OVAE: Office of Vocational and Adult Education
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Career Guidance and Counseling Programs

What is a Career Guidance and Counseling Program?

It is a comprehensive, developmental program designed to assist individuals in making and implementing informed educational and occupational choices. A career guidance and counseling program develops an individual's competencies in self-knowledge, educational and occupational exploration, and career planning.

Why is Career Guidance and Counseling Key to the Delivery of Vocational-Technical Education?

Career guidance and counseling programs help individuals acquire the knowledge, skills, and experience necessary to identify options, explore alternatives and succeed in society. These programs better prepare individuals for the changing workplace of the 21st century by:

  • teaching labor market changes and complexity of the workplace
  • broadening knowledge, skills, and abilities
  • improving decision making skills
  • increasing self-esteem and motivation
  • building interpersonal effectiveness
  • maximizing career opportunities
  • improving employment marketability and opportunities
  • promoting effective job placement
  • strengthening employer relations
Who Benefits from Career Guidance and Counseling Programs?

Everyone benefits--youth and adults, male and female, disabled, disadvantaged, minorities, limited English proficient, incarcerated, dropouts, single parents, displaced homemakers, teachers, administrators, parents and employers.

Where are Career Guidance and Counseling Programs offered?

Everywhere--elementary, junior and senior high schools, community colleges, technical institutes, universities, career resource centers, correctional facilities, community-based organizations, human services agencies, community and business organizations, skill clinics, employment and placement services.

Where is Career Guidance and Counseling Working?

During 1997-1998, four career guidance programs were selected as exemplary in the following sites:

  • Dorchester District Two Career Development Initiatives, Summerville, SC
  • La Crosse Central High School Guidance/Career Center, La Crosse, WI
  • Lewis and Clark Community College: Career and Employment Services, Godfrey, IL
  • Rich South High School: Horizon Program, Richton Park, IL

Additionally, States implementing the National Career Development Guidelines have many success stories.

What are the Key Components of Successful Career Guidance and Counseling Programs?
  • A planned sequence of activities and experiences to achieve specific competencies such as self-appraisal, decision making, goal setting, and career planning
  • Accountability (outcome oriented) and program improvement (based on results of process/outcome evaluations)
  • Qualified leadership
  • Effective management needed to support comprehensive career guidance programs
  • A team approach where certified counselors are central to the program
  • Adequate facilities, materials, resources
  • Strong professional development activities so counselors can regularly update their professional knowledge and skills
  • Different approaches to deliver the program such as outreach, assessment, counseling, curriculum, program and job placement, follow-up, consultation, referral
What does the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Education Act Highlight about Career Guidance and Counseling Programs?
  • Ensures qualified leadership and supervision
  • Continues expenditures for program support
  • Ensures program quality and effectiveness
  • Requires career development and activities for special populations
  • Promotes counselor training and retraining
  • Encourages elimination of sex bias and stereotyping
  • Strengthens tech prep programs through recruitment, retention and placement
What are some Opportunities for Career Guidance Counselors under the Perkins Act?

Counselors have opportunities to participate in an education and training system that integrates academic and vocational education, to encourage individuals' greater participation in further education by articulating secondary and post-secondary education, to renew their commitment to servicing the most at-risk or disadvantaged of our society, to promote program outcomes and performance measures, and to respond to business and economic development.

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Last Modified: 06/18/2014