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Career Ladder/Lattice General Instructions

Career Ladders and Lattices
How to Get Started
Career Ladder/Lattice Tool Overview
  • Step 1: Enter Job Information
  • Step 2: Place and Link Jobs
  • Step 3: Add Critical Developmental Experiences
  • Step 4: Finalize Your Career Ladder/Lattice
  • Appendix A
    Appendix B
    Introduction Top
    Career ladders and lattices are devices that help people visualize and learn about the job options that are available as they progress through a career. The Competency Model Clearinghouse offers the Career Ladder/Lattice Tool to guide you through the development of career paths for your industry. The tool is designed to be used in conjunction with the Building Blocks for Competency Models Tool and helps create materials that assist businesses, educators, and workforce professionals in outlining careers and the critical experiences individuals should acquire in order to progress through careers in an industry.
    Career Ladders and Lattices Top
    Career ladders and lattices consist of a group of related jobs that comprise a career. They often include a pictorial representation of job progression in a career (see example below) as well as detailed descriptions of the jobs and the experiences that facilitate movement between jobs. Career ladder/lattices are not necessarily organization-specific; they frequently span multiple organizations because movement within one organization may not be possible.

    Career ladders display only vertical movement between jobs. In contrast, career lattices contain both vertical and lateral movement between jobs and may reflect more closely the career paths of today's work environment. For example, the long-term healthcare industry career lattice below illustrates both vertical and lateral movement between jobs. The arrows leading from Home Health Aide to Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) to Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) to Registered Nurse (RN) portray vertical movement between jobs. The arrows between Home Health Aide, Personal and Home Care Aide, and Direct Support Professional portray lateral movement between jobs.

    Example Career Lattice for the Long-term Healthcare Industry

    Example Career Lattice for the Long-term Healthcare Industry

    Career ladders/lattices may be used in a variety of ways. For example, they may be used to:
    • attract individuals to an industry by showing potential career progression beyond entry points,
    • focus workforce development efforts,
    • show workers how different jobs interconnect within careers in an industry, and
    • inform workers about the training, education, and developmental experiences that would enable them to accomplish their career objectives.

    The Career Ladder/Lattice Tool enables you to build career ladders/lattices that outline critical experiences individuals should acquire in order to progress throughout careers in an industry.
    How to Get Started Top
    Before you begin building a career ladder/lattice, you will be required to create an account by establishing a User Name and password. Your account lets you save your career ladders/lattices so you can build, revise, or edit them at your convenience.

    The career ladders or lattices that you create will not be shared with the public or other users. Please see our Privacy Policy for more about how the information we collect is used and safeguarded.
    Career Ladder/Lattice Tool Overview Top
    The Career Ladder/Lattice Tool will guide you through the creation of career ladders/lattices that show different routes that employees can follow in order to develop their careers. Step-by-step instructions are provided on each page. In addition, you may review extra tips on how to proceed at different steps in the ladder/lattice development process by clicking on the links Additional Tips.

    You will be able to research jobs, place relevant data in the tool to describe jobs, and arrange job titles in a grid to reflect career progression. The tool is able to incorporate both vertical and lateral movement across jobs in a career.

    The tool requires you to choose an industry competency model to serve as the foundation for the career ladder/lattice you want to build. Therefore, the first step to building a career ladder/lattice is the creation or customization of a competency model using the Building Blocks for Competency Models Tool. The competency model you select in the Career Ladder/Lattice Tool serves to identify the competencies required for successful task performance in all of the jobs in your ladder/lattice. It will be included in the completed career ladder/lattice document.

    Once you have chosen an industry competency model, you must follow four steps to create the career ladder/lattice.
    • Step 1: Enter Job Information – This step helps you identify the important characteristics of these jobs.
    • Step 2: Place and Link Jobs – This step allows you to identify how people may progress through these jobs.
    • Step 3: Add Critical Developmental Experiences – This step allows you to describe the key differences between jobs in this career.
    • Step 4: Finalize your Career Ladder/Lattice – This step allows you to save and download your work, so you can share it with others for review and validation.

    Step-by-step instructions are provided throughout the tool, but the following sections describe each of these steps in greater detail.
    Step 1: Enter Job Information Top
    This step allows you to enter numerous pieces of job information that are important to incorporate into a career ladder/lattice. It is advisable to gather as much relevant information as possible about each job that you would like to include in your ladder/lattice before you start. You may want to print out the job information that you find so it will be easy to access throughout the ladder/lattice building process.

    For each job, you will be prompted to enter the following information:

    • Job Title
    • Job Level
    • Job Description
    • Perform Supervisory Duties
    • Education
    • Workforce Preparation
      • Duration
    • Work Experience
    • Can work experience and education substitute for each other?
    • Licensure
    • Certification
    • Salary/Wages
    • Employment Outlook
    • References

    See Appendix A at the end of this document for detailed descriptions of the job information fields.

    Job information is added to the ladder/lattice using the Enter Job Information tab on the main Job Information page. Job information can be typed directly into the job fields, selected from drop down multiple choice options, and/or copied and pasted from searchable web services (described below). While Job Title is the only required field, you are strongly encouraged to provide detailed information for all the job fields to maximize the usefulness of your completed ladder/lattice.

    To populate the Education, Workforce Preparation, and Work Experience job fields you must select from multiple choice drop-down menus. If a job's education, workforce preparation or work experience requirements are not represented in the multiple choice options, you may provide additional information related to these fields in your final Word document.

    Research Job Information

    Web Services
    One way to obtain job information using the tool is through a web services resource that compiles job information from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) database and America's Career InfoNet. This resource will allow you to search by state and select and view detailed job information on a job profile page. The web services resource will consolidate information from the occupational profiles found in the O*NET database and from the wage and outlook data provided by America's Career InfoNet. If the data are available, the job profile will contain the following pieces of job information:

    • Job Title
    • Job Description (including tasks)
    • Licensure
    • Salary/Wages
    • Employment Outlook
    To access this resource, click on the Research Job Information tab on the main Job Information page. Once this tab has been clicked, simply select the state in which the job is performed and use a keyword search to locate relevant jobs. From the list of jobs displayed, you may select up to five jobs for which you want to view job information. You may find it useful to compare and contrast information for more than one job using the web services resource.

    When the relevant job information has been found, you may either type, or copy and paste, the information from the job profile into the job information fields on the Enter Job Information tab.

    If you use these or other resources to gather job information, it is recommended that you document them in the References field on the Enter Job Information tab. For example, you may find it useful to list the job titles and job codes you searched and Web sites you visited to keep a record of where you acquired relevant job information.

    Certification Finder
    Another way to obtain job information is to use the Search for Certifications link on the Enter Job Information tab. This resource will allow you to use the America's Career InfoNet Certification Finder tool to obtain specific certification requirements for the jobs included in your ladder/lattice. The Certification Finder allows you to search for certifications by keyword, industry, or occupation. Once you have located relevant certifications, you may either type, or copy and paste, the information from the Certification Finder into the job information field on the Enter Job Information tab. Be sure to include enough detail about the certifications to make the final career ladder/lattice useful to your end user. For example, you may want to include the name of the certification, a brief description, requirements, and contact or Web site information.

    Once you have entered the job information for a job in your career ladder/lattice, click on Save Job which will save the job to a Job Titles box. You are now able to:

    • Add more jobs to the job titles box
    • Remove jobs from the job titles box
    • Edit existing jobs
    • Place and link jobs
    Once you have at least one job listed in the Job Titles box, you may proceed to placing the job(s) in the ladder/lattice grid by clicking Place and Link Jobs.
    Step 2: Place and Link Jobs Top
    This step allows you to create the ladder/lattice diagram by arranging job titles on a grid and establishing the relationships between jobs in the career.

    Place Jobs
    Initially, all jobs you added will appear in the Job Titles box. To move a job to the grid, highlight (click on) the job you would like to place on the grid, the destination grid cell, and then the Down Arrow arrow. To move a job back to the Job Titles box, click on the grid cell containing the job title you would like to move and then click the Up Arrow arrow. If necessary, you may add columns and/or rows to the grid by clicking on the Add Row/Add Column links.

    Jobs can be rearranged within the grid using the Create Ladder/Lattice function box on the left side of the screen. In order to move a job title, type the cell labels (e.g., A1, B2, C3) into the From/To boxes and click Move Title between Cells.

    Link Jobs
    Once placed on the grid, jobs may be linked using the Create Ladder/Lattice function box on the left side of the screen. In order to link jobs, type the cell labels into the From/To boxes and click Link Jobs. A link may be added from one grid cell to any other grid cells.

    After you click Link Jobs, an arrow will be displayed between the corresponding grid cells to represent movement between jobs. A single-sided arrow shows movement in one direction between jobs. A double-sided arrow shows movement in either direction between two jobs. To create a double-sided arrow you must create two single sided arrows. For example, if you want to display a double-sided arrow between cells B1 and B2, you must first link cell B1 to cell B2 and then link cell B2 to cell B1. An Double-Headed Arrow arrow will then appear on the grid between the two cells.

    Please note that you may delete a link between grid cells using the Create Ladder/Lattice function box by typing the appropriate cell labels into the From/To boxes and clicking Delete Link.

    Remember, you may add new jobs to the career ladder/lattice at any time either by clicking Add Another Job or using the navigation bar at the top of the screen to go back to the Enter Job Information step.

    Once you have finished placing and linking jobs, you may proceed to adding critical developmental experiences by clicking Add Critical Developmental Experiences at the bottom of the page.
    Step 3: Add Critical Developmental Experiences Top
    This step allows you to identify the critical developmental experiences (CDEs) that individuals should seek out as they prepare to move from one job to another. CDEs represent important differences between jobs in a career. Some CDEs represent concrete differences between jobs, such as in education or licensure requirements. Other CDEs reflect more subtle differences that exist between jobs, such as in skills or abilities. Some examples of CDEs are:
    • Educational requirements,
    • Work-related experience requirements (formal training, OJT, years of experience, etc.),
    • Licensure requirements,
    • Certification requirements, and
    • Skills to develop or tasks to perform that will prepare an individual for a new position.
    To add CDEs to a career ladder/lattice, you must first select the link between jobs where you would like to add CDEs. You may select the link in one of two ways. You may either:
    • click on the arrow that connects the two jobs or
    • enter the grid cell labels into the From/To boxes in the Create Ladder/Lattice function box on the left of your screen and click Add Critical Developmental Experience.
    Once you have selected a link, a text box will appear at the bottom of the page that allows you to type the appropriate CDEs. See Appendix B at the end of this document for tips on how to create CDEs.

    To help stimulate thinking about important differences between the jobs of interest, you may review the job information that you created for the linked jobs. Click on the Details of Linked Jobs link above the text box to display job information. You will be able to review only the information that you selected and/or entered in Step 1 of the career ladder/lattice development process.

    You may incorporate this information into the CDEs by either typing, or copying and pasting, information into the text box. Once you have finished adding CDEs to the text box, click on "Save" to add the CDEs to the career ladder/lattice information.

    Once you have added CDEs between jobs in your career ladder/lattice, you may proceed to the last step, which involves finalizing your career ladder/lattice.
    Step 4: Finalize Your Career Ladder/Lattice Top
    After establishing the CDEs for the links between jobs in the career ladder/lattice, you should view and finalize your work. The tool will display the completed career ladder/lattice graphic so that you may save it to your user account. Once saved, you may download the work in two ways:
    • PDF Document that includes your job descriptions and the ladder/lattice diagram.
    • Word Document that includes your job descriptions without the ladder/lattice diagram.
    Once downloaded into a Word document, you may make additional edits to the job information included in the ladder/lattice. However, any changes you make to the Word document WILL NOT be saved in your account.
    Appendix A Top
    Descriptions of Job Information Fields
    Job Title A designation that indicates an individual's official position in an organization. A job title often indicates an individual's authority and responsibilities as well as the activities and duties performed.
    Job Level Job level indicates position of a particular job within an organization or industry. Some examples of job levels are entry-level, mid-level, management-level, executive-level, or entrepreneur.
    Job Description A job description is a statement of the work performed in a job, how that work is accomplished, and why the work is performed. Job descriptions can include information regarding job tasks as well as the tools and technology used to perform tasks.
    Perform Supervisory Duties? Some jobs have a supervisory component that is not explicit in their list of tasks. Other jobs clearly list supervisory duties among tasks. A supervisor is responsible for the day-to-day actions of a group of employees and represents employee issues to higher level management.
    Education Most organizations have specific education requirements an individual must fulfill in order to be considered qualified for a position. Educational requirements vary by the organization and the type of job but some examples include a high school diploma, some college, post-secondary certificate, and Master's degree.
    Workforce Preparation Most jobs have specific training requirements an individual must fulfill to be considered proficient at a job. Many different types of training exist; some types are apprenticeship training, on-the-job training, and in-plant training.
    Duration Training requirements for jobs can vary widely in duration. Some formal training programs can last more than 10 years while others can last less than one month.
    Work Experience Work experience is the know-how an individual gains when working in a job. Some employers expect individuals to have prior work experience in a related job to be considered for a position.
    Can work experience and education substitute for each other? While some employers may establish both work experience and educational requirements, other employers may accept work experience in lieu of an educational requirement or vice versa.

    For example, one job may require both a Master's degree and 5 years of related work experience while another job may accept either a Master's degree with no related work experience or a Bachelor's degree with 5 years of related work experience.
    Licensure Licensure is a state's grant of legal authority to practice the profession within a designated scope of practice. Licensure prohibits anyone from practicing a profession who is not licensed, regardless of whether the individual has been certified by a private organization.
    Certification Certification is an often voluntary process where individuals meet established standards to demonstrate their competence, experience, knowledge and skill in a particular profession or occupation to employers and the public.
    Salary/Wages Salary is the amount of gross income a job provides for one year. If salary information is unavailable you can also record hourly wage estimates. A wage is the amount of income a job provides that is received on an hourly, daily, or weekly basis.
    Employment Outlook Employment outlook is an estimation of future growth of an occupation. Employment outlook can be represented by employment increase in number of jobs (employment in 2006 = 3,800 and estimated employment in 2016 = 4,830) or percentage of growth increase (27% percent increase in employment from 2006 to 2016).
    References Record resources and/or notes you may need when revising or updating this career ladder/lattice. For example, copy and paste searched job titles and related codes as well as links to Web sites used to complete the job information fields.
    Appendix B Top
    Tips for Creating Critical Developmental Experiences
    Writing critical developmental experiences (CDEs) is an integral part of building a career ladder/lattice. You should view CDEs as a means to help focus employee development efforts toward obtaining experiences established as important for other jobs.

    When developing CDEs it is important to proceed through the following steps:
    1. Think about the concrete differences between the linked jobs. Concrete differences between jobs include differences in education, licensure, and/or certifications.
      1. Identify which of these differences represent critical experiences that promote career progression.
    2. Think about the subtle differences between the linked jobs. Subtle differences between jobs include differences in the knowledge, skills and abilities required for task performance.
      1. Identify which of these differences are critical experiences that promote career progression.
    3. If possible, talk to incumbents in the target job to identify experiences obtained during their career that they feel contributed to their development.
    4. If possible, talk to supervisors of individuals in the target job to identify the experiences they view as relevant when considering prospective employees.
    5. Examine the tasks for the current position and for the desired position.
      1. What differentiates these two positions in terms of tasks?
      2. What are the actions employees could take to prepare them for the tasks in the target position?
    Remember, the more detail you can provide in the career ladder/lattice, the more valuable the ladder/lattice will be to your end user.
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