NCDA Connects to International Policy Development
By Deb Osborn and Rich Feller
Career development policy is a priority locally, internationally, and within NCDA. On the hour, career counselors and specialists see how job growth and human capital investments shape career choices. Career and college readiness, workforce development, and career transition strategies drive local workforce development board agendas. Lifelong guidance policy, access to quality career development, and career intervention innovation are the foci of recent conferences like those in Padova, Boston, Budapest, and Ottawa.
Conference Attendance – the Policy Making Table
Career counselors and specialists drive career competency attainment, and NCDA’s long-term plan articulates ways to tell that story to policy makers. Partnering to maximize NCDA’s brand, resources and initiatives will lead to greater awareness of and appreciation for the value of career counselors and specialists. Clarifying NCDA’s legislative agenda is essential to shaping policy issues related to social mobility, under and unemployment, income inequality, and educational access. Before being disbanded, NOICC’s national infrastructure and strategies shaped career development policy, practice, and training worldwide. With this background, representatives of NCDA attended four significant conferences in late 2011-early 2012 to advance the career development story, report on the its members work, and to sit at the policy making table.
Padova, Italy, September 11-13. Vocational Designing and Career Counseling. La.R.I.O.S. Institute. This international conference began with an opening session by Salvatore Soresi and Laura Nota of the University of Padova, Italy, Mary and Punkey Heppner from the University of Missouri, focusing on the challenges and opportunities facing clients in today’s world of work. Multiple panelists addressed issues of change, transition and need for supports in the workplace, colleges and universities, and schools. Competencies for the ever-evolving role of career professionals were also discussed. Many of the presentation slides are available at the website above.
Boston, November 5-6. Forging Career Policy for the Greater Good. Boston University. Ramimo Vuorinen delivered the keynote address, “Developing National Career Development Systems and Policies with Structural International Cooperation-Structures, Processes, and Activities of the European Lifelong Guidance Policy Network”. This session reported on the work of twenty-nine member countries within the ELGPN . Of the many rich presentations made, Jim Sampson’s “The Supply and Demand for Career Interventions as a Social Justice Issue” video is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=azeZJPY39nw. Joan Wills, offered remarks about the challenges of translating vocational psychology and career counseling research into career policy. Her earlier paper can be found at http://www.ncwd-youth.info/node/552 . Rich Lapan’s remarks “Career Guidance Activities and Counselors Help Students Succeed: Instituting Research-Informed Policy in Our Schools” drew from research at
Budapest, Hungary, December 5-7. The 6th International Symposium on Career Development and Public Policies. Organized by the Hungarian Lifelong Guidance Council and the International Centre for Career Development and Public Policy (ICCDPP), the Symposium aimed to build closer dialogues and linkages between career guidance policy makers in education, employment, economic development and social inclusion, and with strategic professional leaders and researchers. The four sub-themes for IS2011 were:
(1) Political, economic and social changes and the changing role of career guidance and career guidance policies.
(2) Lifelong guidance policy as a part of integrated human resource development policies – challenges and opportunities.
(3) The changing world and the changing role of career guidance – skills and competencies for lifelong guidance practitioners.
(4) Evidence-based practice; evidence-based policies.
Thirty-two country teams prepared advanced reports covering the four themes. Theme syntheses provided the basis for roundtable discussions, and conclusions were synthesized at plenary sessions. A Communiqué prepared by Prof. Anthony G. Watts recommended that, through ICCDPP and the International Association for Educational and Vocational Guidance (IAEVG), links should be strengthened between ELGPN and other symposium countries. It is recommended that the ELGPN in its next work program (2013-14) in collaboration with ICCDPP and other relevant research networks outside Europe, include the development of a policymaker handbook of impact evidence of career development services, and a guide to the possible elements of accountability frameworks. See also the Reflection released by Prof. Anthony G. Watts.
Ottawa, Canada. January 23-24, 2012. Cannexus 12.
At this conference both NCDA and CERIC shared the challenges of (1) advancing the career development industry into mainstream education, social justice, and the helping professions’ vernacular, and (2) defining who the organizations served in terms of present and future constituency groups. CERIC’s Survey of Career Service Professionals notes 32 different career practitioner titles across Canada. Both organizations have collected data about the status of career development in the respective countries. NCDA’s 2011 National Survey on Working America found that only one quarter (24%) of adults report that they have already visited a career practitioner and 86% of those found them to be helpful. Only 37% of respondents reported making a conscious choice when choosing a career while over half (56%) took the only job available, looked interesting at the time, or chose based on the influence of parents/relatives or friends. CERIC’s 2011 On-line Survey On Public Perceptions About Career Development and the Workplacefound that most Canadians deem access to professional career counseling programs as very (27%) or somewhat (52%) valuable, but when asked how likely they would be to use them, fewer Canadians are certain they would use them (16% very certain, 39% somewhat certain).
Long-Term Planning Initiative
Both NCDA and Cannexus see a need to advance career development policy leading to expanded access to career development resources to all populations. As the relationship among lifelong learning, engaged workers, and global competition molds workplaces, shapes career choices, and dictates labor market information, one of NCDA’s long-term planning initiatives is to continue exploring and investing in mutually beneficial international partnerships.
Deb Osborn, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Educational Psychology and Learning Systems department at the Florida State University, and a Nationally Certified Counselor. She was previously an associate professor at the University of South Florida for 14 years. She is a Fellow and President (2011-2012) of the National Career Development Association. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Rich Feller, Ph.D., is Professor of Counseling and Career Development and University Distinguished Teaching Scholar at Colorado State University, and a Nationally Certified Counselor. A Fellow and President-Elect (2012-2013) of the National Career Development Association, he received NCDA’s Eminent Career Award in 2009. He can be reached at Rich.Feller@ColoState.EDU
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