2009 July - Career Fuel2009 July - Career Fuel

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July 2009
In This Issue:



Skill Power
Walk the Line
The Apprentice Revealed
Apprentice Nation
Cyber Sleuths
Call Security
Resource Corner

Skill Power

Talk of an economy in trouble and millions of job losses around the country is daunting for job seekers of all ages, but especially for teens who are planning to enter the workforce in a couple of years. The recession is changing the way we all think about job security, which in many instances seems to be a thing of the past. And yet, through the haze of unemployment and uncertainty, one well-defined career path has emerged as particularly valuable: skilled labor.
      According to a recent article in the New York Times, experienced skilled workers are in demand. This includes everyone from welders who have spent several years honing their talents to specialized electrical linemen (and women) and geotechnical engineers. The article points out that employers are looking for people who have acquired an exacting skill, first through education, like high school vocational training, and then by improving while on the job. So if you're already taking occupational training courses that will put you on a skilled labor career path, you may be well prepared for all the ups and downs of the job market. Just keep working on improving your labor skills and you may be in demand in any job market.
      That college degree is really all you (and your parents) are focused on? Then don't forget that New Jersey offers the NJ PLACE program, which recognizes apprenticeship-training programs for jobs like carpenters, ironworkers and sheet metal workers as pathways to college. You can actually earn college credit toward associate degrees at New Jersey's 19 community colleges for participating registered apprenticeships in the building and construction trades.

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Walk the Line

When lightning strikes the transformer on your street, who you gonna call? That's right, the power line worker who rides up in one of those buckets and restores power - and your Facebook page. Now THAT's an important job. Jersey Central Power & Light, for example, provides electric service to 1.1 million customers in northern and central New Jersey.
      Through a JCP&L initiative, high school graduates interested in becoming power line workers or substation electricians can be accepted at Raritan Valley Community College or Brookdale Community College and into the Power Systems Institute.
      Participants go to school two and a half days a week - taking courses from English Composition and Interpersonal Communications to Electrical Circuits for Power Distribution - and the other two and a half days a week are spent getting hands-on experience at JCP&L's training facility in either Phillipsburg or Farmingdale. Upon completion of that two-year course, you come out with an Associate of Applied Science degree with a focus on Electric Utility Technology and are typically hired by JCP&L. Right now, starting salaries range from $22 to $23 per hour, as well as paid overtime.
      Adam Wires, a 1996 Phillipsburg High School graduate, began attending Power Institute courses at Raritan Valley Community College in August 2003. Two years later, he graduated with an Associate of Applied Science degree with a focus on Electric Utility Technology and went to work for JCP&L, where he worked as a substation technician before recently being promoted to junior relay technician, a highly technical profession that requires him to make more of his own decisions. "After two years you come out with a job and you've got a skill set that's practical," explains Adam. "You can make a good living at it for your entire life if that's what you choose."
      Adam is working toward his four-year bachelor's degree through distance learning and hopes to move up to JCP&L management. Where bucket trucks are involved, the sky's the limit.

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The Apprentice Revealed

Here are 10 secrets to a more successful you with training for a career in the trades.

A free education is a good thing! Apprentices do not pay for their education. The cost is covered by special training funds set up by each trade union. Apprentices only pay for their tools.

Professional in training. That's how you should think of yourself as you enter one of the apprentice training programs, where you will receive a comprehensive education in all aspects of your chosen craft.

Physical fitness is important, but muscles are not a job requirement. You don't need to be big and strong to make it in the trades, which are a great career for both men and women. In fact, brains are just as important as brawn.

Roofers, carpenters, electricians, ironworkers, bricklayers, operating engineers, plasterers and cement masons, insulators, boilermakers, elevator constructors, craft laborers, plumbers, painters - these are just a few of the trades for which apprenticeships will train you

Each apprentice begins by learning the basics of each craft and as he or she proves a firm grasp of each skill, the training becomes more advanced until the apprentice graduates to a journeyman.

Not long after you begin your apprenticeship, you will begin working on job sites and earning a percentage of the journeyman rate.

The step from apprentice to journeyman is not the end of a trade professional's career advancement. Journeymen are encouraged to continue education in their profession throughout their career, giving them the chance to advance to high-demand specialties and supervisory positions, which means more money.

It's a rewarding career. Construction professionals, for instance, get to create things with their hands. They play major parts in building things that are lasting like skyscrapers, stadiums and bridges.

Competitive salaries and comprehensive benefit packages are among the key advantages of careers in the trades. Accomplished union trades professionals earn from $50,000 to upwards of $100,000 per year. Unions provide generous benefits packages that include health care, pension funds and disability protection.hysical fitness is important, but muscles are not a job requirement. You don't need to be big and strong to make it in the trades, which are a great career for both men and women. In fact, brains are just as important as brawn.

Explore the trades now! If you're eager to get started in an apprenticeship, then talk to your parents, your school counselor and do your research: call a local trade union to talk to someone who has chosen this career path.

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Apprentice Nation

People who are learning a specialized skill often work for a few years as a paid apprentice, or an understudy to someone who has been in the business for many years and can pass along his or her knowledge and expertise. Many apprenticeships are very formalized, like those in the building and construction trades, while others may be somewhat less structured. There are reportedly some 850 federally recognized apprenticeable careers. Here are a few career-related apprenticeships you may never have even considered:

Fish Hatchery Worker
A fish hatchery worker raises and maintains fish and stocks designated lakes, ponds, streams and rivers throughout the state. New Jersey's Division of Fish and Wildlife, which runs fish hatcheries in Pequest and Hackettstown, offers unpaid internships to high school and college students. Apprenticeships? Well, that may depend on how well you work with the fish. Go to http://www.jerseyintern.com/internship_detail.php?int_id=60&period_id=1&q= for more information.

Jewelry Crafter
Interested in making custom jewelry or props for movies? Jewelry crafters usually have formal training in metalsmithing, silversmithing or working with gold. Typically, a jewelry crafter begins his or her career working for someone who is already established in the craft - as an apprentice. Visit http://www.jobprofiles.org/artjeweler.htm to find out the skills required to be a jewelry crafter.

Glass Blower
Glass blowing is the art of carefully shaping glass objects through the use of intense heat, specialized tools and lots of skill. Most glass blowers work with apprentices who assist with equipment and learn on the job. Salem Community College in Southern New Jersey is home to the nation's only Scientific Glass Technology associate degree program as well as programs in glass art and industrial design. Read up on glassblowing at http://www.howitworks.net/how-glass-blowers-work-murano-style-glass-blowing.html.

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Cyber Sleuths

The news hit the wires in late August, 2009: "Largest Corporate Identity Theft Case in History" goes down in New Jersey. Three men were charged with conspiracy and conspiracy to engage in wire fraud and accused of using a sophisticated computer hacking technique to get around corporate firewalls and steal the credit- and debit-card information of store customers.
      Where there are computers, there is cybercrime. Information security is a critical part of the homeland security job market. Info security experts protect all types of information and the systems that move this information. They make sure that important information gets to the right place and doesn't get into the wrong hands. More specifically, cybersecurity specialists are the workers who protect the data and systems in networks that are connected to the Internet. Cybersecurity is considered to be a growing career field and is in demand in almost every industry.
      Starting this fall, Middlesex County College is offering a certificate in Information Systems Security. The program will prepare students for entry-level jobs to protect the nation's information infrastructure. Students who receive the certificate after one year of courses are eligible to take the COMPTIAA Security + test and become certified security technicians.

      Read an expanded version of this article by visiting http://www.njnextstop.org, clicking on the Lifeline column's Show All feature and selecting "Cyber Sleuths."

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Call Security

Maybe you're eager to get into safety and security straight out of high school. You have options! The security industry, including companies like Gateway Security in Newark, hire thousands of security officers to guard corporations and provide customer care at airports. You are eligible for a job in the security industry if you re at least 18 and have either a high school diploma or GED.
      As a security officer, you're trained to have a heightened sense of vigilance in everything from report writing, patrolling techniques, controlling access and using communications equipment. The security industry also focuses on good public relations skills and the importance of having a positive appearance. Candidates get a well-rounded education in all areas of security before they are approved for a specific client site. The State of New Jersey is now requiring that security officer candidates receive a minimum of 24 hours of security training before they can be hired. What else do you need to know? Here are some highlights:

  • Skills required to be an effective security officer include being a good listener and being able to respond to questions accurately, having a good sense of smell, sight and hearing.
  • The median rate for entry-level security officers is $10.50 an hour with an officer's earning potential at $16.00 an hour.
  • From the role of security officer, many employees are advanced into positions with more responsibility, like management. The security profession can also be a steppingstone to a career in law enforcement, corrections or executive protection.
  • Officers are trained to use the minimal amount of physical force at all times. Only top-level, well-trained security officers are armed.

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Resource Corner

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