The Career Development Facilitator Project: Then and Now

Article excerpt

The National Career Development Association (NCDA) has consistently been involved in the professional training of individuals who provide career development services for youth and adults. It has provided outstanding leadership in the field of career development. NCDA's impact on the training of professionals and paraprofessionals working in the career development held is evident in its support of the Career Development Facilitator (CDF) project and delivery of CDF training. This article provides a history of the CDF project, its development and expansion from national to international use, current developments in the project, and its impact on the careers of those involved.

The National Career Development Association's (NCDA) Career Development Facilitator (CDF) curriculum has undergone quite a journey since the early 1990s. Frequently, people ask us, "Did you realize when you created this CDF program that it would grow so big?" Of course, at that time we did not. Like many successful programs, the CDF initiative began with a need. Many employment counselors and other career practitioners were being asked to go beyond assisting people to find work and retain it. They were required to provide more extensive career planning services to their clients without the necessary skills and knowledge to do so.

With a Little Help From Our Friends

In early 1992, we learned from NCDA colleagues of a possible grant from the National Occupational Information Coordinating Committee (NOICC) that would fund training programs for providers of career development services. In appropriating funds for this NOICC activity, Congress supported the establishment of career development programs to train personnel. On the basis of our NCDA friends' support and recognizing how this would fit with our ongoing concerns about the lack of adequate career development providers' training, we decided to apply for this grant.

Synchronicity played a significant part in the early days of the project. As originators of the first CDF curriculum, both employed at Oakland University (OU) in Michigan, and having only a nodding acquaintance, we found that our collaboration meshed needed skills for the endeavor. Backgrounds in career counseling, training and teaching, curriculum development, and grant writing were some of them. Wide networks and connections with local and national professional associations, universities, agency personnel, K- 12 education, business and industry, and employment counselors and specialists also assisted us in the work necessary to assess, design, and launch the project. People in these networks participated in focus groups, reviewed survey questions and competencies, and provided input on topics to be included in the curriculum.

The Career Development Training Institute (CDTT)

OU's part of the NOICC grant proposal was written within a very short time and required working late at night and literally walking it through the university's grant procedures and approval levels. Having received the grant in 1992, NOICC's CDTI at OU was born, with funding for a total of 6 years and focusing on training programs for providers of services to adult clients. In addition to the original curriculum for CDFs (Hoppin & Splete, 1996), other CDTI training publications were developed, written, and edited. These were Workforce in Transition: A Blueprint for Adult Career Development and Job Search Readiness (Hoppin, 1993), Training Needs of Career Development Facilitators (Splete & Hoppin, 1994), and the Life Work Portfolio and Guide (Van Dyke, Hoppin, & Perry, 1995).

Eacus Groups and a National Survey

In preparation for developing the CDF training program, we convened focus groups and contacted members of various local, state, and national organizations to explore topics that should be included. These individuals represented the U.S. Postal Service, NOICC, the National Employment Counseling Association, NCDA, the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC), Workforce Development Directors, the California Counseling Association, the Michigan Department of Education, school librarians, and career development and career counseling educators. …