Career Development Process

Career development is a lifelong process involving psy¬chological, educational, economic, sociological, and physical factors, as well as chance factors, that interact to influence the career of an individual. Cultural influ¬ences have not been adequately considered in theories of career development. However, research suggests that there are crucial factors among cultural groups in areas such as work values and career decision-making attitudes (Leong, 1995). Therefore, cultural factors should be included in the list of influences upon the career development of individuals.

Despite the importance and apparent complexity of the career development process, the latest survey by the National Career Development Association (NCDA; Hoyt & Lester, 1995) revealed that only about one third of the adults in the United States were in their current jobs because of conscious planning. Thus, the ma¬jority of adults entered their jobs because of chance circumstances. In addition, 28% of those surveyed in¬dicated that they would change their jobs within 3 years. Assisting an individual through the career de¬velopment process is a primary task of a vocational psychologist.

There are a substantial number of techniques and inter¬ventions a vocational psychologist may use to facilitate an individual’s career development. These techniques and interventions include individual and group career counseling, workshops, mentoring, testing (e.g., ability, interests, needs), job shadowing (i.e., following a worker in a desired job around for a day), interviews with var¬ious people (e.g., employers, workers, college admis¬sions personnel), apprenticeships, internships, school-to-work transition services, and use of career resources. One major career resource is the Dictionary of Occu¬pational Titles (U.S. Department of Labor, 1991), which defines and classifies occupations and the characteris¬tics of workers in each occupation. Typically, there are three major outcomes for these interventions; the mak¬ing of a career choice; the acquisition of decision skills; and/or enhanced general adjustments to the work sit¬uation, such as job satisfaction and success. The use of a theory of career development serves as a guide for the psychologist in the selection of assessment tools and techniques. Psychologists have developed several useful theories of career development.

Career Development Issues

A vocational psychologist studies many important issues that people might encounter in their career de¬velopment process. Often these same issues are what prompt an individual to seek the assistance of a psy¬chologist or career counselor. These issues include ca¬reer transitions (i.e., school to work, midlife changes, and work to retirement), work and well-being, job sat¬isfaction, career advancement, career coping strategies, networking, work motivation, and stress and burnout. Motivation and stress are two of the most common is¬sues of importance to the career development process.

Motivation to work varies from person to person. For many people, work is more than earning a wage. Most individuals share the basic human need for self-fulfillment through meaningful work. Choosing a par¬ticular career may fulfill other needs, such as status, security, or satisfaction. The type of tasks required for anoccupation, the working conditions (both physical and interpersonal), and the working hours re¬quired (e.g., shift work) may also influence motivation to work.

The work environment and the demands of work have the potential to be stressors that may interact with stressors outside work (e.g., family stressors). These stressors, as frequently cited in the literature, include poor physical working conditions (e.g. excess heat), work overload or underload, home and work pressures, job dissatisfaction, shift work, and poor relationships with colleagues or management. Stressors may also stem from the person. For example, a Type A person¬ality is characterized by excessive competitiveness and ambition, which may cause the person to experience greater occupational stress. Stress overload may result in burnout, which is the depletion of physical and men¬tal resources that results in nonproductive behavior, job dissatisfaction, boredom, accidents, or interpersonal conflicts.

Career Development Needs of Special Groups

There are some groups of people for whom circum¬stances or conditions require some adjustment in the usual career development process. Although the career development process must be somewhat individualized for each person due to unique characteristics and cir¬cumstances, there are commonalities generally shared by others within groups of people. Groups that may face some different experiences in the career develop¬ment process include women, ethnic and racial minor¬ity groups, persons with disabilities, delayed entrants into the work force (e.g. displaced homemakers. re¬turning military personnel. prior offenders), midlife changers (voluntary or involuntary), older workers, and gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals.

Compared with men, women experience special problems in their career development that have not been adequately addressed in the major career devel¬opment theories. Some progress has been made, as re¬flected in the work of Hackett and Betz (1981), Farmer (1985), and Fassinger (1985), for example. It is sug¬gested by these writers and others that women’s career issues are much more complex than are those facing men.
Diverse cultures may have different conceptions of the family, gender roles, and work-family relationships. For example, “career” may have a collective, not an individual meaning. Although it is important to under¬stand the meaning work and related concepts have for an individual’s racial or ethnic group, it is also impor¬tant to assess the salience of membership in a cultural group to better understand a person’s career behavior.

A person with disabilities is one who is usually con¬sidered different physically or psychologically from a normal person because of birth, developmental problems, accident, or disease. These disabilities may or may not be a vocational hindrance. An important recent development relating to individuals with disabilities and work is the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. In this act, a distinction is made between essential and nonessential job functions, and an employer may only consider the former when hiring or promoting. In vocational rehabilitation, psycholo¬gists and counselors will engage in all or some of the following activities when working with a client: voca¬tional testing, situational assessment (work sampling, vocational evaluation), skills training, employment preparation, counseling, job referral and placement, work adjustment training, and postplacement counsel¬ing.

It must be noted that the identification of group dif¬ferences and cultural and environmental influences in the emergence of those differences cannot be trans¬lated into definite conclusions about individuals who are members of identifiable groups. All individuals are influenced to varying degrees by their environment, but psychological research has shown that differences between persons within a group typically exceed the degree of difference between groups. Therefore, although the exploration of group influences can advance the understanding of career development. it is important for the vocational psychologist not to extend these findings rigidly when working with indi¬vidual clients.

Current Trends in Career Development

Putting the FTAA in place would seem to increase the free flow of trade and generate new markets in North, Central and South America. A new range of job opportunities should open with the passing of the FTAA, and this should certainly have a positive impact on the United States, especially considering the shape the economy has been in these last few years. Free trade can also help the countries in Central and South America. “Opening the services sector in those countries would most benefit U.S. companies working in the electric power, air cargo, electronic commerce, telecommunications, banking and insurance businesses” (Mekay, 2003, p. 2).

The major question lies in the capabilities of the US firms and whether they would be able to pick up and prosper in a struggling economy. Latin and South American markets are smaller than the US markets, so those firms that extend their business into foreign markets such as Latin America could greatly benefit from the FTAA. The FTAA may have a direct effect on poverty and the economy. Free trade would create opportunities in not so developed countries in Central and South America and would help decrease poverty. The US economy would benefit from increased production of their firms in foreign countries. Production would benefit both the foreign country and the parent country, the United States.

Current Trends in Career Development

The world of work has been changing rapidly in the last few decades due to modern technology, changes in the organization of work, shifting requirements for worker knowledge and skill, and a global labor surplus (Herr & Cramer, 1996). All these changes affect the career development of individuals over the life span. Current trends for the area of career development include the following:

1.Substantial changes will continue to occur in the occupational, economic, industrial, and social environ¬ments and structures, and these changes will influence individual career development. For example, the use and sophistication of technology have increased dra¬matically. New jobs are created, and the need for other jobs is reduced or even eliminated, thus requiring more workers to change jobs or even move to another oc¬cupational group.

2.As job opportunities shift, there will be more par¬ticipation in retraining programs.
3. There is a greater need for a better educated work force. There are fewer opportunities for an unskilled work force because the jobs they do are done for less money in underdeveloped countries. A survey by the National Alliance of Business (1990) found that 64% of the companies responding were dissatisfied with the reading, writing, and reasoning skills of today’s enter¬ing work force.

4.Flexibility in work schedules (e.g., job sharing. part-time work) will likely increase, giving more options to workers with needs.

5.There will be even greater attention to the career development of a more diverse population. The work force today includes more women, members of racial and ethnic groups, openly homosexual and bisexual in¬dividuals, transgender (LGBT) and persons with distinct types of disabilities.

6.There is a greater awareness of the need to at¬tend to career development issues across the life span.

7.As the “baby boom” cohort approaches the tra¬ditional retirement age, there is an increasing interest in research concerning the decision to retire. Although financial status is a critical factor in the decision to retire, physical limitations and health problems and psychological factors such as satisfaction with career attainment and anxieties about separation from the workplace also play a role.

Issues and Trends in Career Planning and Placement

Global marketplace, corporate downsizing, leveraged buy-outs, demographic shifts, environmental scanning–these are key terms for the modern-day career planning and placement professional who must be in touch with them to effectively serve student and employer constituents.

Heading into the 1990s and beyond, the career planning professional are confronted with several major issues and trends. Our nation’s population is shifting and our economy has a decidedly global orientation. Computer technology is playing an increasingly pervasive role in career counseling. Career planning professionals are being asked to interpret employment trends, articulate the value of institutional education programs to student and employer audiences, and meet changing customer needs as never. A discussion of five serious issues and trends that are significantly affecting career planning professionals follows:

CHANGING DEMOGRAPHICS
Key trends in our changing demographic picture that will involve career planning professionals include:
— A significantly smaller number of 18-to 24-year-old students than in years past.
— A growth of some racial minorities into majorities in many sections of the country. It is estimated that by the year 2000, our population will include 47 million Hispanics, 44 million Blacks, and 6 million Asian Americans. It has also been estimated that whites will be in the minority in 23 of 25 of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas.
— More than half of all jobs will be held by women.
— Significant numbers of people will be working part-time (Kauffman, 1988).
These demographic shifts will predictably bring with them significant changes in the needs of the employer and student constituents career planning professionals serve. The career planning professional will have to do more than merely extend traditional services to these clients; he/she will need to develop new services to meet their unique needs. Offering placement information in Spanish or Japanese and requiring career counselors to be bilingual cannot be far off.

THE INCREASING ROLE OF COMPUTERS IN CAREER PLANNING
While computers have been a part of the landscape of the collegiate career planning scene for many years, primarily in computerized guidance packages, the role that computer technology is playing has grown far beyond this narrow application. The need for a computer on every counselor’s desk is clearly the order of the day.

Computer Networking. The advent of a personal computer and a modem allow career planning professionals to tap into employment opportunities for their students from around the nation. A firm based in Seattle, Washington has created a system named JOBLINK which enables employers to centralize their job information for college career offices. Employers can post job opportunities and company profiles which can be accessed through a personal computer and a modem (Sinnott, 1988).

The Federal Government’s Office of Personnel Management has established a computer bulletin board listing job opportunity with the Federal Government. With a personal computer and a modem any career planning professional can access the system, download the information, and generate a comprehensive print-out of all available employment opportunities.

Career planning professionals in the cooperative education area have developed a similar national network, the system titled Cooperative Education Communications Network (CECONET), which already links hundreds of colleges and universities and employers for the common purpose of computer networking.

Database Applications. Colleges and universities across the country are using databases for the listing, storage, and retrieval of career information. Whether on a mainframe, mini-, or micro-computer, colleges are turning to database software systems to store and automate every aspect of their career planning operations. Student registration, employer job listings, scheduling campus interviews between students and employment recruiters, referral of student resumes to employers, credential files, and mailing list information for almost any purpose are all common database applications.

Desktop Publishing. Another major revolution computers have brought to career planning is the near typeset quality of documents that can be produced with a computer, a laser printer, and a desktop publishing software package. Career centers are now designing their own brochures, forms, stationery, and publications such as job vacancy bulletins, job hunting guides, and employment preparation handouts. Written communications of all sorts are being transformed using this innovative technology (DeLoughry, 1987).

Desktop publishing technology has significantly affected the career planning profession due to the high quality of the resumes that can be produced. Now for a fraction of the cost and with a speed and flexibility never before available, students can prepare a resume that appears to be professionally typeset (Antonoff, 1986).

A NEW ORIENTATION TO INTERNATIONAL EMPLOYMENT
Experienced leaders in the career planning field are recognizing the impact that our global economy is having on collegiate employment programs. In a recent article John Shingleton, former Director of Placement Services at Michigan State University, states:

In the world of employment, we are now dealing on a global basis rather than simply just a national basis. In order to meet the needs of the future, in terms of employment of college graduates, we’ve got to design a program that can speak to those needs (Shingleton, 1987).

The international status of our economy requires that career planning professionals expand their counseling orientation beyond regional, state, and national boundaries. In 1987 and 1988 a career fair, organized by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry of Japan and Boston University, brought together Japanese and American firms operating in Japan with graduating college students from around the United States. The career fair drew students with Japanese language skills from colleges and universities all over the United States. These students had employment interviews with up to eighty companies. This is just one example of international career planning and placement programs that are beginning to evolve (Oishi, 1988).

Internationalism is a trend gaining momentum and must be taken seriously by career planning professionals. The world economy has touched the career planning profession. Today it is imperative that career planning professionals stay current with trends in international employment (Kauffman, 1988).

VIDEO TAPE TECHNOLOGY
Most colleges offer some form of videotaped “mock interview program” to assist students in refining their interviewing skills. However, the uses of video technology have grown far beyond this application. Most career planning centers now have a comprehensive videotape library. Libraries contain tapes on employer organizations to assist students in preparing for employment interviews, self-help tapes on job search strategy, resume and cover-letter writing, and interviewing techniques. Most students, having grown up with the television, are accustomed to acquiring new information through the television. Career planning professionals must be comfortable and well versed in the use of video equipment to design effective career planning programs.

INCREASED EMPHASIS ON MARKETING
Because we study, live, and work in a world where marketing is all around us, career planning professionals must possess the ability to effectively communicate how their services are of value to their users. Because the public is so accustomed to receiving promotional messages, they adopt the view that a service that is not promoted is probably not available. The consequences of ignoring this “marketing imperative” can mean the decline of a program (Walz, 1988).

Marketing can be an effective method to stay in touch with the changing needs of students and employers and allow career planning professionals to design and offer programs and services that meet user needs. This is especially significant considering the nation’s changing demographic picture, and our evolving national economic outlook. Mergers, down-sizing, and economic shifts are causing employers to reassess their human resources needs on a regular basis. A comprehensive view of marketing can allow career planning professionals to remain in touch with the changing needs of the employers and students they serve (Kotler & Fox, 1986).

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Recently, I’ve been hearing much about STEM! Reports by Pocock (2013) and (Davis, 2012) highlight “The U.S. Education is Falling Behind.” Therefore, my interest peak to “why, the importance, and the benefits of STEM” as a growing part of education.  I decide to publish the entire article on my BLOG and refer as not to plagiarize. Why STEM Education is Becoming Increasingly Important!

Accordingly, it states, “the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) have grown significantly. In the next ten years, STEM jobs are expected to increase by 17 percent. Non-STEM jobs are only expected to grow by 9.8 percent. Between 2008 and 2018, careers in computer systems design and related services are forecasted to increase by 45 percent. These jobs rely heavily on education and skills such as math or problem-solving. Other careers in biomedical, network systems, data communications, and medical fields are also expected to grow dramatically.”

In the next ten years, STEM jobs are expected to increase by 17 percent. Non-STEM jobs are only

What is STEM?

According to (Davis (2012), the simplest definition is what it stands for, which is science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. There are many organizations that are dedicated to this topic and they define this with their own objectives. The ultimate goal of STEM education is to encourage students to take an interest in STEM subjects at an early age. This should be beneficial to them when they enter the jobs market, and in turn it should benefit the greater economy. It is a simple definition with a straight forward goal.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has compiled a list of STEM designated degrees. This list is intended for foreign students who are studying in the U.S. on a valid student visa so they may qualify for certain optional training programs. But this is also a good reference for American students, and it show that STEM can be integrated into a variety of interests.

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are an important part of education in a competitive global marketplace. In 2015, the United States educational system received some sobering news. The Program of International Student Assessment (PISA) ranked 15-year-old U.S. high-school students 40th in mathematics and 25th in science. These results were based on data from 71 participating nations. Some of the nations with higher student scores included much smaller and far less wealthy nations like Estonia, Slovenia and Vietnam. It was apparent that the U.S. educational system needed significant improvement in these areas if the students who would be the workforce of tomorrow were to have a competitive edge in a globalized, high-tech marketplace.

National and state educational policymakers renewed efforts begun in 2006 to improve the overall mathematics, science and technology literacy of U.S. students. These efforts became known as the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, or STEM, initiative.

Although many of the nation’s public schools had already begun a greater focus on mathematics and science as part of their core curricula, new academies as well as existing educational institutions took the focus one step further. Applying for, and receiving, government and private business grants set up for STEM education initiatives, these schools aggressively promoted the concept with the express goal of graduating students competent in a variety of STEM subjects.

Schools pursuing these goals explored a variety of approaches such as smaller class sizes of 10 to 12 students with a one-to-one student/computer ratio, inquiry-based teaching methodologies and an active partnership with technology businesses that provide real-world applications for STEM subjects. Other schools made electronic textbooks, Skype and video-conferencing an integral part of the educational experience. In the state of Washington, for example, private funding supports special scholarships for students who score particularly well in these subjects on state or college entrance exams. Scholarship recipients agree to further pursue these subjects in college and work in Washington’s STEM-related industries for a specified period of time after graduation.

Whatever innovative approaches were put into place, the STEM educational blueprint was paramount: integrating technology into the daily educational experience, specially trained teachers who knew how to best present these subjects, inquiry-based interactive teaching methodologies and, of course, a robust curriculum with adequate knowledge assessment practices.

Because of the government and business funding initiatives, becoming a STEM-designated school can mean access to significant financial resources. However, the specific criteria for becoming a designated school vary by state. There is the basic educational blueprint to which all designated schools must adhere, but each state has its own approach how to best follow that blueprint. As previously stated, many new academies and specialized schools have been launched that are essentially STEM schools. However, existing schools are also adjusting their curricula and teaching methodologies to win this designation.

Even though the initiative has solid support at the state and national level, not everyone is totally on-board with the extreme focus on STEM subjects. Some of these critics feel that elected officials and their business leader allies are trying to use the STEM education process to bolster the U.S. economy. There is no doubt that the jobs of tomorrow will mainly require high-skilled, technologically advanced workers. However, the education system may result in more qualified workers than there are jobs for them to fill.

Despite the critics, it is unlikely that state and national policymakers will rein in efforts to promote the curricula in as many schools as possible. State, national and private funding dollars are increasingly earmarked for this initiative, and there is a great deal of hope that the collective investment of these entities will result in superior mathematics and science literacy in U.S. students.

PISA evaluations take place every three years, which means that the 2015 data was being assessed for a 2016 release. Proponents and investors supporting STEM education will be looking closely at that data to see if the education policy changes and investment strategies have had the desired effect. If they have, then one can expect to see an even greater emphasis on STEM education in U.S. schools.

Creating the Future, higher salaries, growth!

 

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Davis, B. (December 9, 2012). What is STEM? https://www.stemschool.com/articles/what-is-stem-education

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Pocock, C. (June 9, 2012). WHY STEM EDUCATION IS BECOMING INCREASINGLY IMPORTANT
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http://www.nsf.gov/news/speeches/marrett/11/cm112005_drexelnrcreport.jsp