Academic journal article Career Planning and Adult Development Journal

Introduction to This Issue

Academic journal article Career Planning and Adult Development Journal

Introduction to This Issue

Article excerpt

No country, however rich, can afford the waste of its human resources. Demoralization caused by vast unemployment is our greatest extravagance. Morally it is the greatest menace to our social order.Franklin Delano Roosevelt, President of the United States.

These words from Franklin Delano Roosevelt, inscribed on his memorial, characterize his thoughtfulness about social justice and its relationship to work and provide a fitting introduction. I'm pleased to present this special edition of the Career Planning and Adult Development Journal devoted to social justice and career development. When I began teaching at San Francisco State University over 30 years ago, I had planned to write about multiethnicity and social justice. While I engaged in a program of active research, I ended up writing absolutely nothing about this topic. At the time, there was very little interest in the popular culture of either subject. So I moved on to focus my research and writing in a different direction. At least I presented one paper, somewhat indirectly, on the topic (Chope, 1987) by chairing a panel on Black-White children at the American Counseling Association (ACA) Convention in New Orleans. Interest in the subject matter stemmed, in part, from raising my two biracial children.

Moving ahead thirty years, we have witnessed the major professional counseling organizations focusing on both social justice and multiculturalism as well as making various attempts to integrate the two. Many legitimate concerns have been shared among individuals and professional organization leaders suggesting that the traditional means of service delivery, particularly in areas like vocational counseling psychology, career counseling, and employment counseling have been irrelevant for those clients who have been marginalized or disenfranchised. The fact that our prisons are often filled with populations of individuals who have not only been unable to hold a job but have not ever looked for work illustrates the point. .

My colleague at San Francisco State University, Rebecca Toporek, has presented a brief but well documented history of the progression of social justice and multicultural competencies in counseling and career counseling that I recommend for historical background reading. She notes that ACA adopted Multicultural Competency Standards in 2003 and expanded upon earlier concepts developed by ACA and the Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development (AMCD) to include religion, immigrant values, women's issues, Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual concerns, and disability (Toporek, 2006).

Robert Carter has instituted an ongoing social justice forum in his role as editor of the Counseling Psychologist (Carter, 2003), bringing the energy of social justice advocates, researchers and writers to the American Psychological Association (APA) and Division 17, Counseling Psychology, among others. That division adopted its own set of multicultural guidelines in 2003 as well (APA, 2003).

The ACA also instituted advocacy competencies in 2003 based upon the work of Lewis, Arnold, House, and Toporek (2002). And the ACA established a new division, Counselors for Social Justice (CSJ) that has given greater visibility and, I might add, credibility to the evolving social justice interest in the counseling profession. I am proud to be a member of these organizations that provide a framework for opportunities to promote social advocacy in both individual as well as public policy development. I think that it is also important to mention that the change in focus and attitude toward people who have been systematically marginalized also comes from the popular media. This is certainly not to take anything away from our professional organizations, but, it seems that you cannot turn on most radio and television talk shows lately without experiencing a segment on multiethnicity. Issues of fairness and social justice are not far behind. Still, while we recognize changes in the helping professions and the moral and cultural Zeitgeist, we also must recognize that the prime examples of social justice in counseling are in the vocational domain; hence, my interest in serving as guest editor for the special issue. …

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