ERIC Identifier: ED414515
Publication Date: 1995-00-00
Author: Kellett, Ralph - Conger, Stuart
Clearinghouse on Counseling and Student Services Greensboro NC., Canadian
Guidance and Counselling Foundation Ottawa (Ontario).
A Three-Tiered Model of Career Counseling Services: ERIC
The increasing probability that the average person will have many jobs over a
lifetime is accompanied by a growing recognition of the need for lifelong career
development services. To provide a coherent and articulated system for career
and employment counseling, it has been suggested (Premier's Council on Lifelong
Learning, 1993) that counseling services for adults should be organized in a
three-tiered structure. The argument for using such a structure is to ensure
that individuals have access to a counselor in accordance with the individuals'
level of need. Identifying needs and offering targeted assistance is at the
foundation of a tiered organizational structure.
A three-tiered organizational structure for counseling is shown in Figure 1.
Services from all three tiers could be offered from a single Career Service
Center, which may house the different services in one location, or be provided
geographically by various agencies in a municipality. In addition to serving
adults in transition, the Career Service Center would provide services to the
FIRST TIER -- CAREER EXPLORATION
The focus of the first
tier of service would be on self-exploration and career assessment. There would
be a guided self-serve information system to meet the widespread need for
occupational, educational, and labor market information. It would be the first
stop for almost all clients who currently go to varied agencies for this type of
information; such clinics presently strain existing resources which provide this
service, mostly via individual counseling. Some of the occupational,
educational, training, and labor market information that is required can be
obtained on a self-serve basis.
There are people who are not served properly by "self-serve" systems, and
frequently the most needy clients are confused and intimidated by this kind of
service. Therefore, it is important to have a coach to ensure that visitors can
define what they want and then find it.
Many people who have little difficulty in working with a computer, prefer
this mode of help. This is particularly true for clients who have developed a
distrust of people in the helping professions or who have difficulty rising to
the demands of interpersonal counseling. A computer system can undertake the
role of performing "needs determination" interviews with clients. At the present
time, Human Resources Development Canada has under development an Automated
Service Kiosk (ASK) which will allow clients to explore four employability
dimensions (occupational goal, training, job search and job maintenance). This
methodology has great promise for first line delivery systems, and can provide a
good alternative to the person who is reticent about talking with a counselor
and who prefers to get started with a machine.
Fundamental to the first tier of service is the inclusion of a career needs
determination interview. By assessing needs "up front," false starts and
unnecessary steps are avoided. The needs determination will help the client to
recognize the services available from or through the Career Service Center and
to identify what steps need to be taken next. The career needs determination
interview could be conducted by a counselor or by an "expert" computer system.
Few clients receive group counseling, yet brief group career seminars or
workshops may satisfy the needs of perhaps 75% of people seeking help. Group
sessions cover the exploration of one's talents, the formulation of occupational
goals, the examination of educational alternatives, the development of a plan,
the learning of appropriate skills, or as a lead in to computer-assisted career
guidance systems. There would be extensive use of group information and
self-help sessions in the first tier of service.
Special needs clients must be connected with the right agency at the outset
of service delivery. In tier one, information on entitlements for income
support, housing, day care, and the like would be available from the center
"coach" or from the computerized information kiosks.
SECOND TIER -- SELF-EXPLORATION
In the second tier, more
in-depth assistance would be available. A great many people want and need more
than information about education, training, and the labor market. They need to
clarify their ideas about their interests, aptitudes, and personality, and how
these relate to education, training, and work.
Conger, Hiebert, and Hong-Farrell (1994) found that many clients, who
initially requested career information, quickly acknowledged the need to take
control of their lives and overcome their self-defeating thoughts and behaviors,
to learn to cope with the "hassles" of trying to improve themselves, and to
believe that they really can achieve something. Assistance may be given in small
group training sessions. In some cases, guided group exploration might be
appropriate. The small group work should focus on the development of skills
necessary to sustain group members' motivation and overcome their self-defeating
thoughts. Clients need actual skill training (demonstration, practice, and
feedback, in addition to the discussion) if they are to learn how to implement
the skills in their lives.
The second tier would also house entitlement officers who could handle
inquiries and claims for unemployment insurance and social assistance, as well
as information on other entitlements. There would be other specialized staff
available to arrange testing or other diagnostic services, and to assist clients
in getting placed in training programs. Some rehabilitation counseling could
also be provided in the second tier of service.
THIRD TIER -- REACHING OUT
The third tier would include
individual counseling where the client clarifies his or her inability to do what
needs to be done; evaluates career strengths and barriers; examines assumptions
which color thoughts and actions; lists ways of overcoming barriers and of using
strengths; evaluates the alternative resolution against strengths, barriers, and
values; and, states a specific counseling goal or action plan to which the
client is committed and which focuses on a relevant career concern .
Another important feature in this tier of service would include an active
intervention with third parties, and the mentoring and coaching of clients. Many
people at risk do not have a friend who can help them through the difficult
steps of actually managing their own careers. Few counselors reach out of their
offices on behalf of a client to speak with family members, educators, agency
officials, and employers. Counselors who have gone an "extra mile" for their
clients by intervening with third parties have often found it to be the most
effective and most satisfying counseling task that they have done.
The need for lifelong career development is
becoming increasingly evident as more and more people switch jobs because of new
forms of work organization, economic downturns, or technological changes. Many
workers will become "portfolio people," frequently moving from one individual
contract to another. Career counseling services generally have not been
organized for the average citizen; services have typically targeted students on
the one hand, or recipients of social welfare, unemployment insurance, and
disability pension, on the other hand. It is now necessary to develop a system
that will meet the needs of all people who want and need career counseling. It
is suggested that a three-tiered career development service will provide a full
range of services in a cost-effective manner while, at the same time respecting
Conger, S., Hiebert, B., & Hong-Farrell, E.
(1994). Career and employment counselling in Canada. Ottawa, ON: Canadian Labour
Force Development Board.
Premier's Council on Economic Renewal. (1993). Improving service to the
learner as customer. Toronto, ON: Report of the working group III, Task Force on