The Future of Career Counseling As an Instrument of Public Policy (Career Counseling in the Next Decade)

Since the early 20th century, career counseling has been tire object of public policy and legislation. As such, the important contributions of career counseling to labor market processes have reinforced the role of career counseling and related career interventions as sociopolitical instruments vital to the facilitation of national goals. The author discusses the interactions of career counseling and public policy; the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats related to such interactions; and selected strategic issues facing professional career counselors in the 21st century. Unlike many of the other articles in this special issue that deal directly with the processes and techniques of career counseling, this article examines the public policy context that supports and, often, shapes the substance and the implementation of career counseling. Public policy and its corollary, legislation pertinent to career counseling, have frequently defined who does career counseling in particular settings and with what types of interventions, the nature of the training these career practitioners should have, who receives career counseling, and the purpose of these interventions. Frequently, policy makers who are responsible for specific legislation provide a list of terms to represent the content or the prescribed goals of career counseling in a particular piece of legislation and the concepts that determine the institutional or population boundaries in which career counseling is expected to function.

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