Spotlight on O*NET Users: Paul Epstein


Paul Epstein

CEO of World Learning Network

Career Sprocket is an ingenious online career development center. World Learning Network CEO Paul Epstein and colleagues designed Career Sprocket for today’s adult computer-comfy career-building worker. Users, whether recently dislocated or wanting to progress in a career, “Internet” as a matter of course. Thus, they naturally access Career Sprocket for the solution to their latest challenge. Go there (http://www.careersprocket.com/) and you can see that this smooth path to career planning has a solid O*NET foundation. Career Sprocket makes it simple to assess personal interests, investigate career possibilities, and then create and execute an education and/or training plan to achieve occupational goals, in the privacy of one’s own computer.

Paul’s brainchild is free to individual users. The schools and training institutions that partner with World Learning Network make Career Sprocket financially viable. As individual users establish and pursue their occupation goals in the virtual career development center, they can click to approach sponsoring training institutions that have appropriate learning programs. You can see the base of reliable, valid O*NET information and integrity threaded throughout the exploration process: in the interests self-assessment, the system matching interests to occupations, and the search results listing occupations; in terms of displaying needed knowledge sets, skills, and abilities; and later in the self-administered planning process, in terms of laying out skills gaps and education requirements when exploring specific occupations.

Notice that the O*NET Green and Bright Outlook occupations figure powerfully in Career Sprocket’s Green Careers, Emerging Careers and Top 50 In-Demand Careers. Though Paul and his associates add their own research and thinking before putting Career Sprocket brand labels on career title categories, Paul points out that “O*NET occupational data is the excellent starting place for our deciding which occupations we put in all of these categories.” The free online career development center makes the connection between the individual career explorer and training institutions—serving as meshed sprockets, syncing career explorer with apprenticeship programs and other learning partners that can help the worker achieve the occupational goal most efficiently.

Career Sprocket launched in 2009 and already is in the top 38,000 Websites according to Quantcast. “They say you’re growing well when you crack the top 100,000,” Paul chuckles. “We’re developing nicely. Our success is due in large part to our smart marketing. We have exposure on all the usual social media sites. Our user might be from anywhere and is very comfortable approaching everything online via the individual’s computer, so we’re a natural choice when someone in our target market is looking for career development services. Our training and educational institution sponsors are natural partners, too.”

Career Sprocket learning sponsors, the apprenticeship programs and training institutions, are from anywhere. A sponsor might have a ground or online campus or be a hybrid, with an increasing number of them hybrid schools. It makes sense that O*NET Online database information comprises a root system for much of the goings on behind the processes and user interface of Career Sprocket.

Users follow a three-step process and save all of their information such as interest self-assessment scores, learning programs of interest, and skill-building to-do lists, in a Career Discovery Toolbox, a virtual portfolio. They can return to their Toolboxes at any time to revise plans, add information, or check off to-do list entries. The virtual career development center is open 24/7, offering the opportunity to tap career guidance experts at all times.

Though he is very busy building Career Sprocket, not all of Paul’s life is about computer, virtual or online. In part of his private life Paul is a singer. He does Sinatra! Sounds elegantly Twentieth Century, doesn’t it? Perhaps cyber guys like Paul maintain balanced lives by keeping part of their attention in a golden past.




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