Examining Social and Economic Benefits of Career Development in Education
by Denise N. Fyffe
It is generally accepted that Career Development is a lifelong process, which incorporates general education, occupational training, and work, as well as one’s social and leisure life. According to the National Career Development Guidelines (Kobylarz, 1996; NOICC, 1989), a career guidance program.
- Enhances the career development knowledge, skills, and abilities of all students by establishing program standards.
- Supports the delivery of the program through qualified leadership; diversified staffing; adequate facilities, materials, and financial resources; and effective management.
- Is accountable for evaluation that is based on program effectiveness in supporting student achievement of the career guidance and counseling standards. (NOICC, 1989)
Career education in Jamaican schools entails the provision of information about specific occupations. We believe that career education goes beyond providing information about occupations and the world of work.
Career education should include planned out-of-classroom experiences, as academic and social development are inexplicably important to nation-building.
Early career exploration experiences are important to promote diversity even though they may not have specific career path implications. Career education is developmental and should provide opportunities for all to develop and demonstrate the knowledge and skills necessary to read, write, solve problems, think critically, apply technology, and communicate throughout their daily lives.
Schools should address the career as well as the academic dimensions of children’s lives; however, the wider community’s involvement and support are essential for career education to be successful. To ensure the effectiveness of career education, the support of resources within and outside the school environment is necessary. To this end career, academic, and social developments should be equally represented in program planning beginning in the early school years.
The Elements of Career Development Education
Central to Career Development Education are eight general elements that are used as the model for students’ goals or outcome statements. Each of these represents one facet of the total career education concept. (See appendix).
- Attitudes and Appreciations: the development of a positive attitude toward possible career life goals.
- Self-Awareness: the student’s awareness of their own aptitudes, abilities, and values, and their ability to relate this knowledge to possible career and life goals.
- Career Awareness: the student’s awareness of the broad range of occupations and career patterns available to them.
- Educational Awareness: the student’s awareness of the relationships between education and career life roles.
- Economic Awareness: the student’s awareness of the economic process and how they relate to personal and societal goals, decisions, and actions.
- Basic Competency: the student’s awareness of the relationship between skills and career/life roles and their competence in basic skills.
- Employability Skills: the students’ development of employment skills applicable to their developing career patterns (related to Basic Competency).
- Decision-Making: the students’ understanding that decision-making includes responsible action in identifying alternatives, selecting the alternative most consistent with personal goals, and taking steps to implement a course of action.
These elements are introduced at age-appropriate levels through activities and or information that will meet the career educational and social needs of each student.
As a result, successive grades of students are exposed to each element at an advancing level. At the end of the Career Development program, students should be prepared for the transition into the world of work.
Career Development Education governs and provides disciplines for the entire life span and is, therefore, necessary for life, personal, and national optimal standards of living.
Methodologies and Strategies Used for Implementing Career Education
Combinations of simple strategies were implemented for the delivery of career education, with special concern not to burden the classroom teacher or guidance counselor.
The main strategies are:
- Infusion: this is the major delivery system and the process by which education concepts are introduced or reinforced in the entire school curriculum thereby becoming an integral part of all its programs – academic, practical, aesthetic, etc.
- Career Counselling: Career counselors will engage in progressive, international counseling through the career education stages.
- Other strategies: There are many programs, projects, and activities that when carefully planned and implemented, provide for students of all ages the values, and qualities of a productive career education experience. Among these are:
- The use of homeroom/form/ classroom time
- Mini projects/mini business
- Work experiences
- Inter-generational programs
- Exploration of the environment.
- Career Day/Fair
A general assessment of the benefits of Career Education proves the following social and economic benefits:
- Opportunities for all students to progress according to attainment, aptitude, and ability.
- Equity, quality, productivity, and relevance of education to the labor market.
- The creation of a competitive workforce through quality education and training.
- Satisfying national manpower needs.
- Higher levels of worker satisfaction.
- Because of the guided process of career education, younger workers will enter the world of work having detoured the time-wasting process due to indecision.
- Lower national health care costs. Each individual is prepared to be self-reliant.
The mission of Career Education in schools is to facilitate lifelong holistic development by providing the right climate to enhance optimum growth in students. A carefully developed Career Education Program can provide the guidance that students need as they identify their values and interests, explore their potential, and determine their lifelong roles within society.
We believe that implementation of the proposed strategies for advancing Career Development in Jamaica, through education; will yield benefits long desired for the country. Such benefits may include:
- A workforce trained and certified to international standards,
- Stimulating employment – creating investments contributing to improved productivity, competitiveness, and prosperity of individuals and the nation.
To achieve these benefits the use of strategies, which are comprehensive and effective, will certainly guide Jamaica on the road to development. We believe that it is crucial that this process commences at the most basic and fundamental stage in a human’s life. Well-designed early childhood care and education programs can produce significant benefits to the participants’ development.
This will influence the individual’s school performance and social outcomes, which prepares them for adulthood.
Many studies also reported benefits to the mother that helped them to play a more supportive role in their children’s development and benefits to themselves, such as better self-esteem and a sense of self-worth.
There are concerns, which may impact the effectiveness of Career Development programs. For example, in developing countries the quality of primary school education is poor. In many instances, they are likely to erode the benefits gained in early childhood programs. Another concern is the excessive cost of implementing such schemes, finding low-cost ways of implementing them is essential. These concerns must be taken into consideration so that the probability of success is higher.