November: The month to reflect on the history of career development

Michigan State University Extension reflects on the history of career exploration and development related to 4-H Youth Development.

Through 4-H Youth Development, staff and volunteers have been helping 4-H members and youth audiences make connections between their experiences, skills and career interests for years. When corn and canning clubs were initiated in 1902 to encourage youth to learn skills, build competencies and set goals for their future, young people were participating in career exploration and development. The history of career exploration or occupational counseling dates back to Frank Parsons, known as the father of vocational guidance or career development. Following his death in 1908, his book "Choosing a Vocation” was published in May of 1909. Parsons developed a framework to help individuals decide on a career.

Some of us have a natural inclination or are drawn to a particular career. According to Parsons, the best career choices are based on matching personal traits (such as your aptitude, abilities, resources and personality) with job factors (wages, environment, etc.) to produce the best conditions of vocational or occupational success.

November is National Career Development Month (NCDM). NCDM is sponsored by the National Career Development Association (NCDA) to provide an opportunity to support and increase awareness of career education, exploration and development as a lifelong learning process. The annual observance encourages young people, families, communities, schools and businesses to collaborate.

For 2012, the week of November 12-16 is tagged as National Career Development Week and November 14 is National Career Development Day. For more information about National Career Development Month and programming ideas, visit the NCDA’s website.

Linking 4-H projects and experiences is even stronger today. The Michigan State University Extension Career Exploration and Workforce Preparation Work Group provides programming and educational materials for youth and volunteers related to career preparation.

Visit our webpage for even more resources and celebrate National Career Development Month!

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