Sometimes, it’s who you know. Pat Gregan was working for a nonprofit agency where she helped others as a case manager and doing job development.
Part of her job required her to travel to job fairs. There, she often crossed the same type of workers employed by government agencies.
“One of them mentioned an opening with DES (Department of Economic Security) job services. They thought I would be a good job counselor,” she said.
Gregan joined the ranks of Arizona employment nine years ago. She currently is operations manager for Maricopa County’s Workforce Development.
Cities, counties, towns, states, school districts, special districts and the federal
government all offer job opportunities in a variety of areas. Jobs may be full time or part-time, appointed, elected, certified, professional or in the trades.
Government employees may drive a bus, clean the streets, manage a city or make laws. They may collect homework or taxes, oversee a hospital and its patients, or oversee a local park and recreation program and its participants.
Gregan said working for the state means more opportunities for transferring and promotions.
“Because the state and governmental agencies have so many employees there’s a lot of opportunities for promotions or transferring into other positions. You can utilize your skills set in a lot of different ways,” she said. “I think the training opportunities are better, too. Most governmental agencies have their own training department that has class offerings for employees more than the private sector companies.”
Local government employs twice as many workers as state government. Fire fighters and law enforcement make up the largest local government sector.
Another benefit, according to Gregan and the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics’ Web sit, is employer-provided benefits are more common in government jobs than in the private sector.
“I think there's relative job security with governmental employment. The benefits, because there are so many people on the various insurance plans, they're usually offered at a more reasonable cost than they are for private businesses,” Gregan said.
According to the Department of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, wage and salary employment in state and local government is projected to increase 11 percent during the 2004-14 period, slower than the 14-percent growth projected for all sectors of the economy combined.