• Top 7 Recession-Proof Careers

    PEARSON ACCELERATED PATHWAYS

    Top 7 Recession-Proof Careers

    A growing number of financial experts are warning that the US is headed toward a period of economic decline, which historically leads to layoffs, bankruptcies, higher borrowing rates and a turbulent stock market.

    As such, many students are wondering how to prepare for the next economic downturn, especially those soon entering the job market. It can be difficult to start a career during a recession, but knowing which jobs have better survival odds can be helpful.

    Several factors can determine which jobs get cut and which remain secure during a recession, namely:

    • The degree to which the job is essential for society to function; and

    • The ability of that job to provide a clear consumer necessity

    If you’re wanting to focus on an education that leads to greater job security, check out this list of recession-proof careers.

    1. Healthcare Professionals

    During periods of economic turbulence, healthcare jobs have shown historic stability. According to a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, the healthcare sector has displayed steadiness during past recessions.

    Recessions can greatly affect the overall population’s health and well-being. Stress levels go up when people face financial hardships, which can lead to a number of medical, mental health and substance abuse problems, according to research published in the journal Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment. An influx of patients during a recession means that all medical professionals—from nurses, doctors, paramedics, pharmacists to therapists—will be needed to fill the demand.

    2. Accountants and Financial Counselors

    Money movement becomes more important as economic tides turn. During recessions, people increasingly look to financial professionals for advice and assistance. Faced with economic hardships, many take out additional loans or run up charges on their credit cards. Others find themselves trying to avoid bankruptcy or prepare finances from further impact.

    As a result, financial professionals such as accountants and debt counselors tend to see an increase in demand. Auditors also tend to stay busy during recessions as financial regulations, tax laws and other federal rules may change. While many financial careers require professional certifications in addition to a degree, such as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), seeking a major in finance or accounting can be a great step toward a recession-proof career.

    3. IT Professionals

    Even as economic tides shift, technology remains essential to a functioning society. All of the technology we count on—databases, smart devices, electric grids, information systems—remain necessary in order to keep goods and services flowing. As recessions kick in, some businesses look to ramp up technology as a way to offset expenses, automate jobs and lower overhead costs.

    As such, tech jobs tend to be more resistant to recessions. Jobs in networks, AI, automation, databases, communications, IT security and other computer systems can see an increase in demand, particularly for local systems that can't be offshored. In addition to job security, tech positions such as network administrators, data analysts, database engineers, programmers, developers and other IT specialists tend to offer excellent compensation and career advancement opportunities.

    4. Educators

    Teachers and educators also serve an essential function to society. As economic slowdowns occur and unemployment ticks upward, an influx of workers start to look for new training and education opportunities to compete in a tightening job market. Stanford economist Caroline Hoxby found that colleges and graduate schools saw higher enrollment numbers during the Great Recession.

    Investing in education and job skills will always be important, and demand for teachers and educators typically remains steady regardless of the state of the economy. Those who specialize in industries and markets that remain relevant regardless of the economic climate can see even stronger job security during recessions.

    5. Utility and Public Safety Workers

    Rain or shine, boom or bust, the need for electricity, gas, water, waste management, public safety and other essential services remains constant. As such, utility and public safety workers rank high among the list of recession-proof careers. This workforce ensures that the core services for day-to-day living continue operating, no matter what.

    Both public and private companies who supply utilities and safety services will continue to need employees who can operate these essential functions, especially as many workers are aging out of this field. Electricians, engineers, ambulance drivers, firefighters, law enforcement officers and other positions will need to be filled. There’s a wide range of careers to choose from in this sector. If you’re considering entering or transitioning into one of these careers, it’s a good idea to do some research to see which role has the most appeal to you.

    6. Social Workers

    When the economy declines, the need for social services increases as poverty, illness, unemployment, mental health challenges and other social ills arise. Social workers assist people dealing with a wide range of societal problems, and therefore see higher demand during recessions.

    However, job stability for social workers can also depend on government policy and local funding. As the economy declines, government budgets tighten. So, while social services are needed more than ever, the decisions on where funding is allocated can be a tricky matter. Still, the job outlook for social workers is expected to increase by 12 percent between 2020-2030. Even if funding is cut in certain areas, social workers can usually find job security during a recession by transferring to a different function or institution within their field.

    7. Legal Professionals

    Just like with social work and health services, the legal profession also tends to stay busy during tough economic times as crime, divorce, bankruptcy and other hardships occur. Lawyers, paralegals and legal assistants tend to see an increase in demand, particularly in certain areas of law. For example, Lawyers Weekly Jobs found that those who practice employment, healthcare, bankruptcy and cybersecurity law experience higher demand during recessions.

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of lawyers is projected to grow 9 percent from 2020 to 2030. In addition, lawyers are typically well-compensated, with the median annual wage at $127,990 in 2021. Although education requirements are more stringent to enter this field of work, the payoff and job security can be worth it. If you’re interested in studying law, check out these suggestions for a pre-law major.

    On average, recessions last 11 months. Depending on how far along you are on your education, it can be worthwhile to consider a career based on job security, especially as recession woes loom.

    Whether you’re entering the job market for the first time or making a career change, we can help you choose the right learning path to fulfill your goals and stay competitive in a shrinking job market. Check out how!

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  • Fast-Tracking a Degree – a Student Success Story!

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    Meet Maegan! This bright, driven student fast-tracked her bachelor’s degree and completed all of her Accelerated Pathways courses in just two years!

    Her success story is especially inspiring given her previous college experiences. Years ago, she made several attempts to complete her bachelor’s degree through traditional college programs; however, it never seemed to be the right fit. Maegan eventually decided to put her education on hold as she got married, moved into a new home, pursued personal projects and worked full-time.

    Maegan and her husband had dreams of eventually starting a family and moving to northern Colorado, but both plans required a lot of savings, which left no extra money for education. As luck would have it though, Maegan began working for a major telecommunications company that offered generous tuition reimbursement assistance to its employees.

    That became a turning point in Maegan’s student journey!

    Inspired by the possibilities of returning to college and advancing her career, Maegan decided to finish her bachelor’s degree through Accelerated Pathways. Having already completed some general education courses, she was set up for success and began to fast-track her learning with self-paced online courses.

    Now, Maegan has completed all of her Accelerated Pathways courses and transferred over to her target college to finish out her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration: Human Resource Management! We’re very proud of her success, so we decided to reach out to learn more about her student experience.

    Check out what she had to say!

    What made you want to go back to school?

    Not completing my bachelor’s degree has always bothered me. I realized one day during my work shift that I was no longer satisfied with the work I was doing. I wanted to do something I felt was helping people on a more impactful level, so I started to look at job postings online. That’s when I realized my options were limited with just a high school education.

    Why did you choose Business Administration: Human Resource Management as your major?

    I have had a strong interest in pursuing a career in Human Resources. Upon reviewing job postings for a position in my desired field, I discovered that degrees in Business Administration, Organizational Psychology or related fields were listed in the qualifications for the postings. I noticed a pattern of a degree in Business Administration being the most frequently mentioned and saw that this degree was versatile to use for other careers outside of human resources, as well.

    What was your experience with the Accelerated Pathways program?

    I had a very pleasant experience with the Accelerated Pathways program. I secretly wished, in a way, I could’ve continued taking the rest of my required courses through Accelerated Pathways rather than having to transfer to another school. I liked the convenience and the fact that it was self-paced rather than a structured class. As soon as I completed everything required for one class, I could immediately move on to the next one.

    What was your experience with the Accelerated Pathways team?

    Everyone I interacted with from the Accelerated Pathways team was very helpful. My academic advisor was only an email or a phone call away and stuck with me from the moment I first signed up for the program to the completion of my last course. I was regularly checked in on. There was always someone available to reach for help with student services or tech. They got back to me in a very timely manner.

    What time management techniques have worked for you?

    I am a full-time employee in addition to being a full-time student. I would set goals for myself on my days off. For instance, if I wanted to complete the notes and quizzes for the next two chapters, then I would focus on meeting those specific goals. I would take notes and/or read chapters during any downtime I had available, as well.

    Any advice you’d give to new Accelerated Pathways’ students?

    My advice to any new Accelerated Pathways student is to be straightforward with your academic advisor with your initial consultation. Be clear on what you are looking for – whether that may be the least expensive option or quickest timeframe. Also, once you get a breakdown of the classes you are set to take, discuss any concerns you may have with any of the listed classes.

    For example, my concern ended up being with two particular math courses I needed to take. Unfortunately, I did not vocalize my initial concern with wanting to take as few math courses as possible when we were putting my degree plan together. Later, I found out there could have been some alternate routes I could have taken had I made my concerns known at the beginning.

    The academic advisors for Accelerated Pathways are very knowledgeable and can provide you with options, you simply need to speak up about what you are looking to accomplish.

    How was the transfer process to your target college?

    The transfer process was easy due to guidance provided by both my academic advisor and the admissions person from my target college. My academic advisor provided a list of all my completed courses up until that point, which made the rest of the process easier for me to ensure that all my credits were transferred.

    How many classes do you have left until graduation?

    I have just eight classes remaining to complete my degree!

    Any post-graduation plans?

    After I obtain my degree, I want to apply for an internship program in my desired field and add both my degree and my internship training to my resume. My goal is to land a human resources entry-level position and work my way up from there.

    How has your education helped you in your career/life?

    Up to this point, I have had jobs, but not a career. I had a revelation three years ago in which I realized I wanted to do something different and work with internal customers (employees) rather than external customers. From there, I concerned myself with finding out what steps I needed to take to get there.

    This is my third attempt at trying to complete my bachelor’s degree. A few life situations have required me to put my education on hold. My education reminds me of a book that I have started reading a few times but have never finished. I am now determined to finish it and will use my experience as a testimony to my child, showing them the importance of finishing what you start.

    Thanks for sharing your fantastic journey with us. We’re so proud of you!

    __

    Ready to be our next student success story? At Pearson Accelerated Pathways, we love helping students accomplish their life goals. We make it easy for busy working adults to start or finish their education by offering flexible, self-paced online courses. Get started today!

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  • Which Job Skills Will Survive the Future of Work?

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    As the future of work continues to evolve with every innovation to technology and shift in society, both employers and employees will need to understand which job skills will be relevant in the future.

    Recently, Pearson and People Matters collaborated on the 2022 Power Skills Survey of 180 organizations across 10 counties to gain a better understanding of the power skills (skills that will power the future of work) for 2022 and beyond.

    Power Skills of the Future

    In their discovery, they found that human-centric, people-based skills will be in high demand as talent needs shift and harmonize with technological change. In particular, the following skills are projected to grow in demand: leadership, collaboration, adaptability, digital fluency and critical thinking.

    Top 5 power skills to look out for in 2022

    In addition to these skills, the World Economic Forum also includes self-management and complex problem-solving as work skills of tomorrow. And while these types of soft skills have always been considered important in the workplace, demand is growing for core human-centric abilities as automation and AI take over many previous job functions.

    Automation outdating hard skills?

    By 2025, over half of all workplace tasks are projected to be carried out by machines. The Future of Jobs report predicts that some 75 million jobs worldwide will be lost by 2022. However, 133 million new jobs will be created. In the transition, workplace talent demands will shift from hard skills to soft skills.

    The pandemic made this change in skill demand more apparent, as remote work and other new workplace adaptations were required by organizations. As Zahira Sughra Zainuddin, Head, Group Strategic Business Alliance, Petronas noted, “Whilst COVID-19 has certainly accelerated the need to reskill our human capital, it is a necessity and priority we had already identified prior to the pandemic. This is because the way of working has shifted, and there is a real need to apply different workforce skills in a more digital and agile world.”

    With advanced technology and societal changes eliminating jobs and creating others, the need to relearn is becoming a constant and soft skills are becoming more critical to success. Future-proofed skills are ones that no technology can replace, and inherent human attributes that can’t be coded, such as communication and emotion, will continue to see higher demand.

    Investing in the skills of the future

    As such, more organizations will need to invest in the skills that impact the future of work. According to Greg Miller, Executive Director, Faethm, “Many organizations today are facing increasing workforce disruption, as skills gaps grow and as past workforce planning tactics prove less effective in an increasingly digitalized workplace. HR and L&D leaders need clear, comprehensive data to confidently predict future skills needed so that they can make the right recruitment and reskilling decisions.”

    Reskilling employees for jobs of the future is not just important to commercial success, it’s also instrumental in improving social mobility – a key factor in reducing inequality and meeting diversity, equity and inclusion goals. A new report found that a 10% improvement in global social mobility would boost economic growth by nearly 5% over the next decade. And as traditional pathways from low- to high-wage work begin to disappear, workplace educational programs will play a key role in fostering upward mobility.

    The challenge in closing skill gaps

    But while most companies understand that reskilling is the key to success and business survival, many are still challenged by a lack of organization-specific data to back up the need for reskilling – or they have limited budgets and time to support continuous skill-building.

    Reskilling requires a higher level of organizational assessment, and many companies struggle with either not knowing how to identify skill gaps or how to go about launching an effective learning program to address their future needs. Readiness timelines can complicate matters further, as some skill gaps can be filled faster than others. For example, it could take just one to two months to acquire proficiency skills for certain emerging professions and up to four months to move employees into more tech-savvy roles.

    Time needed to start building new skills online in jobs of tomorrow

    To overcome these challenges, many organizations are turning to outside expertise. Recently, Pearson acquired Faethm’s state-of-the-art AI technology to help organizations find effective reskilling solutions. First, by conducting a skills gap analysis to identify core lacking competencies within an organization, and then by creating a strategic skills roadmap—targeting individualized learning plans through Accelerated Pathways, Pearson is able to connect employees with the right reskilling and job advancement pathways.

    Interested in learning more? Find out how we help organizations build a workforce that’s more competitive, engaged and prepared for the future!

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  • Managing PTSD as a Student

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    Managing PTSD as a Student

    June is PTSD Awareness Month, and we’re hoping to encourage open and honest discussions that promote mental health and wellness—this month and beyond. Did you know that up to 17 percent of college students suffer from PTSDThat’s higher than the percentage in the general population.

    What is PTSD?

    The American Psychological Association defines PTSD as an anxiety problem that develops after experiencing extremely traumatic events. The symptoms can manifest in similar ways to other mental health disorders, but there are some specific signs that help psychologists identify those suffering specifically with PTSD.

    Here’s what the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) outlines as the four main PTSD symptoms:

    1. Re-experiencing symptoms, for example:

    • Recurring and intrusive memories of the trauma

    • Flashbacks where the person feels or acts as if the trauma is recurring

    2. Avoidance symptoms, for example:

    • Avoiding reminders of the traumatic experience, including people, situations, places, or objects

    • Repressing or ignoring emotions or thoughts related to the event

    3. Arousal and reactivity symptoms, for example:

    • Outbursts of anger with little provocation

    • Reckless or self-destructive behavior

    4. Cognition or mood symptoms, for example:

    • Inability to remember important details of the event

    • Exaggerated negative beliefs, such as thinking no one can be trusted

    An understanding of PTSD dates as far back as far as 50 B.C., when Hippocrates wrote a poem about the experiences of a soldier returning home from war. And while PTSD is commonly known as something associated with soldiers, it affects more than just those with battlefield experience. For example, those who have experienced sexual assault are twice as likely to suffer from PTSD and those who have experienced abuse and neglect as children may also have symptoms associated with PTSD, such as intrusive memories, flashbacks, nightmares and difficulty concentrating.

    Can PTSD affect learning?

    study by the Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience at Rutgers University-Newark shows that PTSD can influence learning. Exposure to traumatic events may lead to difficulty in paying attention and maintaining consciousness, which are crucial to success in education. Experts have noted that those suffering from trauma, in general, may have lower learning outcomes and higher rates of learning difficulties.

    Here are the main learning difficulties students suffering from PTSD may experience:

    Memory

    • Remembering new terms, facts and past details can be harder for those who are dealing with trauma. Even important logistical information, such as appointments and schedules, can sometimes be harder to keep track of as PTSD is known to affect memory.

    Attention

    • Disorganized thinking and problems with attention can make it difficult to concentrate on information, especially when it is new and unfamiliar. PTSD can lead to problems with concentration and therefore difficulty with reading comprehension and absorption of learning material.

    Problem-solving

    • Other symptoms of PTSD, such as avoidance, can make it challenging to solve problems. Executive functions may also be impacted, which are the mental skills needed to plan, manage and execute everyday actions.

    How can I manage PTSD as a student?

    Going to college with PTSD can be a struggle, but many find ways to manage it and even learn new coping strategies along the way. To manage PTSD as a student, it’s important to first recognize the specific signs and symptoms you’re experiencing, such as an inability to concentrate or amplified feelings of aggression.

    study published by the National Library of Medicine outlines several techniques that can help students to manage their PTSD. Here are just a few:

    Relaxation Training

    • Relaxation training involves teaching students deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation and positive imagery to help them manage their PTSD symptoms. These skills are transferable to the classroom, home and other locations where PTSD symptoms may be triggered.

    Cognitive Restructuring

    • Cognitive restructuring focuses on ways in which the experience of traumatic events may have affected the student’s cognition of the world around them. Feeling threatened or frightened can especially lead to difficulty in functioning at school. Cognitive restructuring allows students to practice awareness of their automatic thoughts in various situations (like those that provoke anxiety) and then begin replacing these negative thoughts with more helpful and accurate ones.

    Trauma Narrative 

    • Developing a narrative of the traumatic experience can enable those suffering from PTSD to process what they’ve been through. By recounting events in writing or even with pictures, the trauma memory becomes more manageable. A trauma narrative can help students to express what happened and work through some of the thoughts and feelings associated with it.

    Although PTSD treatments are known to be effective, most people who have PTSD don't get the help they need. As one former-Marine and graduate from the U.C. Berkeley put it, “If you are having a hard time, seek professional help and don’t be stubborn.” A mental health professional can help you try out different coping mechanisms and find the right methods that work for you.

    If you’re a friend or family member wanting to help someone with PTSD, here are some things you can do to offer support. The Department of Veterans Affairs also offers helpful resources and ways to raise PTSD Awareness during #PTSDawarenessmonth and beyond.

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