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What's New? Career Decision-Making Tool
What is NCDG?

The National Career Development Guidelines (NCDG) are a framework for thinking about the knowledge and skills young people and adults need to manage their careers effectively, from making decisions about school to taking that first job and beyond.

To support the framework, the NCDG Web site provides career development activities and resources for youth and adults that are linked to the NCDG goals.



Development of the Framework

The National Occupational Information Coordinating Committee (NOICC) first released the National Career Development Guidelines in 1989. NCDG included a framework of career development competencies and indicators of mastery, and a recommended strategy for implementing career development programs for youth or adults.

Since then, much has changed. The demands of a high performance workplace require workers to engage in lifelong learning to continually improve their academic, occupational and career management skills. It is important that NCDG remain dynamic as well, and continue to reflect the full scope of career development and career management skills required in todays workplace.

Accordingly, the US Department of Educations Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE) commissioned the Guidelines Revision Project in 2003 to:

  • update and revise the framework of competencies and indicators to align with the goals of No Child Left Behind (NCLB);
  • expand the target audiences to include K-12 students and their parents, teachers, counselors and administrators, postsecondary students and other adults and the business community;
  • broaden the scope and application by providing the target audiences with easily accessible career development information, learning activities and strategies that lead to informed career decision-making and lifelong learning; and
  • create a robust, career development Web site to deliver NCDG information, learning activities and strategies.
OVAE contracted with DTI Associates, Inc. - A Haverstick Company (DTI) to oversee the creation of an expanded NCDG resource that contains these components:

  • a framework of career development domains, goals and indicators;
  • career development activities and resources for youth and adults to use on their own or with family; and
  • career development lessons, activities, resources and implementation strategies for educators, administrators, counselors and career development practitioners to support program development, delivery and evaluation.
The materials in each component are designed to help youth and adults better manage their own careers or to help professionals design and deliver career development programs and services for youth and adults in many settings.

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Organization of the Framework

The framework is organized into three domains, goals that support those domains, and indicators of mastery under each goal. The indicators are further grouped by learning stage.

Domains and Goals

Domains, goals and indicators organize the NCDG framework. The three domains: Personal Social Development (PS), Educational Achievement and Lifelong Learning (ED) and Career Management (CM) describe content. Under each domain are goals (eleven in total). The goals define broad areas of career development competency.

Indicators and Learning Stages

Under each goal in the framework are indicators of mastery that highlight the knowledge and skills needed to achieve that goal. Each indicator is presented in three learning stages derived from Blooms Taxonomy: knowledge acquisition, application and reflection. The stages describe learning competency. They are not tied to an individuals age or level of education.

Knowledge Acquisition (K). Youth and adults at the knowledge acquisition stage expand knowledge awareness and build comprehension. They can recall, recognize, describe, identify, clarify, discuss, explain, summarize, query, investigate and compile new information about the knowledge.

Application (A). Youth and adults at the application stage apply acquired knowledge to situations and to self. They seek out ways to use the knowledge. For example, they can demonstrate, employ, perform, illustrate and solve problems related to the knowledge.

Reflection (R). Youth and adults at the reflection stage analyze, synthesize, judge, assess and evaluate knowledge in accord with their own goals, values and beliefs. They decide whether or not to integrate the acquired knowledge into their ongoing response to situations and adjust their behavior accordingly.

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Coding of the Framework

The NCDG framework has a simple coding system to identify domains, goals, indicators and learning stages. The coding system makes it easy for you to use the NCDG for program development and to track activities by goal, learning stage and indicator. However, you do not need to know or include the codes to use the NCDG framework.

Domains:

  • PSPersonal Social Development
  • EDEducational Achievement and Lifelong Learning
  • CMCareer Management

Goals:

Coded by domain and then numerically.
For example, under the Personal Social Development domain:
  • Goal PS1: Develop understanding of yourself to build and maintain a positive self-concept.
  • Goal PS2: Develop positive interpersonal skills including respect for diversity.

Indicators and Learning Stages:

Coded by domain, goal, learning stage and then numerically.

Learning Stages:
  • KKnowledge Acquisition
  • AApplication
  • RReflection
For example, the second indicator under the first goal of the Personal Social Development domain:
  • PS1.K2 Identify your abilities, strengths, skills, and talents.
  • PS1.A2 Demonstrate use of your abilities, strengths, skills, and talents.
  • PS1.R2 Assess the impact of your abilities, strengths, skills, and talents on your career development.
If you have questions about the NCDG framework, in general, or its technical development, please contact NTSC. Back to Top

Using the NCDG Framework

The NCDG framework is the foundation for all of the other NCDG materials. Consider the following possibilities for using the framework:

  • Youth and adults can use the goals and indicators as an informal checklist to determine areas of competency and gaps that need attention.
  • Parents, guardians, spouses, or family members can use the framework to better understand how to help someone with career development questions.
  • Teachers can use the framework to review their curriculum and existing lessons for career development connections.
  • Teachers can use the framework to write new lessons that enhance academic rigor by infusing career development concepts.
  • Counselors, career practitioners and administrators can use the framework to review an existing career development program for students or adults to see what competencies are covered and where the gaps are.
  • Counselors, career practitioners and administrators can use the framework to craft needs assessments for youth and adults.
  • Counselors, career practitioners and administrators can use the framework to craft a new competency-based career development program for youth or adults.
  • Counselors, career practitioners and administrators can use the framework to develop a program evaluation and accountability plan.
  • Counselors, career practitioners and media specialists can use the framework to review materials and resources on hand or those being considered for purchase.
  • The framework can serve as the basis for staff development workshops offered locally, statewide, or regionally (e.g., ACRN workshops).
  • The framework can inform the development of professional standards, accreditation, certification and legislation and policy at both the national and state levels.
  • Product developers can use the framework to target their materials to meet specific career development needs of potential customers.
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Technical Reference: Development of the NCDG Framework

The National Career Development Guidelines was first released in 1989 in a series of handbooks that contained the NCDG framework and strategies for implementing the NCDG with various populations (e.g., elementary students, high school students and adults). The National Occupational Information Coordinating Committee (NOICC), the State Occupational Information Coordinating Committees (SOICC's), national experts in career development and leading career counseling and development professional organizations collaborated in the NCDG project. Two resources played a key role in the development of the original NCDG: Career Development Education: A Program Approach for Teachers and Counselors and BORN FREE Training Packets to Reduce Sex-role Stereotyping in Career Development: Elementary, Secondary and Postsecondary Levels.

In 2003, OVAE contracted with DTI Associates, Inc. - A Haverstick Company (DTI) to manage the National Training Support Center (NTSC) projects including the update and revision of the National Career Development Guidelines framework. DTI charged a team of three career development experts with the responsibility of writing the new NCDG framework. Early in their writing process they gathered input from a broad range of career development practitioners. They used the original 1989 NCDG as the foundation for the revision work. The writing team reviewed numerous other career development frameworks (e.g., the Canadian Blueprint for Life Work Designs, those from several states and the American School Counselor Association's National Standards for School Counseling Programs) for content and organization. DTI also convened a work group that included representatives from America's Career Resource Network (ACRN), counselor educators, state departments of education, national associations, practitioners, career development experts and OVAE. The work group provided ideas and input throughout the development process.

From July 2003 - June 2004 the writing team sought feedback from the career development community through e-mail broadcasts, ACRN website postings, discussion groups, and presentations at national conferences (e.g., National Career Development Association [NCDA], American School Counselor Association [ASCA], National Employment Counseling Association [NECA], National Consortium of State Guidance Supervisors and Association of Computer-Based Systems for Career Information [ACSCI] and ACRN grantee meetings). The team incorporated many of the recommendations to create a first draft of the revised NCDG. It was circulated for review and comment. In total, this revision/comment process was repeated three times as the document was further refined. The NCDG framework was then validated through a rigorous set of "matching" procedures. DTI engaged five career development professionals and an evaluation consultant to perform eight exercises that included matching:
  • goals to domains;
  • all indicators to domains;
  • indicators to goals for each domain; and
  • indicators to learning stages for each domain.
When three or more of the matchers placed an item differently than that found in the NCDG framework, that item was reviewed for clarity and utility. Adjustments were made as appropriate. The matching exercise provided information to further refine the NCDG framework leading to the final version of the NCDG.

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References

Bloom, B. S. (Ed.), Engelhart, M. D., Furst, E. J., Hill, W. H., & Krathwohl, D. R. (1956). Taxonomy of educational objectives: Handbook I: Cognitive domain. New York: David McKay.

Campbell, Chari and Dahir, Carol (Eds.). (1997). The national standards for school counseling programs. Alexandria, VA: American School Counselor Association.

Hansen, L. S. & Associates. (1978). BORN FREE training packets to reduce sex-role stereotyping in career development: Elementary, secondary and postsecondary levels. Newton, MA: Women's Educational Equity ct Distribution Center.

Hache, Lorraine, Redekopp, Dave E. and Jarvis, Phil S. (Eds.). (2000). The quick reference guide: Blueprint for life work designs. Ottawa, Canada: National Life/Work Centre, Canada Career Information Partnership and Human Resources Development Canada.

Herr, Edwin L. (2004). Career development: What it is and why it is important. America's Career Resource Network Web site (www.acrnetwork.org). December 2004.

Tennyson, W. W., Hansen, L. S., Klaurens, M. K. and Antholz, M. B. (1980). Career development education: a program approach for teachers and counselors. Alexandria, VA: National Career Development Association. America's Career Resource Network

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Acknowledgments

Guidelines Framework Revision Team

Linda Kobylarz (Chairperson)
Career Development Consultant
Linda Kobylarz & Associates

Cal Crow, Ph. D.
Program Director
Center for Learning Connections
Highline Community College

Judith Ettinger, Ph. D.
Project Director
University of Wisconsin Center on Education and Work

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National Career Development Guidelines Revision Project Work Group

Judy Bowers, Ed. D.
Guidance Coordinator
Tucson Unified School District
President, American School Counselor Association (2004)

Cal Crow, Ph. D.
Program Director
Center for Learning Connections
Highline Community College

Raymond B. Davis, Jr., Ph. D., LPC, NCC, NCCC
Education Associate
South Carolina Department of Education

Karen DeCoster, M. Ed.
Massachusetts Career Resource Network Director
Massachusetts Department of Education

Judith Ettinger, Ph. D.
Project Director
University of Wisconsin Center on Education and Work
America's Career Resource Network

Cindi Gahris
Assistant Director
Office of Career-Technical & Adult Education
Ohio Department of Education

Edwin Herr, Ph. D.
Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Education
and Associate Dean Emeritus College of Education
The Pennsylvania State University

Linda Kobylarz
Career Development Consultant
Linda Kobylarz & Associates

Dan Marrs, Ph. D.
Program Administrator
North Dakota Career Resource Network

Nancy S. Perry, NCC, NCSC, Retired
Consultant

Pat Schwallie-Giddis, Ph. D.
Assistant Professor of Counseling
George Washington University

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Contributing Authors

Phillippa and Dan Baran, Ph. D. Baran & Baran

David Blustein, Ph. D.
Professor, Lynch School of Education
Boston College

Jay Carey, Ph. D.
Director, Center for School Counseling Outcome Research
University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Cal Crow, Ph. D.
Program Director
Center for Learning Connections
Highline Community College

Karen DeCoster, M. Ed.
Massachusetts Career Resource Network Director
Massachusetts Department of Education

Edwin Herr, Ed. D.
Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Education
and Associate Dean Emeritus College of Education
The Pennsylvania State University

Polly Hutcheson
Consultant
National Training Support Center, DTI Associates, Inc. - A Haverstick Company

Linda Kobylarz
Career Development Consultant
Linda Kobylarz & Associates

Garrison Moore
President
Employment Policies Associates

Nancy S. Perry, NCC, NCSC, Retired
Consultant

Janet Wall, Ed. D.
President
Sage Associates

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U.S. Department of Education, OVAE

Burton Carlson
Gisela Harkin

Technical Support

The National Training Support Center, DTI Associates, A Haverstick Company, provided technical support and counsel throughout the entire Guidelines revision process.

Maureen Bozell
Laura Lanier
Suzy Lewtas
Cheryl Donahue
Robert White

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