Refer to attached document. Use Ch 9, 13, and 14
Module 5 Discussion
Review Chapter 9 and read Chapters 13-14 then answer the questions below:
a. Discuss the similarities and differences between the career counseling processes for men, women, and sexual minorities.
b. Discuss the process of Multicultural Career Counseling
c. What resources can be used by clients with special needs to cope with their problems?
d. What are the major problems facing individuals who bring special concerns to the career counseling process?
Chapter 9 Career Counseling for Clients with Unique Concerns: The Disabled, Economically Disadvantaged, Veterans, and Older Workers
Things to Remember
How the career counseling approaches discussed in earlier chapters apply to the groups highlighted in this chapter
The groups that may require special consideration in the career counseling process and the issues they bring to the counselor
One or two strategies that may be used in career counseling and career development programming for each group discussed
The two previous chapters were devoted to providing career counseling to women, GLBT individuals (sexual minorities), and cultural and ethnic minorities. At this point, readers may be wondering if they need to develop an unlimited number of approaches to help in the career development process. Career counselors with a postmodern perspective might subscribe to that point of view; I do not. However, this chapter supports their position to some degree, particularly as it concerns counseling disabled persons, because much of the process of helping disabled clients deals with the historical context and the current impact of educational and work environments on their functioning. However, Fabian and Perdani’s (2013) position that none of the theories that have been advanced are adequate to explain either the career counseling process or the career development of the disabled because of the heterogeneity of this group is undoubtedly correct.
One aspect of career counseling simply involves the application of sound counseling techniques. Another deals with cultural sensitivity and the importance of self-efficacy in occupational choice and implementation (Lent, 2013). Specific knowledge of a client, his or her unique needs, and their context is also required for success. Nowhere is this latter point more obvious than when dealing with the client groups addressed in this chapter. However, after reading this chapter you will not be an expert in providing career counseling to the vast array of clients who request career counseling. If you expect to be successful, you will need additional study and supervised practice. Hopefully, this chapter will whet your appetite for more study in order to work with clients with different backgrounds. The client groups discussed in this chapter include:
Disabled individuals, including those with physical and mental disabilities
Workers who have been displaced because of economic conditions or other factors
Economically disadvantaged workers
Delayed entrants to the workforce, including retirees who return to work, military personnel transitioning to the civilian workforce, and ex-offenders
Older workers, including people who prefer work to retirement because of personal satisfaction and financial need
The primary objective of the discussion in each section is to develop increased sensitivity to the special needs that clients bring to the career counseling process. A second objective of each section is to raise readers’ awareness of the distinct characteristics that influence the career development process. Some of these characteristics, such as physical limitations, may be quite obvious. Others, such as learning disabilities and mental health, may be hidden from superficial observation. Although few well-trained career counselors and career development specialists would assume that all clients are alike, they might overlook some subtle details that determine success or failure in career counseling.
Individuals with Disabilities
The World Health Organization (WHO) adopted the following definition of disability: “A disability is any restriction or lack (resulting from an impairment) of ability to perform an activity in a manner or within the range considered normal for a human being.” Most contemporary organizations have adopted a similar definition, but many elaborate it by including terms such physical, sensory, cognitive, intellectual impairment, mental illness, and some types of chronic, disabling diseases, such as fibromyalgia. The WHO definition and the extensions listed here have been adopted for this discussion.
According to a report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS; 2013), based on the 2012 Current Population Survey, the U.S. workforce totaled about 135 million workers, of whom approximately 5.2 million were classified as disabled. The report also notes that nearly 80 percent of the disabled population were not in the workforce, and, of those who were counted as workers, over 13 percent were unemployed. The bottom line is that over 80 percent of disabled people are either not in the workforce or are unemployed. Before going further into what is a daunting situation for career counselors, particularly those who spend much of their time providing services to this group, some clarification of terminology will be presented.
The term rehabilitation—the process by which people with disabilities are prepared for work and life in general—has gradually been broadened in concept to apply to overcoming many kinds of disabling problems, including physical disability, mental illness, mental retardation, alcoholism, drug addiction, delinquency, and chronic involvement in criminal activity. Rehabilitation may involve services such as education, improvement of physical functioning through physical therapy, enhancing psychological adjustment, increasing social adaptation, improving vocational capabilities, and/or identifying recreational activities.
Vocational rehabilitation traditionally has been referred to as the process of returning a disabled worker to a state of reemployability. However, when defined in this manner the conceptualization of vocational rehabilitation is unnecessarily narrow. The concept that employability is supposed to be a product of rehabilitation services would make some clients who are unlikely to join the workforce regardless of the services provided ineligible for other rehabilitation services that might deal with health or psychological issues. Fortunately, there has been movement toward eliminating the idea that rehabilitative services are aimed solely at the development of employability skills as the aforementioned definition suggests. For example, disabled people who have never worked may qualify for rehabilitation services. In addition, individuals for whom assistance may result in greater self-esteem and self-satisfaction without clear certainty of employment may receive rehabilitation services.
People who have disabilities are often seen by rehabilitation counselors—particularly if they are severely or moderately disabled—because of the expertise required to deal with their concerns. However, school counselors, community college counselors, and counselors and psychologists who work in four-year colleges and universities are likely to encounter disabled persons as well. Of these groups, school counselors are probably the most likely to encounter the disabled because of the vast numbers of students enrolled in special education. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), passed initially in 1975 and last amended in 2004, requires not only that nearly 6.5 million special education students receive the benefit of what is termed the least-restrictive education by qualified teachers but also that students over the age of 16 be prepared to pursue postsecondary education and work. The implication of this requirement is that students need a plan and a course of study to support their transition to their postsecondary life. It is already the case that some school counselors are included in the transitional portion of students’ Individualized Educational Programs (IEPs) and are thus partially responsible for their career and educational planning and transitional plans.
School counselors, rehabilitation counselors, and others need to be aware of Public Law 101-476, The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits discrimination against disabled clients in the hiring and worker-retention processes. Moreover, it requires employers to make reasonable workplace accommodations for workers who have disabilities. Other legislation—including the Workforce Investment Act and the Ticket to Work program, which establishes employment networks (ENs)—will also be invaluable. Under the Ticket to Work program, a department in the Social Security Administration (SSA), a “ticket” is provided to disabled beneficiaries of Social Security so that they may use to secure jobs from these networks. This program was designed to facilitate the movement of persons with disabilities into the labor force without fear of losing their federally funded health insurance. Social Security beneficiaries who wish to work make an application to SSA, are given a ticket if qualified by SSA, and are provided with a telephone number or website address that enables them to identify ENs in their area. In-depth knowledge of legislation, such as Public Law 93-112, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and Public Law 95-602, the Rehabilitation, Comprehensive Services, and Developmental Disabilities Amendments of 1978, will also be useful.
Rehabilitation services are provided by a number of professions: psychology, counseling, medical, nursing, social work, and others. Career counseling services are most frequently provided by rehabilitation counselors, whose counseling preparation has also usually included the medical and social aspects of various disabilities and their relationship to work. In 2012, there were 129,800 rehabilitation counselors in the United States, according to the most recent version of the Occupational Outlook Handbook (BLS, 2012a). These counselors are employed by state-level rehabilitation offices as well as a number of national, state, and local public and private social agencies. Among the well-known organizations involved in rehabilitation are Goodwill Industries, Jewish Vocational Service, and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Some rehabilitation counselors are assigned to work in public schools, community colleges, and postsecondary institutions to provide counseling and various educational services.
Chapter 13 Preparing for Work
Things to Remember
The many options open to American workers to attain the education and training they need prior to employment
The magnitude of the high school dropout problem and sources of assistance and training for dropouts
The major sources of financial aid for postsecondary education and how it can be located
It is common knowledge that there is a positive relationship between the educational level attained and lifetime earnings. To be sure, a tackle in the National Football League makes more than the orthopedic surgeon that reconstructed his broken arm, and rock stars make more money than almost everyone else. It is also the case that educational attainment is not accompanied by a written guarantee that the completion of a bachelor’s degree comes with a written guarantee of employment or, if graduates are able to land a job, a salary that guarantees a comfortable lifestyle. College graduates are very often underemployed, which in plain English means that they make less money than their educational attainment would lead them to expect. What is more, many college graduates cannot find jobs at all. The fact is that many people who graduate from college make poor occupational choices that offer little opportunity after graduation.
Preparing for work begins with choosing a job that suits the individual’s talents, followed by getting the best possible education or training for that job. Phase two of the path to employment requires the development of job acquisition skills: locating, contacting, interviewing for, and negotiating for the best offer. Occupational choice is the beginning. Accepting a job is a midpoint. Continuing to improve one’s skills and continuing in a lifelong search completes the process.
Education is often touted as the road out of poverty, but there is increasing doubt that our schools are up to setting poor people on the right path. Some believe that our educational institutions, particularly our public K to 12 schools, are rapidly becoming second-class institutions that serve our society poorly. They point to National Educational Assessment Program data that compares U.S. students with those in other developed countries via standardized test results to support their case. The bottom line is that typical American students do less well than students in other countries, but that is not the entire story. Jerry Trusty and I (Brown & Trusty, 2005) reviewed the data and came to a different conclusion: Our schools are failing poor white and minority students to the greatest degree. If that conclusion is correct, our goal of helping marginalized groups attain economic equity is, at best, difficult.
As a career counselor, you have two tasks to perform. First, familiarize yourself with the educational opportunities that are available to your clients and teach them how to negotiate the system to prepare themselves for a high-quality occupation. Second, advocate for better schools, colleges, and training programs for the adolescents and adults in this country. The information in this chapter will set you on the path to the knowledge you need to perform these tasks.
Training time can be divided into two broad types: general education and specific vocational preparation. The first includes all the general academic preparation that develops reasoning and adaptability, decision-making skills, the ability to understand and follow directions, and the ability to work cooperatively with others. It also includes the development of basic educational skills, such as mathematics, language usage, reading, and writing. Acquisition of these skills starts no later than an individual’s first day of kindergarten and, in most cases, many months earlier. To the general education requirements, I would add foreign language skills. The global job market requires workers to have the ability to read, write, and speak the language of the country in which they are employed. It is already the case that many jobs in this country require the ability to speak Spanish, because many of the workers and the clients of the businesses are of Hispanic origin and have limited ability to speak English. Although much general education is acquired outside of the classroom and supplements the school curriculum, most is learned in school.
Specific vocational preparation is training directed toward learning techniques, knowledge, and skills needed for a specific job and situation. In general, an individual becomes concerned with obtaining specific vocational preparation after a tentative career decision has been made and the person recognizes (usually in the planning period) that she or he must acquire certain skills and knowledge to implement the decision.
Every occupation requires some combination of these two types of preparation. Continued attendance in public or private secondary school typically enhances the development of a student’s general educational development. However, specific vocational preparation is often gained outside of K to 12 schools, although there are exceptions for students who choose to pursue a vocational curriculum. For these students, preparation for work is included in the high school program. Other students may leave school prior to graduation and enter a training program in a community college, vocational technical school, or as an OJT trainee. On-the-job training is typically the route followed by high school dropouts and graduates who choose not to pursue some form of postsecondary education. Many high school graduates do elect a postsecondary educational route that may or may not include a college degree, a graduate program, or some form of professional education.
It is important to note that students who do decide not to complete high school increase the likelihood of sustained periods of unemployment and lower wages when they are employed. Statistics indicate that 857 students drop out of school every hour of every school day. About one quarter of all students and four in ten minority students do not graduate from high school. (Krache, 2012). Although the factors that lead students to leave school before they graduate are many, a well-developed career development program that begins as early as sixth grade can reduce the dropout rate. Well-designed programs can answer the question, “Why do I have to learn this stuff?”—a question that has to be answered for many students if they are to be kept in school.
High School and Preparation for Work
Preparing high school students to enter the labor market has been a longstanding concern in this country. In contrast to some European countries, students in the United States are not tracked into college and noncollege options based on test scores and grades. The U.S. approach has the advantage of not foreclosing educational and career options prematurely. The disadvantage of the system is that when students complete their secondary schooling many have difficulty making the transition to work. One legislative effort, the School-to-Work Opportunities Act (STWOA) of 1994, was developed to address this concern. This legislation provides money to schools to develop instructional programs based on both academic and occupational standards; to provide opportunities to all students to engage in work-based learning, including work experience, mentoring, and apprenticeships; and to provide what are termed connecting activities, which develop links between the workplace and schools. The STWOA has been reinforced by several other pieces of legislation, including the amendments to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004, the Goals 2000: Educate America Act, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, and the National Skills Standards Act of 1994. There are several implications related to these acts:
School-to-work (STW) activities may begin as early as kindergarten.
Students with disabilities must have STW transition plans as a part of their individualized education programs (IEPs).
Coordination of school activities with other agencies is required.
Work-based learning should be a part of the program.
Employers should be involved in the design and implementation of the program.
Career exploration and counseling are an integral part of the program, and students involved in the program must choose a career major no later than grade 11.
In North Carolina, middle school students complete a plan for their four-year course of study that is intended to lead to one of four options: college or university, postsecondary education to include technical careers or college (tech-prep), occupational education, or nondiploma. Although vocational education programs may not be included in every high school, such programs may be offered at specialized schools in the district. In addition to vocational education, some schools offer a variety of work experience programs that directly address the need to prepare high school graduates for the workforce. The school-to-work initiative was not intended to supplant these approaches, which are discussed in next section in some detail. However, STW was intended to address a concern that schools often ignore, the transition from school to work.
Vocational education programs were formally established in the United States during World War I and have received continuing support since then. Such programs offer specific vocational
Chapter 14 Facilitating the Global Job Search in a Digital Age
Things to Remember
The numerous uses of the Internet in the job search process
The skills needed by the job hunter
Types of job-placement services available to the job hunter
The approaches to job placement used by educational institutions
Twenty-two million workers were unemployed or underemployed in November, 2013. Underemployed workers are those workers who are employed part-time and are seeking full-time employment. There are also likely to be millions of workers who are employed full time and want to change jobs. The result: Job seekers are facing one of the most difficult employment climates since the Great Depression, when the unemployment rate ranged from approximately 16 percent in 1932 to about 14.5 percent in 1940 (History.com, 2013). Fortunately, today’s job hunter has a variety of resources available that were undreamed of until the 1930s. For example, the United States Employment Security Agency was not initiated until 1933 (Guzda, 1983).
Unfortunately, job creation in the United States has not kept pace with the demand for jobs. It also seems clear that job growth in some other countries, particularly China and India, may outpace job growth in the United States, partially because lower labor costs allow them to compete successfully with the United States and the Eurozone. It seems certain that serious job hunters will consider international jobs with increasing frequency now and in the future. However, job hunters—including dropouts, high school and college graduates, veterans, displaced adults, and others—should look first at the American workplace. Regardless of the geographic region targeted, individuals need a variety of traditional and contemporary job hunting skills, including identifying job openings with websites such as CareerOneStop and Monster, using software packages and websites, posting resumes and filing job applications on the Internet, and engaging in virtual job interviews with Skype and other software programs if they are to find suitable employment. It also means that cultural competency and understanding must take center stage for workers who hope to be successful in securing employment in other countries. This chapter begins by addressing the job search and then focuses on using placement services and other agencies in the job search.
The Job Search
The job-search process is fraught with anxiety for job seekers, whether they are seeking their first jobs or looking for new ones. Gaining employment not only ensures economic stability but also validates the worth of an individual to some degree. Those who have lost their jobs as a result of economic downturns, technological advances, or other reasons may have already suffered blows to their self-esteem; success in the job-search process may become even more important for them. Social support may offset some of the anxiety experienced by job seekers and in doing so increase their potential for success. The point is that career development specialists engaged in facilitating the job search must attend to psychological issues and the emotional state of the job seeker (Brewington, Nassar-McMillan, Flowers, & Furr, 2004; Subich, 1994).
The task of developing the job-hunting skills needed in today’s labor market is daunting. It often requires the use of various types of technologies and therefore may be particularly scary for older workers who have not kept abreast of technological developments. Historically, job seekers have relied on self-help books and attended group meetings in high schools, colleges, and as a part of the career development programs in their workplaces to develop these skills. Fortunately, the One-Stop Career Center’s website, state-level Department of Labor sites such as Virginia Career View, and a number of proprietary sites offer instruction and advice that can help job seekers gain the skills they need. The Riley Guide, a website by Margaret Riley Dikel, lists more than a dozen sections devoted to improving job search skills, ranging from using the Internet to avoiding the scams that promise job seekers more than they intend to deliver for a “small fee.” Some sites (boards) also contain job postings for North and South America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, the British Isles, Scandinavia, and Asia and the Pacific Rim countries, including Australia. Monster also offers many of the same types of tips and publications found on Riley and instead of offering job listings by region provides job listings for over 50 countries.
The questions for each job seeker are these: What is the best means of developing the skills I need to be successful in the job hunt? Should I use self-help guides? Internet publications and tips? Classes or small groups? A 20-year-old study by Eden and Avarim (1993) provides a partial answer for today; some job seekers need more than self-directed activities. They designed an eight-week workshop that employed cognitive strategies to increase job hunters’ self-efficacy and job-search activities. They found that their intervention was more helpful for people who had low self-efficacy at the outset and that reemployment increased dramatically for this group. Platt, Husband, Hermalin, Cater, and Metzger (1993) also used cognitive behavioral approaches in an attempt to increase the reemployment of drug abusers on methadone maintenance. They found that African American clients in the treatment groups were far more likely to be employed than their counterparts in the control groups, but they found no significant difference in the employment of white clients in the experimental and control groups.
What these two studies illustrate is that group interventions can be useful in the development of employability skills. Two other observations can be made on the basis of the results of these studies. First, the treatments did not work equally well for all groups involved, suggesting the need to tailor the types of interventions used to the needs of the clients. Second, in the study conducted by Platt and colleagues (1993), only 15 percent of the people in the experimental groups had jobs after one year. This suggests that employability skills training cannot overcome other obstacles to employment, such as substance abuse or inadequate preparation for the job. Not surprisingly, Eck (1993) found a direct link between the ability of job hunters to secure jobs and the extent to which their education prepared them to perform the job. The implication of this finding is clear. Today’s job hunters need to locate jobs and prequalify themselves before submitting applications or resumes.
Finally, employability skills training and initial employment and reemployment may be tempered by another variable: social support. Rife and Belcher (1993) found that workers who had the greatest degree of social support for their job-hunting activities spent more hours searching for jobs and made more employer contacts than those who did not have this support. Unemployed friends were judged to be better sources of support than employed friends and relatives in this study. This research provides direct support for many of the group-oriented activities, such as job clubs, described later in this section. Facebook, Twitter, and other types of social media can play a key role in the job search if they are used to provide social support and tips about job openings and employability skills.
Legislation, including the School-to-Work Opportunities Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and the Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA), includes provisions for supplying transitional activities—a term that includes teaching and helping individuals locate and obtain jobs. JTPA programs are in a position to provide this type of group help to disadvantaged individuals, including school dropouts, displaced homemakers, dislocated workers, and some others. Career counselors in secondary and postsecondary institutions are also positioned to provide assistance to students who are about to complete their educational programs. Community agencies often sponsor support groups or directly operate programs that provide this assistance to other members of the community who need and want help.
At the high school level, units on job-search techniques can be incorporated into several courses or established as electives. Special activities such as career days or job fairs during or outside regular school hours are also useful. The content is usually based either on a brief textbook or, more often, on a workbook or manual. Examples of materials available for this purpose include those by Bloch (2000), Wegman, Chapman, and Johnson (1989), and Farr (2011). It is worth noting that state informational websites, such as Texas Workforce: Youth Information and Services or the North Carolina Career Resource Network, include material that can be used with high school students. A wide range of materials that can be used in classes and small groups of college-level students and adults is available. Most of these materials are designed for self-help but can easily be adapted for group activities.
One approach that is being used in JTPA and community groups to help those actually engaged in the job-search process is job clubs (Azrin & Besadel, 1979; Hansen, 2010; Murray, 1993). These authors propose the formation of groups that not only provide support and encouragement but also help members improve their interview skills through role playing; clarify and sharpen their goals through group efforts; share tips with other members as possible leads appear; and seek group solutions to problems such as child care, transportation, and others. Again, social media such as Twitter and Facebook can serve as a valuable aid in these types of activities.
When job clubs include a support group whose members face common problems, the advantages of this approach are obvious. Members work together to resolve problems that frequently cause failure in the job search, to improve access to information about possible openings through networking, and to build skills in job-seeking techniques. The approach is clearly
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