Academic journal article Career Planning and Adult Development Journal

Additional Perspectives on Career Development Activities in Mexico

Academic journal article Career Planning and Adult Development Journal

Additional Perspectives on Career Development Activities in Mexico

Article excerpt

When the guest editor of this journal issue began this project, she shared the focus with graduate students in her graduate counseling program. Several of the students had knowledge of career development practices in Mexico through actual experience in educational and work settings, through work with international students and employees from Mexico, through work and internship sites, and through connections with family living in Mexico. These students approached me about sharing some of their information with the readers of this journal and I agreed. This article is the result of their contributions.

Career Development in School Settings

In Mexico, the term career counseling does not have a real meaning, and has no functional translation. In fact, the counseling profession does not exist as such. There are professionals in different fields taking over some of the activities that counselors do in the United States. In career counseling in particular, activities vary a lot from one region to another. Most of what is done in career counseling is done in the major cities, especially Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey.

Early career development is one of the areas in which more work needs to be done. The Mexican education system does not mandate or include trained counselors at any school level. In elementary schools, teacher undertakes career search and development activities, if any are done. The contrast between public and private schools in regards to career development is remarkable. Some private schools have within their staff, a school psychologist that builds on to the teachers' work and administers vocational batteries. International students who have attended private schools report the use of career fairs and workshops on finding a job. Still, in both types of schools, teachers deliver most career information and activities. However it is important to highlight, that most private schools are preparing college-bound students and would need to address selection of college and major and other career development issues

Career Development in University Settings - Examples from Guadalajara

Slowly there have been improvements in higher education settings, and there are career development programs being offered particularly in career or vocational orientation. In the occident region of the country, the Universidad de Guadalajara, the second largest public university in Mexico, has one example of this type of program (see references for website). The Universidad de Guadalajara has been offering, for the past three years, workshops titled "Baterias Psychometricas" (Psychometric Batteries). Workshops are led by psychologists and have three elements. First, students take an interest inventory, focused on "university preferences" - prueba de preferencias univeritarias -, that are the equivalent of declaring a college major. At the Universidad de Gualalajara, for example, a student selects what to study from the moment they submit their application. There is no entrance for an undeclared major or major selection allowed later during the junior or senior year of college. Second, students take the JUNG incomplete phrases projective personality test. Finally, they have to complete an exercise of writing a letter with their life history as if they were already dead. They are encouraged to mention as many details as possible, including the age at which they died, if they had family, what they did, etc. The team giving this battery to the students expects to gather enough information from the students in order to help them clarify their career interests and possible career/life goals. There is no one-on-one interpretation or counseling but only group review of the results.

The Universidad de Guadalajara also has a research department focused on career assessment. Centro de Investigación en Orientación Vocacional (Vocational Orientation Research Center) is devoted to developing measurement instruments that are adequate to Mexican culture and economic reality. …

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