We Still Make Career Decisions Based Partly on Gender


by Maria Vittone~

Without being conscious of it, we still make career decisions based partly on gender. If we do choose to break the gender mold, it is often a difficult decision that brings men and women up against social barriers that they may not have considered: male/female communication styles are different; unconscious bias and discrimination often exits; there could be a lack of support from family, friends, and society in general; and this is often accompanied by a lack of self-esteem.

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Photo by henri meilhac on Unsplash

Because of these barriers, it is important to support those students who are breaking the gender mold. In my work for Hennepin Technical College and North Hennepin Community College, we are in the process of designing wrap-around services for our nontraditional students which will include a match with a professional mentor in their field, peer support groups, and supplemental professional career guidance. Check out these peer support group resources:

We are also working on updating and developing career self-assessments for both genders with the hope that this may broaden our student’s ideas of career choice. These self-assessments will determine a student’s interest level in a nontraditional career and then point them in the right direction to gather more information.

By understanding the pros, cons, and developing the interpersonal and professional skills needed to succeed in a nontraditional career, it is our hope that our students and future generations will have a wider array of career options and satisfying careers, with a greater earning potential than generations before them.

On a personal note, this position is an interesting crossroads for me when I think about being a career counselor and the daughter of a male nurse. My father went to nursing school in the early 1960’s. I recall so often having to convince people that, “No, I didn’t make a mistake; my Dad was not a doctor, he was a nurse.” Only 2.7% of nurses were male at that time. Currently, the percentage of male nurses is still shockingly low, at 9% despite 50 years passing. Continuing the family tradition of passing along the option of having a nontraditional career, my two daughters hear me talk, albeit ‘ad nauseum’, about my mission to make sure that they too consider all of their career options.

My go-to resource for current trends and ideas for increasing women’s representation in STEM is the National Institute for Women in Trades, Technology and Science.  (I stop everything to read their monthly newsletter!)

This is my most recent favorite article that showcases men in nursing.

Have you considered all your career options? Take the Career Assessment for Women to find out.


Maria is Nontraditional Student Support Consultant for Hennepin Technical and Community College and North Hennepin Community College, helping to encourage men and women who are pursuing a nontradtional career for their gender.

Which High-Paying Jobs Don’t Require a Degree?


by Denise Felder ~

Maybe you’ve heard – The job market has changed.

Most good paying jobs now require a college degree or some other type of postsecondary credential, like an apprenticeship. That means that there are fewer jobs available to someone with only a high school diploma today than there were 20 or 30 years ago. Continue reading

A Shot in the Arm for a Career in Nursing


by Tim O’Neill~

It’s funny how my new job has given me a new perspective on my old job.  Prior to becoming a regional labor market analyst with DEED, I was employed as a surgical support specialist at a Twin Cities hospital.  While I love what I’m doing now, our data show that pursuing a career pathway to nursing would have been an excellent decision!

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Skilled Trades That Allow You to Travel


by Monica Gomez ~

You might think that finding a job that allows you the freedom to travel requires a four-year degree, or even a more advanced education. However, there is good news for those who are interested in working in a hands-on environment. Skilled-trades workers have a number of opportunities to travel for their job. And these jobs often do not require a degree.

Here are just some of the blue-collar jobs that allow you to travel for work.

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Students Are Not Robots! Using Technology to Create Meaningful Communication


by Eric Chester ~

When I was a teenager growing up in the 70s, my father wanted me to get a much better education than the 10th grade education he had to settle for during the Great Depression.

To scare me into studying harder, Dad would tear out pages of the futuristic monthly magazine, Popular Science, and lay them on my bed to show me that computers would someday take over the world. And if I couldn’t use a computer, someday I would be replaced by one.

Dear old Dad was smarter than I thought back then. His prediction has become a reality; at least, for me it has.

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Manufacture a Career in the Southwest (Minnesota, that is)


by Luke Greiner~

When people think of the jobs that can be found in the manufacturing industry, they typically focus on a relatively short list of only production occupations, such as assemblers or welders.

This makes sense, as nearly 60% of all occupations in manufacturing are classified as “production” jobs in Southwest Minnesota. That means that over 40% (or 16,320 manufacturing occupations) are not. Instead, the manufacturing industry offers a diverse and well compensated mix of occupations.

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Creating a Career and Education Plan


by Tricia Dahlman ~

The career and education landscape is changing. Recent Minnesota legislation now requires all students starting in 9th grade to have a Personal Learning Plan.   10s08jc0086The plan should include these key elements:

  • academic scheduling
  • career exploration
  • career and employment-related skills
  • community partnerships
  • college access
  • all forms of postsecondary training
  • experiential learning opportunities

Most schools already address these areas in a variety of ways. The new legislation is an opportunity to formalize some activities or add new areas to what is already done. The creation of a plan will help engage students by recording what they learned about themselves and their future choices. Continue reading