ERIC Identifier: ED414514
Publication Date: 1995-00-00
Author: Marceau, Denis - Gingras, Marcelle
Clearinghouse on Counseling and Student Services Greensboro NC., Canadian
Guidance and Counselling Foundation Ottawa (Ontario).
Delivery of Career Counseling Services: Community Access--The
Role of Employers: ERIC Digest.
Canadian society is beset with major problems which are particularly visible
among our youth: the high-school dropout rate is over 35%, many students are
undecided about careers, and youth have the highest unemployment rate, at about
13%. Governments, educators, employers, and the public realize that young people
are not sufficiently prepared for the workplace. This lack of preparation has
major economic, social, and political impacts.
Despite professional counseling and courses on career choice in our schools,
students say they are poorly prepared to meet the challenges in society. They
report lacking information about the workplace, not understanding the link
between academic subjects and the requirements of work, not seeing the relevance
of what they are learning, and lacking academic motivation (Dupont, Gingras,
& Marceau, 1992). New educational strategies are needed to help these young
Career education is based on two
fundamental principles: infusion (maintaining a career emphasis throughout the
curriculum) and collaboration (making education a joint effort between the
community and the educational system). The aim is to facilitate adaptation into
professional society. Career education skills include basic academics (reading,
oral and written communication, mathematics), productive work habits, work
values, decision-making, job-seeking and job-holding skills, skills for
understanding self and educational/occupational opportunities, skills for
combating stereotyping (and other factors that reduce freedom of educational and
occupational choice), skills required to humanize the workplace, and skills
required to make meaningful use of leisure time (Dupont & Gingras, 1990;
Hoyt, 1978; Wittorski, 1994). Overall, these initiatives help prepare students
for the workplace by creating strong ties between the world of education and the
world of work. Collaboration thus becomes an essential element in these
In order to benefit all partners, collaboration must satisfy certain
conditions (Blair, Brounstein, Hatry, & Morley, 1990; Landry, 1993):
clear, shared needs and objectives.
to participate by all players
roles must be identified and accepted by all
leadership by credible people capable of managing the collaboration
human and material resources
efficient, flexible organization representing all partners (teachers, guidance
counselors, parents, and employers) in a relationship between equals
well-planned, organized interventions
A study of employers, teachers, school principals, guidance counselors, and
parents in the Eastern Townships of Quebec (Dupont & Mialaret, 1990)
revealed that educators, parents, and representatives of the
business-industry-labor community agree that all parties must be committed to
preparing young people for the workplace. Employers indicated they were ready to
commit themselves to collaboration between the workplace and education, and that
the collaboration could take many forms: (a) on-the-job training; (b) informing
educators and students about their expectations for workers; (c) facilitating
tours of the workplace to allow students to observe workers at work; (d)
collaborating in teacher training to ensure adequate knowledge of the workplace
and of vocational requirements; (e) supplying students educators, and parents
with brochures, posters, and audio-visual material on their businesses; (f)
participating actively in career-days, promoting co-operative learning programs,
and unpaid work experience, and talking and meeting with students in school; (g)
conducting information sessions for teachers and guidance counselors on subjects
like the job market and work-related problems; (h) financial support; (i)
lending of tools and machinery; (j) tutorials; (k) adopt-a-school.
Building on the concept of career education and the results of many studies,
the Centre de recherche sur l'education au travail (CRET) (Centre for Research
on Education at Work) at the University of Sherbrooke recently developed a pilot
project on partnerships between the academic world and the workplace. The
project has two parts:
developing an education resource database, set up by business, for schools and
services in the Eastern Townships;
giving pedagogical support to work-related educational resource experiments.
One resource database (Marceau & Gingras, 1993), lists 300 businesses,
organizations, and associations available for talks, industrial tours, meetings
with young people or adults, short-term on-the-job observation sessions, written
or audio-visual documentation production, or any other type of informational
activity. The database's basic goals include encouraging community participation
in career education; coordinating workplace resources to help organize
vocational guidance and professional placement activities; offering new
activities and methods for exploration leading to a wider understanding of the
workplace; helping organizations better understand educational practices and
making known to educators businesses' training expectations.
The pedagogical support consists of supplying educators with the necessary
framework to use the resource database. Some of the assistance given to teachers
entails explaining how to integrate workplace concepts into educational
activities; helping develop educational strategies using resources in the
database; advising on the implementation of these strategies; and, helping to
assess the impact of career education.
At the present time, employers are showing great enthusiasm for the project.
Participating educators are happy with the collaboration and appreciate the
information in the database, even if they must sometimes alter their educational
practices to incorporate the resources. Students seem happy with the curriculum
changes and show greater interest in the classroom, especially when workplace
representatives are present.
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION
To better prepare young people for
the workplace, clearer ties must be established between education and the
workplace. In the collaboration-based, educational approach of the project
described in this paper, employers play a central role. However, even if
employers' commitment to the education process is strong, the rules of the game
must be spelled out at the beginning if a real partnership is to be established.
It is important to set up a council made up of representatives of the various
partners to oversee the partnership. It is necessary to define objectives
together, to reach consensus on the common goals, and to name someone credible
to manage the project. Finally, a tool like an employer database, and eventually
an employee database, is indispensable both for the information supplied and for
the time saved by the players.
Blair, L., Brounstein, P., Hatry, H., & Morley, E. (1990). Guidelines for school business partnerships in sciences and
mathematics. Washington, DC: The Urban Institute Press.
Dupont, P., & Gingras. M. (1990). "Career education" et programme
transition ("Career Education" and Program Transition). Les sciences de
l'education - pour l'ere nouvelle, 5/6, 11-28.
Dupont, P., & Mialaret, G. (1990). A la recherche d'un nouveau modele axe
sur la carriere (The Search for a New Model Based on Career). Les sciences de
l'education - pour l'ere nouvelle, 5/6, 29-66.
Dupont, P., Gingras, M., & Marceau, D. (1992). L'entree sur le marche du
travail des finissants du secondaire general: une analyse de leurs besoins
d'education a la carriere (Job-Market Entry for High School General-Course
Graduates: An Analysis of their Needs in Career Education). Canadian Journal of
Counseling, 26, 108-128
Hoyt, K. (1978). Refining the concept of collaboration in career education.
Washington, DC: Office of Career Education.
Landry, C. (1993). L'essentiel c'est le trait d'union (What is Necessary is
the Hyphen). In J. L. Levesque, J. Fernandez, & M. Chaput.
Formation-Travail, Travail-Formation (Training-Work, Work-Training) (pp.
121-131) Sherbrooke, Quebec: Editions du CRP.
Marceau, D., & Gingras, M. (1993). Banque d'entreprises, d'organismes et
d'associations le monde du travail. Une ressource educative (Business,
organization, and association database - the workplace: An educational
resource). Sherbrooke, Quebec: Editions du CRP.
Wittorski, R. (1994). Le partenariat education-travail: l'experience des
actions "nouvelles qualifications" (The education-work partnership: The
experience of the "New Skills" actions). Mesure et evalution en education, 16