Ferguson’s Career Guidance Center Brings Home Gold Distinction in the 2021 MLA Awards: Q&A with the Editor

Ferguson’s Career Guidance Center Brings Home Gold Distinction in the 2021 MLA Awards: Q&A with the Editor

James Chambers, Editor-in-Chief of career exploration and guidance resource Ferguson's Career Guidance Center

James Chambers, Editor-in-Chief of Ferguson’s Career Guidance Center

Ferguson’s Career Guidance Center recently received Gold distinction in the 2021 Modern Library Awards (MLAs), sponsored by LibraryWorks. Each year, the MLAs recognize the top products and services in the library industry in a truly unbiased format. We were delighted by the honor and decided to speak with James Chambers, Infobase’s Editor-in-Chief of Ferguson’s Career Guidance Center, to get his thoughts on what makes the recently relaunched database so valuable and unique. 

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What do you think makes Ferguson’s Career Guidance Center stand apart from the competition?

JC: The overall user experience for Ferguson’s Career Guidance Center surpasses that offered by any competitive products. No competitor provides the comprehensive reference information, resources, and tools for career exploration and planning found in Ferguson’s, which supports every stage of career development from high school to the world of work. With a new, improved design, Ferguson’s presents all of the core content and tools at users’ fingertips on the home page and in the persistent main navigation, making it easier than ever to use.

Students may use Ferguson’s to assess their career interests and goals then match them to possible careers—and then plan the education needed to reach their career goals, research schools, and identify financial aid. The database supports every step of the career exploration and education/career planning process, including opportunities available as apprentices and internships. For job seekers, Ferguson’s provides advice articles, document templates, and videos for writing cover letters and résumés, interviewing, and networking, as well as deep content on perfecting soft skills, which are in high demand among almost every employer. 

While its comprehensive functionality marks one of the database’s great strengths, Ferguson’s also contains several unique and proprietary elements that make it even more valuable and helpful to users. More than 1,200 articles about industries and professions paired with 235 Career Q&A video interviews with working professionals, all proprietary to Ferguson’s, deliver unparalleled reference material for students researching careers. Our exclusive, proprietary databases of apprenticeship and internship programs, coupled with expert articles about the pros, cons, ins, and outs of these programs, help students find the experiences they need for career success. 

Ferguson’s also offers articles and resources to help minorities, people with disabilities, and women navigate workplace issues specific to them and locate associations for educational and professional aid and mentorships. Additional articles and a live job board that allows users to search openings across the nation make Ferguson’s uniquely equipped to help those just beginning to think about a career, those preparing for it, those entering the workforce, and even those seeking to switch to a new career or advance their current one.

Ferguson’s Career Guidance Center has received a number of other honors. What are some other awards it has won? 

JC: Ferguson’s Career Guidance Center has been recognized by Booklist as an Editors’ Choice Reference Source. Library Journal awarded it “Best Database” in two categories: Best for Job Resource and Best for High Schoolers. And now, LibraryWorks’ Modern Library Awards noted it as a Gold Honoree. In addition Ferguson’s has been positively reviewed by American Reference Books Annual, Choice, KLIATT, School Library Journal, and other esteemed publications. The Ferguson’s team works hard to deliver the best database possible so we’re greatly appreciative of the recognition for the work we do.

The MLA Awards judges hailed from public, K–12, and academic libraries. What do you think are Ferguson’s Career Guidance Center’s top features for users from each market?

JC: The key to Ferguson’s success is that it provides core reference content and tools for users in each of these markets.

In the K–12 arena, career exploration is an increasingly important part of the curriculum. Workplace skills, or “soft skills,” are now being introduced as early as middle school. For career exploration, Ferguson’s provides two Career Interest Assessments students can use to identify careers that match their interests and then learn about them in detail from our many industry and professions articles and videos. To understand the basics for workplace success, they can use in-depth articles, exercises, and tips to learn and master communication skills, problem-solving skills, research skills, teamwork skills, and much more.

As students approach high school graduation, they will find a wealth of information for researching and applying to colleges, seeking financial aid, or researching and applying for apprenticeships. Those directly entering the workforce can rely on expert guidance for writing cover letters and résumés, interviewing, and networking to land a good job.

For public libraries, Ferguson’s Career Guidance Center is an essential component of any career center, especially in times of unemployment and uncertain economic conditions. Job seekers will find much of the job-search and workplace skills content helpful as well as the up-to-the-minute job board that allows them to search for openings anywhere in the United States. 

Oftentimes, people seek to change their career. They may desire more fulfilling work, need to land a new job to relocate, or simply want to shift to a more promising career path. Ferguson’s Career Guidance Center provides all the information they need to identify a new career that matches their interests, skills, and experience, and find a way to get their foot in the door, making it invaluable to public library patrons relying on library resources to help their job search.

In academic libraries, Ferguson’s reference content provides the best, most current information on industries and professions, their history, and the outlook for the future as well as on basic workplace skills. It’s an essential reference for anything and everything related to careers, job seeking, and college-and-career readiness.

Do you have anything else to add?

JC: Ferguson’s dedication to curated, original, and proprietary content ensures that it keeps pace with the ever-changing job market, employment trends, and economic issues. Some of the new professions added to the database within the last year include Augmented Reality Developers, Blockchain Developers, Contact Tracers, Full Stack Developers, Personal Privacy Advisors, Remote Health Care Engineers, and many other emerging professions, several of which have taken on new significance during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have also been able to include information on how COVID-19 has affected colleges, industries, professions, networking, and other career-related areas. The Ferguson’s editors update and add new content on a regular, ongoing basis, helping our users to find the information they need and often keeping ahead of other sources such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics, O*NET, and competitive products. We strive to provide the industry-leading product for career reference and resources. 

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