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Introducing Google's Pathways Search Feature

Google recently announced a new feature of its Grow with Google initiative, aimed at helping workers connect with job openings, as well as local training providers.  According to Google's blog post about the new feature, "...the challenge we’re working to solve now: to help people find useful information about the skills and training they need for a job, and better connect them with local resources that can help them realize those opportunities".  The post goes on to say, "We’re starting a pilot of Pathways in Virginia, where we’re partnering with leading organizations in this ecosystem including the State of Virginia, the Virginia Community College System, local employers, and many others to make these local programs more discoverable through Search".  Google is also piloting this new feature with partner, Goodwill Industries. Google engineers will work with Goodwill to ensure their local education and training programs are easily found on the open web.  

This is something to keep an eye on, whether you're located in Virginia, or near a Goodwill Center.  I encourage those who are in these pilot regions to test how this is working, and share your feedback with us here, and directly to Google.  It will be interesting to see if this has an overall impact on enrollment in adult education and career pathways programs in the regions where it is being piloted.  

Best,

Mike Cruse

Career Pathways Moderator

michaelcruse74@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

Comments

Alison Ascher Webber's picture
Ten

Hi Michael,

Hi Michael,

Twice in the announcement, Google says that it will connect job seekers with "effective" nearby job training programs delivering the skills local employers need. I'm curious about how the criteria Google will use to determine which programs are considered "effective" and what data on program effectiveness would be provided to people using the platform.

Certainly just helping people more easily find training programs is important. But wouldn't it be amazing if they actually took on what they're claiming- to help give information that helps people find/decipher only the "effective" programs?

Best,

Alison

Michael Cruse's picture
One hundred

Hi, Allison -

Great to hear from you, and thanks for your original tweet about Google's Pathways Search Feature.  I agree that it would be great to know more about how Google is defining effectiveness.  I wonder how we, as adult educators, can help define the effectiveness of these programs, and whether we even want to be in the business of making these determinations?  I've heard anecdotal stories of people having good and bad experiences in the same program, and realized that what works for some people doesn't mean it works for all people.  At that same time, I've also appreciated online restaurant reviews when looking for a place to eat, so I can see the benefit of program reviews to job seekers looking for pathways programs.

I'm curious to hear from members what they think makes a good measure of effectiveness when evaluating career pathways programs?  Are post-program employment, or continuing education, the only measures we should consider?   Weigh in with your thoughts on how we can develop measures for effective programs!

Best,

Mike Cruse

Career Pathways Moderator

michaelcruse74@gmail.com

  

  

David J. Rosen's picture
One hundred

Mike, you have asked us to "Weigh in with your thoughts on how we can develop measures for effective programs!" I'll get the ball rolling, and would also like to hear from others.

Here are four criteria we might consider for an effective career pathways program for adults who complete them. It helps them to:

  • Acquire and demonstrate needed knowledge and skills to perform well in at least entry-level jobs in their chosen career pathway
  • Get a job or better job with family-sustaining wages soon after completion of training, especially in a full-employment economy
  • Acquire knowledge and skills that are transferable to other jobs in their chosen career, or in another chosen career throughout their lives. These include excellent listening, speaking, reading and writing skills and comfort and competence in using computers, portable digital devices and the Internet, and a fearlessness in learning emerging technologies used in their chosen career
  • Acquire a range of "soft skills" or "employability skills" including how to find jobs, how present themselves effectively orally and in writing (application, letter of application, resume, how to interview well, etc.) and technical and work-related interpersonal communication and problem solving skills

David J. Rosen

Michael Cruse's picture
One hundred

Thanks, David, for sharing your four criteria.  I'd also like to hear from members what else they might add to this list.  Do you consider wrap-around services to be an indicator of effective programs?  

I also wonder what thoughts - and practices - you have for measuring these criteria?  While employment and enrollment outcomes are commonly used as metrics for evaluating program effectiveness, do you believe they capture the whole picture?  Are there ways we can measure the effectiveness of individual criteria, in order to show a more complete picture of the specific strengths of these programs?

Best,

Mike Cruse

Michael Cruse's picture
One hundred

This recently released CLASP report: Measuring Success in Career Pathways Research helps to shed some light on the question of how career pathways programs' success is currently evaluated, and what is missing from the data being collected on programs.  As always, feel free to share your thoughts on this report, or other aspects of measuring the success of pathways.

Best,

Mike Cruse