New year, new job: Building skills for this changing job market

Local News

You've probably made your New Year's resolutions -- but do they have anything to do with your career?

(WKBN) – Could the new year be the time for a new job? K.L. Allen, chancellor of Western Governors University Ohio, said it’s important to make career resolutions heading into 2021.

Allen suggested people think of career preparedness like building blocks toward an ultimate goal. He said after the uncertainty of 2020, it is even more clear how important a career skillset can be.

“I think with the uniqueness of 2020, a year that no one really expected, one of the things that we realize — the unexpected can happen but what we can control is pretty much our skillset. Whether that’s going back to school, whether that’s truly looking at where we want to be at in our career and creating a plan so we can move forward.”

Allen said people should think of industries that have in-demand jobs like health care, business, education and IT. He said the most in-demand jobs are in the same industries as before the pandemic, but job seekers need to be ready for how roles have adapted because of the virus.

“For instance, my mom was a school teacher for 30 years and it looks totally different from when she started out. You’re having to now — how do you engage students online? That’s maybe something you would have to focus on. The IT sector has continued to be successful as…we have meetings online now, so you have to have that IT component.”

He said investing time by developing relevant skills will help people once the job market returns to normal.

Allen is optimistic the job market is getting better for his students, explaining that new businesses are being started in Ohio at a high rate.

According to the Ohio Secretary of State, there were over 12,000 new businesses started statewide this past November. That’s up 47% from the previous November.

In the Valley, we have seen the unemployment rate drop since this spring and summer. October’s unemployment rate was just under that of January 2020.

Allen suggested considering careers that will have long-term growth.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, by the year 2029, these jobs are all projected to be in high demand:

  • Nurse practitioners
  • Home health aides
  • Mental health counselors
  • Cooks
  • Software developers

Allen said job seekers need to be diligently working toward their goals, but be patient as you build your skillset.

He suggested writing your own mission statement, like a business or university would. Then you can work with family and friends who can hold you accountable to your mission statement so you can work toward the future career you’d like.

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