Making Career Development a Priority
Kenneth R Hughey
Judith K. Hughey
Kansas State University
Preparing students for their future roles in the world of work has become increasingly important for school counselors and educators generally. As a result of changes taking place in the workplace, the challenge is to prepare students to enter and be competitive in a world-class workforce (Feller, 1996a). In addition, given the level of competitiveness and the rate of change in the workplace, it is essential that students become as prepared as possible to enhance their chances of success. Further, hopefully, students will be prepared to be contributors to society and have the opportunity to live a satisfying, productive life. It follows that for students to be prepared to meet the challenges of the changing workplace, career development must be a priority.
Parsons (1909), the father of vocational guidance, stated.
We guide our boys and girls to some extent through school, then drop them into this complex world to sink or swim as the case may be. Yet there is no part of life where the need for guidance is more emphatic than in the transition from school to work. . . The building of a career is quite as difficult a problem as the building of a house, yet few ever sit down with pencil and paper, with expert information and counsel, to plan a working career and deal with the life problem scientifically, as they would deal with the problem of building a house, taking the advice of an architect to help them. (p. 4)
Address correspondence to Kenneth F. Hughey, Kansas State University, 329 Bluemont Hall, Manhattan, KS 66506. Journal of Career Development, Vol. 25(3), Spring 1999
© 1999 Human Sciences Press, Inc.
Joumal of Career Development
Today, the development of a career continues to be a priority and one that must be addressed to effectively meet the career development needs of students. As stated by Herr and Cramer (1996), "Career development proceeds—smoothly, jaggedly, positively, negatively— whether or not career guidance or career education exists" (p. 32). It makes sense then that school guidance program activities be implemented to positively impact student career development. Counselors play a key role in developing and implementing career activities to facilitate student career development. As a result, making career development a priority and activities to facilitate career development an integral part of the guidance program should be the goal.
All students regardless of their plans after high school, have career development needs that should be addressed through the school guidance programs. School counselors, however, have been criticized by some for their lack of work with students not choosing to go to college. Hamilton and Hamilton (1994) stated the following: "Our society provides reasonably transparent career paths for the quarter of our youth who earn baccalaureate degrees. Even college graduates who do not have specific career plans obtain entry-level professional positions because of their learning and credentials. In contrast, we offer little guidance to the remaining three-quarters of young people who complete their formal education without a bachelor's degree" (p. 2). In addition, Mendel (1994) described a lack of career guidance for those students not going to college. He noted that "because guidance for college-prep students is extensive, the pathway to four-year college is neither vague nor mysterious" (p. 1). It is imperative that career development activities be a priority for school guidance programs and the educational program of schools in order to effectively prepare all students regardless of the educational level or career path selected. This article presents information relevant to school counselors on workplace changes and implications of these changes. In addition, guides for student success are presented to...