Career Key

Author: Career Key's President and CEO, Juliet Wehr Jones, GCDF, J.D.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Telling the Truth about Careers of the Future

When will our leaders, Republican and Democrat, focus on solving our economic problems here at home with greater emphasis on career and technical education and workforce development? Reading this week's New York Times column by Thomas Friedman, "[w]ho will tell the people?" got me fired up again on this issue. Who is going to tell the truth about America's diminishing economic power due to increasingly subpar workforce development, and fix it?

I just got back from an international counseling conference in Istanbul (post about this is coming) where I was reminded that other countries look to the U.S. as a role model for excellence in career guidance. Federally funded national treasures like the Occupational Outlook Handbook are looked upon by developing countries as the "gold standard." Not even the U.K. has an online equivalent. And yet, our government continues to cut the funding and support for our national systems for workforce development and occupation information. For example, America's Career Resource Network website reports:
"No funding has however been appropriated for sponsoring occupational and employment information related activities. This program [Perkins] had earlier provided funding to each state and territory to "support academic and career guidance."
I understand and agree with wise, efficient use of my tax dollars - big government is not necessarily smart government. But smart government means planning for the future, not exactly a priority in 1 year federal budget cycles. Apparently "Bridges to Nowhere" are more important than our future economic growth. So hopefully it will not be too late, before the U.S. has squandered its superiority in its innovative and productive workforce, for us to rebuild and keep our reputation for career guidance excellence. Some leadership in this direction would be helpful.

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