Every two years, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) releases new data about employment in hundreds of occupations across the country. Virginia, and other states, use the BLS data as the basis for developing state-specific occupational employment projections. The Virginia projection data are typically published about a year after the BLS release on the Virginia’s Career and Workforce-Labor Market Information (LMI) website.
In order to make sense of the data, it is useful to know that both national and state data systems use a common list of occupations based on the Standard Occupational Classification system (SOC). These occupations are divided into 23 major groups. These groups are useful for many purposes, but Career and Technical Education professionals may need to think about occupations in terms of career clusters instead. In order to assign occupations to career clusters, national CTE organizations and the Trailblazers project for Virginia use what are known as “crosswalks.”
In 2007, the U.S. Office of Vocational and Adult Education developed a standardized set of “Perkins IV” crosswalk tables that link different types of occupational codes with the CTE career cluster framework. Following the 2010 BLS SOC system revision, the National Research Center for Career and Technical Education (NRCCTE) and the National Association of State Directors of Career-Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) collaborated in a “Crosswalk Validation Project” to update three of the original Perkins crosswalks. You can download these crosswalks from the Advance CTE website and get a report on the crosswalking process from the NRCCTE site.
Trailblazers Labor Market Data
This year, Trailblazers utilized two different Perkins crosswalks to develop two sets of labor market data tables (“non-duplicated” and “duplicated”), each serving its own purpose.
The Trailblazers “non-duplicated” tables should be the only data used for official labor market projection figures. These tables were developed using Perkins Crosswalk Table 5, which assigns each occupation to only one pathway and career cluster. Because employment numbers across clusters sum to total employment, the “non-duplicated” tables provide a more realistic assessment of overall employment levels within each geographic region. They do not, however, provide a fully rounded picture of the occupational composition of each pathway or cluster because many occupations reasonably belong in more than one.
The Trailblazers “duplicated” projection tables were created to serve as a career planning tool for students and educators who are interested in seeing all of the occupations that might be open to students who complete programs in a cluster. These tables were developed using Perkins Crosswalk Table 6, which assigns some occupations to more than one career pathway and/or cluster. For this reason, employment figures for individual occupations should not be summed within or across pathways or clusters. Doing so would potentially count an occupation’s data more than once, inflating the employment totals for a pathway, cluster, or geographic region.
As a final note, because the methodology for assigning occupations to career clusters and pathways changed this year, Trailblazers occupational employment projection data from this year forward should not be compared to projection data from prior years.
Major Occupational Groups
- Business & Financial Operations
- Computer & Mathematical
- Architecture & Engineering
- Life, Physical, & Social Science
- Community & Social Service
- Education, Training, & Library
- Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, & Media
- Healthcare Practitioners & Technical
- Healthcare Support
- Protective Service
- Food Preparation & Serving Related
- Building & Grounds Cleaning & Maintenance
- Personal Care & Service
- Sales & Related
- Office & Administrative Support
- Farming, Fishing, & Forestry
- Construction & Extraction
- Installation, Maintenance, & Repair
- Transportation & Material Moving
- Military Specific
16 Career Clusters
- Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources
- Architecture & Construction
- Arts, A/V Technology & Communications
- Business, Management & Administration
- Education & Training
- Government & Public Administration
- Health Science
- Hospitality & Tourism
- Human Services
- Information Technology
- Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security
- Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics
- Transportation, Distribution & Logistics