar, scheduled for mid-February. (E-mail Bob Jacques of the O*NET Knowledge Site Team if you’d like to receive e-notice of this webinar).

Jane has a full plate.  Her professional agenda includes scripting O*Net snippets to add to Washington’s Workforce Explorer website; advancing training programs within Employment Security and with its partners; collaborating with partners such as the k-12 school system, community colleges, four year universities, private contractors and economic developers; and expanding Jobs for the Sidewalk Economist as “best practices” are developed and new tools such as the Ability Profiler became available.

That sounds like enough to keep a woman busy at least 24 hours a day.  But, not true.  Jane enjoys making time for family celebrations, hiking in the Cascade Mountains, and boating around the San Juan Islands.  She is always reading, and recommends The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown–“featuring the mysterious interweaving of cryptology, religion, scholars, and detectives in a European venue—not all that different from O*Net coding!”  Jane also suggests

Bringing Down the House, by Ben Mezrich, “with probability theory as applied to Blackjack, and The Prize–The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power, by Daniel Yergin–has great relevance for understanding today’s geopolitical events and reads like a novel.”

Jane also appreciates good jazz, from Billy Holliday to Shemekia Copeland, Miles Davis to Ray Charles and Diana Krall.  Obviously Jane Field enjoys the best, whether in a read or in a sound.  Take a look at Jobs for the Sidewalk Economist, and you will see that she delivers the best, too.