Career Key

Author: Career Key's President and CEO, Juliet Wehr Jones, GCDF, J.D.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Career Counseling in Workforce Development is Cost-Effective. Who Knew? We did.

Linking the terms cost-effective and workforce development (or any government enterprise) is a risky business these days - but I'm going to go out on limb here because I'm armed with "think tank" report! Earlier this year, The Brookings Institution issued a report on how to make U.S. workforce development more cost-effective, focusing on One-Stop career centers. Among the conclusions:

One main ingredient to getting job seekers reemployed quickly in training programs giving a “high return” (in salary, benefits, skills) is:

Expanding assessment and counseling for potential trainees.

The Career Key has been an important contributor to assessment and counseling for over 20 years (10+ years online) so this conclusion is, frankly, no surprise to us or other professional career and school counselors.

For example, what do we know for sure in the health care debate? Incentives, incentives, incentives. If you don’t change them, people’s behavior will not change either. So it goes in workforce development. If you are evaluated on how many clients you see a day, the focus will be on quantity, not quality. So give counselors the time and tools to do their jobs and the long-term rewards (and taxpayer savings) will come.

Whew. Off my soapbox now.

Because of our public service mission, we offer the most high-quality, easy to use, affordable resources for workforce development. Workforce boards, agencies, and comparable nonprofits link to us and make group discount purchases from all over the country.

I decided to put together answers to the most common questions about The Career Key I get from Workforce Development professionals:

Does The Career Key test measure aptitude?
No, we offer a scientifically valid interest inventory based on Holland’s Theory of Career Choice, the most respected and widely used career theory in career counseling. We were the first to offer a scientifically valid career test on the Internet in 1997 and we remain one of the few.

What if our funding grant requires testing for aptitude and interests?
We are unaware of any one scientifically valid assessment measuring interests AND aptitude. (Please let us know if you find one). We recommend taking advantage of our group discounts (see below) to purchase our scientifically valid interest inventory and find a separate aptitude test that meets your agency’s needs.

What makes The Career Key different than other interest-based career tests?
  • scientifically validity
  • faster to complete than other comparable measures
  • the most affordable of comparable measures
  • our unique classification system for matching occupations makes it easier to explore more job and education options (250+ careers with a broad range of skill and education levels)
  • comprehensive, accurate information about each occupation from the OOH
  • we are the first and only scientifically valid Holland measure to match test results to all 1,400+ college majors, training and instructional programs in the U.S. See our new eBook The Education Key,
  • we are the first and only Holland measure to match test results to the DOE's Career Clusters and Pathways. See our new Career Clusters and Career Pathways eBook.
What if we don’t have Internet or computer access?
We offer a self-scoring, paper/pencil version of The Career Key test (see prices below). And for no extra charge your clients can use their test results at any Internet connected computer (home, public library) to explore more matching careers and career information at our free online article “Match Your Personality with Careers.”

How much does The Career Key cost?
Our website of professional quality career counseling articles: free – no license fee or registration required. We do not show ads or any kind of paid links or sponsorships.
Group discounts for tests and eBooks:
The Career Key test:
The Career Decision Profile: (same paper/pencil price as The Career Key test)

Popular eBooks with content found nowhere else:

The Education Key: Choosing the Right College Major, Training or Instructional Program eBook ($3 each when at least 5 are purchased)
5 Steps to Choosing the Right Career Cluster, Field or Pathway ($3 each when at least 5 are purchased)

Why shouldn’t I use the free O*Net Interest Profiler for measuring interests?
At $1 per test taking through our group discount, there is no excuse to use a free, invalid test like the O*Net IP. Please keep in mind that:
"Counselors [shall] carefully consider the validity, reliability, psychometric limitations, and appropriateness of instruments when selecting tests for use in a given situation or with a particular client." -- American Counseling Association's Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice
We love and recommend so many other free government resources like our favorite, The Occupational Outlook Handbook.

How can I afford (professionally and financially) to take a risk on trying The Career Key in my well-intentioned but rigid bureaucracy?
We can offer you a free trial, provide you with copies of and citations to independent research studies, and a list of groups and institutions nationwide that use our resources.

Please email me at julietjones at And if you mention this blog post, I'll email you a free copy of the newly revised professional Career Key Manual, a $14.95 value. You can see our free abbreviated online version at our website here.

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