Employment and Training Administration
Washington, D. C. 20210






April 25, 2001





Deputy Assistant Secretary
SUBJECT : Release of O*NET™ Career Exploration Tools


  1. Purpose. To announce the release and availability of O*NET™ (Occupational Information Network) Career Exploration Tools. These tools are designed to help youth and adults to explore and plan their career options, preparation, and transitions more effectively.

  2. Background. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) have a long history in developing, using, and providing guidance on assessment instruments to assist individuals in successfully engaging in the labor market. On January 2, 2001, DOL announced the release of three self-directed assessment and career exploration instruments for use with youth and adults.

    The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) encourages and authorizes appropriate use of assessments to assist individuals. These new career exploration instruments will directly support service providers under WIA. They also directly assist individuals who are exploring career options and using information services supported through WIA.

    The tools are not designed for and may not be used in a selection capacity (such as job matching or placement).

  3. Description. The tools are based on a "whole-person" concept. They encourage individuals to identify their interests, aspects of work important to them, and their work related abilities. They can then explore occupations best suited to those attributes. Three tools have been developed:

    Each assessment instrument is supported by companion materials, such as a score report, master list of occupations, user guide, a development report, and a validity/reliability report. The Interest Profiler and Work Importance Profiler are both self assessments, enabling individuals to take control of their own career exploration efforts. These assessments can be self-administered, self-scored and self-interpreted. Counselors also can use the instruments with clients in a one-on-one or group setting.

    O*NET assessment and career exploration tools are especially useful to those with little or no direct work experience, such as youth or clients moving from welfare to work. Users begin with their own interests, preferences, and priorities. For example, they consider the importance of certain aspects of work to their own satisfaction in a job. The results of this self-assessment then lead them to a sample list of occupations that match their personal preferences. The sample includes occupations that require different levels of education and experience. A master list of all related O*NET occupations is also available for each instrument. A combined master list is available for the Interest Profiler and the Work Importance Locator.

    The assessment tools will allow users to link to occupations in the O*NET 3.0 database. This version of O*NET is the first Federal classification to incorporate the new (1998) Standard Occupational Classification (SOC), as required by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Because O*NET 3.0 is SOC-based, most of the occupations link directly to the occupational employment and wage data produced by the States and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This direct link helps simplify the match between labor market information and occupational information for many agencies and programs.

    Scores from the O*NET assessment and career counseling tools open up a world of new opportunities by linking directly to O*NET OnLine and other parts of America's Career Kit, such as America's Job Bank (AJB), America's Career Information Network (ACINet), and America's Learning Exchange (ALX). Individuals can use their scores and O*NET OnLine to identify the skills, knowledge, generalized work activities, and other specific requirements of occupations they may wish to pursue. Individuals can use O*NET OnLine and the assessment tools to help them recognize where their strengths are and where they might need to get more education and training. They can move on into other parts of America's Career Kit and explore labor market information such as employment trends, wages, and specific job openings for the occupation.

    O*NET Career Exploration Tools can also help employers with some of their human resource needs. In particular, the tools can be used in employee career development, enabling employers to provide value-added career exploration assistance to their employees.

  4. Development. To develop the O*NET assessment tools, ETA assembled a team of experts from vocational rehabilitation counseling, industrial/organization psychology, assessment development, and occupational analysis. This team, led by ETA, worked in partnership with State agencies, public and private consulting firms, workforce development organizations, and the general public.

    The tools were developed adhering to the highest standards of the American Psychological Association, the American Educational Research Association, and the National Council on Measurement in Education. The instruments were developed and tested with populations that varied in terms of race, age, gender, ethnic background, geographic location, educational background, and economic background. The tools also have been pilot tested in many different education, employment and training settings, e.g. Employment Service offices, Job Corps programs, inner city/rural/suburban schools, veterans groups, community colleges, and universities. These career exploration tools were designed to be flexible; assistance can be provided to accommodate individuals with disabilities or to meet clients' special needs.

  5. Distribution. The Office of Workforce Security will supply all State Employment Security Agencies with starter kits and an initial supply of these new O*NET career exploration tools for use within local One-Stop Centers. In addition, paper and pencil versions of the Interest Profiler and Work Importance Locator instruments and hard-copy versions of companion materials are available for sale from the Government Printing Office (GPO). Electronic versions will be available for downloading from the Web in fall 2001. The Ability Profiler also will be available in the fall of 2001.

    Attached is a GPO Order Form for the components of the Interest Profiler and Work Importance Locator. Using the stock numbers and prices provided, orders may be placed by mail, telephone (202/512-1800), fax (202/512-2250), or at the GPO's Online Bookstore (http://bookstore.gpo.gov). The O*NET Career Exploration tools may also be ordered at any GPO Bookstore. Payment may be made by check, Visa, MasterCard, or Discover/Novus.

    ETA plans to make a full and open release of the O*NET Career Exploration Tools to the marketplace through GPO. All of the components, with the exception of the assessment instruments themselves, will be available for download at no charge via the Internet as PDF files. These files can be printed out from a personal computer. Because of their specialized design and color, the assessment instruments need to be printed professionally. They cannot be printed in usable form from a typical PC. Copies of negatives which may be used to print the instruments will be available at a cost recovery charge from GPO.

    States and public/private vendors may reproduce the assessment tools and also develop computerized versions to incorporate them into their delivery systems. This, in turn, will offer wide access to the O*NET assessment tools for all interested stakeholders and customer groups.

    For further information on the availability of specific products, including downloadable electronic version of the tools, check the O*NET Center website: http://www.onetcenter.org/product/tools.html or the ETA O*NET Project website: http://www.doleta.gov/programs/onet

  6. User Agreement. The assessment tools incorporate a User Agreement, as well as language that emphasizes the appropriate use of these instruments for customers. Parts of each of the assessment instruments and supplementary materials inform users and developers that the tools are to be used for career exploration and counseling purposes, and that they may not be used in a selection capacity (such as job matching).

    ETA expects that the release of these O*NET tools will be useful to America's Workforce Network. States and other organizations can begin the work of incorporating the assessment tools into computer applications to support workforce investment initiatives, including One-Stop service delivery. This open release ensures that the American public receives the prime benefit of the Department of Labor's investment.

  7. Action Required. Please share this TEIN with individuals within your organization who use or need to know about assessment and career exploration tools. This may include administrators, educators, trainers, human resource staff, employment counselors, and other workforce development professionals. It is important that all employment and training programs that use O*NET products and data know about the availability of related O*NET Career Exploration Tools. Recipients of this TEIN will be receiving a sample copy of these tools under separate cover once they are available.

  8. Inquiries. Direct inquiries to: O*NET Project, U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Room N5637, Washington, DC 20210; e-mail: O*NET@DOLETA.GOV; FAX: (202) 693-2765. Direct telephone inquiries to: Pamela Frugoli, (202) 693-3643.

  9. Attachment. Government Printing Office Order Form