Technology occupations and “green” occupations—that is, those associated with conservation of energy and environment, the production of energy from nontraditional sources, and creation of products that are ecologically friendly—in greater detail (Reamer et al., 2009). A representative of the Social Security Administration told the committee that O*NET is not useful for this agency’s process of disability determination because it does not break out occupations in enough detail and also because it does not include detailed information on physical abilities (Karman, 2009). Human resource management professionals surveyed by the committee expressed a need for more narrowly defined occupations; the lack of greater detail discourages this community from using O*NET (see Chapter 7).

This chapter describes the evolution of both the O*NET and the SOC systems. It then discusses how users view and use the occupational titles in the current O*NET classification system that do not completely correspond to those in the SOC.


O*NET-SOC 2000

The first O*NET database, published in 1998, included 1,122 “occupational units.” The following year, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) (1999) mandated that all federal agencies collecting occupational data use the SOC system (see Box 3-1). In response to the OMB mandate, the O*NET classification system was revised, becoming O*NET-SOC 2000 (Levine et al., 2001).

O*NET-SOC 2006

Between 2000 and 2006, further development resulted in O*NET-SOC 2006, to advance two stated goals. The first goal was to increase correspondence between O*NET and the SOC, in order to (a) improve the efficiency and accuracy of data collection (by allowing improved targeting of job incumbents for sampling) and (b) assist users in linking O*NET data to other SOC-based data sources. The second goal was to identify new and emerging occupations in order to (a) reflect changes in technology and society, (b) serve workforce investment in high-growth industry sectors, and (c) meet user needs (National Center for O*NET Development, 2006a).

Advancing the first goal, O*NET-SOC 2006 reduced the total number of occupations from 1,165 to 949 and the number of occupations not corresponding to the SOC to 128. To achieve the second goal, the National

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