Two Examples of Upward Mobility Career Paths in the Rural Capital Area

No two people have the same exact career. In an increasingly diverse world the idea of rigid career ladders, where people move from entry-level to mid-manager to CEO positions, is quickly becoming outdated. Instead, Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area promotes the idea of a career lattice. Workers take individual pathways in their careers, sometimes moving up or down a lattice of options depending on life milestones or barriers, training interventions, and personal desire.

The Skill-Based Career Progression Lattice tool visualizes 20 lattices beginning with an anchor or entry-level occupation in the RCA. With four or five job options shown for each of the five career steps, there are easily 8,000 separate paths outlined by the tool.

The examples below outline a few possible career trajectories, highlighting options for residents to fill in-demand roles in the RCA based on transferable skills or increasing educational attainment. Analysis of Rural Capital Area Headlight data shows that logistics and business are two of the fastest growing occupation clusters in the region. The career paths shown begin with typical entry-level occupations in the logistics and business occupation clusters, a Light Truck Driver and an Administrative Assistant.

Example one outlines the possible career progression of a Light Truck Driver, with a median salary of $37,900. Each job in the progression represents a step upward based on salary and requires little additional education beyond a high school diploma. As an RCA target occupation, training funds are available for the certification required to become a Tractor-Trailer Truck Driver.

Example One: A Career in Logistics Based on Transferable Skills

Rural Capital Area Logistics Career Path

While the jobs in example one are shown in increasing pay order, career pathways are not typically a rigid progression where individuals must move up in exact order. In part, this is due to the fact that there is a band of wages for any given position. Cases may exist where a high-skilled worker in a prior position earns more than an entry-level person in a subsequent position. Additionally, workers are not motivated exclusively by income. Knowledge, interests, and passions also play a part in the career paths that individuals select. The arrows included in Example One provide some indication on how those interests may create transferable experience across the positions listed. In this case, transportation, customer service, and administration and management are some of the top knowledge areas required in these logistics occupations.

Example two below shows how upward mobility may be achieved through increasing educational attainment.

Example Two: Increasing Educational Attainment Opens New Opportunities in Business

Rural Capital Area Business Career Path

Administrative Assistants have a median salary of $33,500 in the RCA. Pursuing an associate degree in human resources is one avenue to gain the knowledge and skills necessary to become a Human Resources Assistant, which opens a variety of higher paying pathways based on transferable skills. Individuals may also choose to continue their education to gain skills missing from their resume. Business Operations Specialists require knowledge of computers and electronics while Management Analysts require a knowledge of psychology.

These are only two of thousands of pathways available in the tool. Visualizing a personalized career pathway can be the first step towards upward mobility and a higher wage, higher skill job. For each of the examples above, the highlighted jobs are projected to grow in demand and have hundreds of job openings in the next five years. For more information on the starting pay rates for these roles, growth projections, and industries of employment see the Skills-Based Career Progression Lattice tool.