Spotlight on O*NET Users: Tora McConico

Tora McConico

Case Manager at Janice Capilouto Center for the Deaf-Easter Seals, Montgomery, AL

Countless job seekers incorporate O*NET's common language into their resumes to convince prospective employers to hire them. Case managers all over the country help job seekers do this, coaching them on ways to use O*NET to identify their knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs). These KSAs provide the common language that employers understand!

Tora McConico, Case Manager with the Janice Capilouto Center for the Deaf-Easter Seals, in Montgomery, AL, has been using O*NET since 1999, doing precisely this kind of coaching. In any given month she has between 20 and 60 customers, including clients who are deaf or hearing impaired. She has used O*NET since she started working at the Center, even before O*NET was online.

Many of Tora's consumers are not employed when they come through the door. Tora helps them prepare resumes, and develop and practice job interview skills. She uses O*NET in all of these processes. "Often, consumers don't know how to describe what they have done on a job," Tora explains. "And often they have no idea exactly what tasks, abilities, knowledge, and skills are needed to do a job. Or, they don't have a clue what kind of salary to expect. O*NET is perfect for learning all of this. The answers are right there!"

Tora used to use the O*NET Code Connector, entering the job titles her clients had in the past to learn the O*NET SOC code most closely related to a past job title. But she doesn't need to do that today, so experienced is she with the job titles she encounters. She just knows what occupations most of her clients' past job titles match with. When she and her consumers study the lists of tasks and skills that comprise the match occupation, her clients "are amazed that O*NET so perfectly describes what they did!" Tora laughs. "And I'll check with them: Did you do this, this and this? Invariably, they DID!"

Tora works with her clients by appointment, on a one-on-one basis. "Many of my consumers come in not knowing what they want to do. We begin to explore in O*NET, and they see an occupation that is interesting. If they don't have the required skills and knowledge to do work in that occupation, I can so easily prove it to them. I use O*NET to do a skills gap analysis. They can see right away what they need, what they have-and thus, what they would need to develop, to land a job in that area. O*NET works wonders as a reality check. It isn't ME telling them; it's O*NET.

"I also can use O*NET to highlight the in-demand occupations, and then move people along to see where demand is geographically, and to look at how much the occupation pays. Now THAT'S an eye-opener for people!" exclaims Tora.

When people see the information that O*NET exposes, some continue to explore further, having realized that reaching for a specific occupation in a particular Job Zone "would be so intense. But others ask, 'How can I attain those skills or that knowledge?'" relates Tora. "Then we can link right into finding appropriate training programs through O*NET."

"The ADA links in O*NET are valuable for us, too. We have placement staff who get into the accommodations area with prospective employers.

"But the way I use O*NET most is in leveraging the language," explains Tora. A great example of the wonder of the language is a consumer I had. He, like many of my consumers, had difficulty explaining what he knew how to do, what he HAD done. We used the tasks and skills right out of the O*NET description for his resume. I had no clue about his former manufacturing job, what tasks his work entailed. But O*NET did! His resume was so together; the interviewer/boss was so impressed. My consumer had no oral speech. He wouldn't have been able to explain himself well enough to the boss. And the interpreter didn't know what the job was like. But the resume gave the boss everything he needed to work from. If it hadn't been for O*NET, I'm sure my consumer wouldn't have landed his manufacturing job at the Hyundai OEM supplier.