Academic journal article Career Planning and Adult Development Journal

IGNITING A PASSION FOR CAREER DEVELOPMENT SUCCESS WITH AFRICAN-AMERICAN SCHOOL-AGED MALES: What Career and School Practitioners Should Know

Academic journal article Career Planning and Adult Development Journal

IGNITING A PASSION FOR CAREER DEVELOPMENT SUCCESS WITH AFRICAN-AMERICAN SCHOOL-AGED MALES: What Career and School Practitioners Should Know

Article excerpt

African American males face many challenges including low graduation, high unemployment and incarceration rates. Career and school practitioners can contribute to changing these outcomes through career development initiatives with school-aged African American males. Understanding the experience of African American males in the context of school and adopting culturally appropriate strategies for working with this population are requisites for effective advising. This article highlights salient features of the African American male's school context and suggests strategies for new career and school practitioners to adopt while working with the African American school aged male and his career developmental process.

Introduction

It is important for career and school practitioners to be proficient in working with African American school-aged males. Despite social and political advances, many African Americans face social and economic hardships as a part of their daily lives. These hardships include: lower educational outcomes; incarceration; unemployment; suicide; low infant mortality rate; decreasing life expectancy; racism; oppression; and poverty (Center for Disease Control & Prevention, 2006: Poussaint & Alexander, 2000). According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor statistics in May 201 1 , the unemployment rate for African American males over 20 was 17.5 per cent as compared to 7.9 per cent of Caucasian males the same age. This unemployment rate might be influenced by the present U.S. economic climate. However, historical research indicates that African American unemployment rates have been impacted by their experience in the American Education system (Coleman, Campbell, Hobson, McParetland, Mood, Weinfeld & York, 1966; Duestch, 1967; Ogbu, 1997; Sampson, 2002). Unfortunately, the situation has not changed. Recent research by the Schott Educational Index, (2010) reported that only 47 per cent of African American males graduated from high school with their cohort in 2008. This suggests that school is a fertile environment to concentrate career development efforts with African American school-aged males. In light of these statistics, such efforts must focus on African American school-aged males in order to address their status and shift their path. Both the revised National Career Development Guidelines (2007) commissioned by the U. S. Department of Education's Office of Vocation and Adult Education (OVAE) and the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) have endorsed the need for career development initiatives within public schools.

The National Career Development Guidelines (NCDG) framework (2007) consists of three domains: Personal Social Development (PS), Educational Achievement and Lifelong Learning (ED) and Career Management (CM). Under each domain there are goals that define broad areas of career development competencies. The first ED career development goal is for the individual to attain educational achievement and performance levels needed to reach his or her personal and career goals. Similarly, ASCA indicated the importance of career development in schools. According to ASCA's national standards for students, school counseling programs should include academic development; career development; and personal social development. School practitioners should address career development concerns including the identification of skills, interests and abilities and their relationship to career choice and decision making. Armed with these mandates, an understanding of the experience of African American school-aged males, and the appropriate skills, career and school practitioners can significantly contribute to an upturn in the status of African American males.

Why African American males?

African American students are performing at lower levels than their Caucasian counterparts (Isom, 2007). The U.S. Department of Education, National Center of Education (2010) statistics reported the national high school dropout rate for African American males was 9. …

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