I had the privilege today to announce the launch of an extraordinary web-based tool that will help put Americans back to work. At the Goodwill Industries International Conference, I unveiled the Virtual Career Network, an online resource that connects current and prospective health care workers to jobs across the United States. Goodwill Industries International and other community partners will provide in-person support for job seekers in close to 100 sites across the country.
The health care field is booming and jobs are available now. We started this project in June 2010, and in that time alone, half a million health care jobs have been added to the workforce. In fact, health care is and will continue to be one of the fastest growing industries with the most in-demand occupations. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, health care job openings are projected to reach more than four million by 2015.
The Virtual Career Network, which can be accessed at www.vcn.org, is a one-stop for health care career information. Visitors to the site can find everything they need for more than 80 health care occupations. VCN users can use the platform to sign up for and complete basic, prerequisite courses online in areas such as math, English, chemistry and medical terminology. This centralized tool provides information on both paying for an education and turning existing experience into college credits.
Close to a dozen health care occupations featured on the site require less than one year of education and 37 careers require a two-year degree. The Virtual Career Network helps users find training and instructional programs in their area that will help qualify them for a job. In addition, visitors to the site can view job openings in their area.
This site will eventually go beyond the health care field. Specifically designed as an open-source platform, the Virtual Career Network will encourage additional organizations to contribute content, and the model can be replicated to meet the needs of other industries.
We are committed to getting every American into a good job and the VCN is one additional step toward that goal.
Jane Oates is the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training.