ERIC Identifier: ED299458
Publication Date: 1988-00-00
Author: Naylor, Michele
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on
Adult Career and Vocational Education Columbus OH.
Trends and Directions in Career Education. ERIC Digest No. 79.
Career education began to develop dramatically in the 1950s when the
traditional occupational choice emphasis of career education began to be
replaced by a broader focus on individuals and their career development over the
course of their lives. The focal point of career education expanded in the 1960s
when career development came to be viewed as an aggregate of psychological,
sociological, educational, physical, economic, and other factors. The scope of
career education became broader still in the 1970s when the concept of a career
began to be understood in terms of possible personal choices related to the
total life-style of an individual (Gysbers 1984).
At the time of the passage of the Career Education Incentive Act in 1977,
career education was seen as a means of "relating the occupational aspects of
human development to all levels of learning" and of relating leisure, sex,
family, and community roles to one's commitment to work (Herr 1987, p. 21). The
repeal of the act in 1981 and a number of societal changes in the last decade
have altered the context of career education. This ERIC Digest examines trends
in the field of career education since the beginning of the 1980s and raises
some key issues that may determine its future.
TRENDS IN CAREER EDUCATION IN THE 1980S
Hansen (1987) discusses some societal changes that affect the context in
which career education operates. Rapid changes in information and technology are
not only revolutionizing the workplace and occupations, but are also altering
the way in which career information is acquired and career guidance is
practiced. Changing family patterns, such as dual-career and single-parent
families, signal the evolution of new relationships between family and work that
will affect individual career choices and patterns.
The "humanizing" of the workplace implies that career education must continue
to emphasize the individual needs of workers. At the same time, structural
changes in the economy resulting in layoffs and firings reinforce the importance
of educating people about changing careers and about looking at work as one
among many possible sources of life satisfaction. The lifelong learning movement
and the trend toward lifelong career development point to the need for
instilling lifelong attitudes about learning early in the educational process.
Other trends in career education were identified in Hoyt's (1987a) surveys of
the National Career Education Leaders' Communication Network. The following
components of career education give an indication of its past, present, and
future (Hoyt 1987b).
PRIVATE SECTOR/EDUCATION PARTNERSHIPS
From the outset,
career education has been defined in terms of a partnership between public
education and the community. Public sector-private sector partnerships are a
popular concept with many promising models. However, better definitions and
measures of effectiveness could be developed (Page 1987). More also needs to be
done in terms of better connections between the concepts of partnerships and
educational reform and of improved awareness of the potential of the partnership
concept as a tool for educational reform.
GENERAL EMPLOYABILITY SKILLS
Although opinions vary as to
exactly what constitutes employability, general employability skills have been
deemed an important part of career education since the U.S. Office of
Education's (USOE) first official policy paper on career education.
Employability skills have gained popularity with the growing recognition of the
fact that people will increasingly be forced to change occupations during their
adult lives. What is needed now is consensus on defining employability skills
and on deciding how and where they will be taught.
CAREER AWARENESS, EXPLORATION, AND DECISION MAKING
occupations change and the relationship between education and work is
transformed, the importance of career education as a vehicle for helping persons
achieve greater career awareness and master decision-making skills is being
recognized. Support for career awareness and career guidance has been
particularly evident in the recent educational reform proposals.
CAREER INFUSION AND EDUCATIONAL REFORM
First used in the
1970s, the concept of infusing career education in classrooms has been
enthusiastically received in the 1980s. Many outstanding materials for use in
infusing career instruction in vocational and academic classrooms have been
produced. Hoyt (1987b) feels that process-oriented approaches are necessary for
lasting educational reform; career education is a thoroughly tested and
validated process-oriented approach.
WORK AS A MEANINGFUL PART OF THE TOTAL LIFE-STYLE
following steps are especially important if career educators are to succeed in
making work a meaningful part of the total life-style: o Shifting the focus of
instruction in work values away from factors enhancing worker satisfaction to "employment productivity indicators" o Recognizing the human need to work and
helping students discover ways of meeting this need in other life roles o
Recognizing the need to retain the concept of the work ethic and applying it in
conjunction with an emphasis on work values o Taking advantage of the expertise
being accumulated regarding the quality of working life movement
THE EDUCATION-WORK RELATIONSHIP AND INDIVIDUAL CHOICE
need for students to see a more meaningful relationship between school and work
was listed by USOE as 1 of the 11 conditions dictating a need for educational
reform. This need was also highly ranked by the National Career Education
Leaders' Communication Network. Materials designed to enhance this relationship
(such as computerized career guidance systems) are increasing in quality and
quantity. However, the goal of education as preparation for work should be kept
in perspective as one of several basic goals of education.
EQUITY AND CAREER CHOICE
The need to protect the interests
and freedom of career choice of women, minorities, disabled, and disadvantaged
persons has been addressed in federal legislation since the 1970s. However,
Hansen (1987) describes changing attitudes toward social justice issues as
evidence that bias and stereotyping still exist. She stresses that career
educators should continue to fulfill an advocacy role. On the other hand, some
state legislation and other laws such as the Carl D. Perkins Vocational
Education Act contain efforts to improve equity for these groups.
ISSUES AFFECTING THE FUTURE OF CAREER EDUCATION
Based on an
analysis of the main trends in career education, Hoyt (1987b) identifies some
key issues that may shape the future of career education.
To what extent will the focus of career education be on employment as opposed
to employability? Since the early 1980s, the view has existed that keeping the
focus of career education on employability will result in the greatest long-term
benefits. This appears to be what is in fact happening; for example, training
programs sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor (including Job Training
Partnership Act programs) are focusing more on helping clients develop
employability skills rather than on creating jobs.
To what extent can career education be used to increase partnerships between
the educational system and the broader community? The wide acceptance of the
concept of public-private partnerships to improve education enables a shift in
focus from creating more partnerships to creating more meaningful partnerships.
The first step is to make the business community and the community at large
understand that the problems facing schools are not the exclusive concern of the
educational system but that they are in fact everyone's problems.
To what extent will career education be effective as an educational reform
movement? One of the greatest challenges facing career educators today is
persuading other educators of the value of career education as a proven
process-oriented approach to educational improvement.
To what extent will state and local leadership for career education continue
to exist? State departments of education and local school systems employ fewer
career education coordinators than they did in 1982. However, a relatively large
number of persons charged with coordinating career education still remain, even
though their job title may have changed. Other encouraging trends include the
fact that there continue to be over 400 persons in the National Career Education
Leaders' Communication Network each year, their opinions regarding the "health"
of career education have remained fairly stable over the past 5 years, and state
and local career associations are increasing in both number and strength.
Hansen (1987) presents some other ideas for shaping the future of career
education: o Systematic career/life planning programs in schools and colleges o
Increased emphasis on the linkage between work, family, education, and leisure o
Reaffirmation of the democratic goals of maximizing human potential o More
emphasis on entrepreneurship and creation of one's own career o Better training
in planning and management of change.
Gysbers, N. C. "Major Trends in Career
Development Theory and Practice." In DESIGNING CAREERS: COUNSELING TO ENHANCE
EDUCATION, WORK, AND LEISURE, by N. C. Gysbers and Associates. San Francisco:
Hansen, L. S. "Changing Contexts for Career Programs." JOURNAL OF CAREER
DEVELOPMENT 13, no. 3 (Spring 1987): 31-42. (ERIC No. EJ 353 451).
Herr, E. L. "Education as Preparation for Work." JOURNAL OF CAREER
DEVELOPMENT 13, no. 3 (Spring 1987): 16-30. (ERIC No. EJ 353 450).
Hoyt, K. B. "Perceptions of Career Education Supporters Concerning the
Current Nature and Status of the Career Education Movement." JOURNAL OF CAREER
DEVELOPMENT 13, no. 3 (Spring 1987a): 5-15. (ERIC No. EJ 353 449).
Hoyt, K. B. "Trends in Career Education: Implications for the Future." In
CAREER EDUCATION IN TRANSITION: TRENDS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR THE FUTURE.
INFORMATION SERIES NO. 323, by K. B. Hoyt and K. R. Shylo. Columbus: ERIC
Clearinghouse on Adult, Career, and Vocational Education, The National Center
for Research in Vocational Education, The Ohio State University, 1987b. (ERIC
Document Reproduction Service No. ED 290 933).
Page, E. G. "Partnerships: Making a Difference over Time?" JOURNAL OF CAREER
DEVELOPMENT 13, no. 3 (Spring 1987): 43-49. (ERIC No. EJ 343 452).