State job search, career support site a positive move

For a great many people, we suspect, using online job and career search sites and software is an exercise in utter futility.

Very often, there is no job and not uncommonly, there are no real people at the end of the web connection. It’s all run by programmed servers designed to bait people into clicking through their sites, during which time they are exposed to advertisements for products they have no interest in.

A multitude of state agencies want to change at least some of that. The Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development, or TED, the Talent Investment Agency; the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget; the Center for Performance and Educational Information; the Michigan Department of Education; the Michigan College Access Network; Michigan Virtual University; and Michigan Works! have combined resources in the development of Pathfinder, a career exploration tool designed to help students plan their future employment.

The program was unveiled publicly early last week. It will be available to more than 500 school districts in the state of Michigan during the 2017-18 school year, includes career-planning data such as job protections, annual openings, growth potential, salaries and Michigan schools that offer programs of interest.

A recent Mining Journal story on the initiative stated it’s a detailed tool that uses real-time labor market data so that students, parents, teachers, counselors and others can gather information about different jobs available in the state, such as their earnings potential as well as the education and training required.

A handful of students in Marquette County are already using it and report good results.

At a glance, Pathfinder seems like a step out of the usual murkiness of the web and into a positive direction. We plan to watch it carefully and will report back to readers on its progress, or lack thereof.