By Jeff Vedders

Concerned about recent layoffs? Take a look at O*NET Online –

This is a web site designed for the U.S. Department of Labor by the O*NET Consortium.* According to the O*NET web site, O*NET is a comprehensive database of worker attributes and job characteristics. It is the replacement for the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT).

Information on O*NET is available for over 950 occupations. The titles and codes are based on the most current version (1999) of the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system.

O*NET has two primary audiences in mind – businesses/organizations and individual job seekers. For an economic development professional, the site is useful in several ways. For example, if your area recently experienced a major plant closing and you have a rough idea of the available workforce skill sets, you can use O*NET Online to find occupations with similar skill sets and connect them back to industries. Let’s say several machinists are looking for work. You can use this tool to not only find out what skills are required for machinists, but also that materials inspectors, mechanical inspectors, mechanical engineering technicians, welder-fitters, as well as six other occupations require similar skill sets and experience.

The tool can also be used for workforce development. For example, if you are targeting a specific type of industry, you can use this tool to determine the required skills. If you are trying to attract software companies, by using this tool you will find that considerable education and experience is required.

*The O*NET Consortium consists of the O*NET Management Partnership (the North Carolina Employment Security Commission, the Center for Employment Security Education and Research, and the Employment and Training Administration) and the National O*NET Support Group (the National Center for O*NET Development, MCNC, the Research Triangle Institute, and the Human Resources Research Organization). Their web site is