National Report Explores Career Advising & Development Efforts at State and Local Levels

Silver Spring, MD – Today, Advance CTE and the American School Counselors Association (ASCA) released a report exploring the strategies currently in place across the country to support career advising and development efforts. Too often, career advising and development only occurs at the high school level, even though learners should have access to career awareness, exploration and planning activities from elementary school all the way through postsecondary education.

Advance CTE and ASCA conducted national surveys of State Career Technical Education (CTE) Directors, school counselors, and School Counseling Directors and found:

  • Across the board, states are not overly confident in the effectiveness of their career advising and development systems. Fifty-eight percent believe they are only somewhat effectively serving K-12 students, and 55 percent believe they are either only somewhat effective or not effective at serving postsecondary CTE students.
  • States, on average, are supporting a multitude of strategies at the K-12 level for career advising and development (an average of 5.7 strategies), yet they report mixed levels of effectiveness for the strategies, both on their own and collectively.
  • Similarly, school counselors also employ many strategies (an average of 5.8) in their career advising and development work and generally feel more optimistic about the effectiveness of their strategies than states do about state-level strategies.
  • School counselors who connect students with CTE coursework and career pathways find it an effective career advising and development strategy, but relatively few school counselors are able to make these connections.
  • School counselors struggle with balancing their heavy workloads and other counseling responsibilities, and they want more professional development and community engagement opportunities around career readiness to support their students more effectively.
  • While many states and national conversations are focused on the value of individual learning plans (ILPs), nearly one-quarter of school counselors do not know if their state’s ILP is meant to serve as a career advising and development tool. Additionally, no school counselors feel that the ILPs are extremely effective for career advising and development, and 42 percent believe they are only somewhat effective or not effective, echoing the assessment made by State Directors.

“Effective school counseling systems provide learners with access to the information they need to make informed decisions about their education and career pathway,” said Kimberly Green, Executive Director of Advance CTE. "Unfortunately, this report finds that there are serious gaps in the states' K-20 guidance and advisement systems, limiting opportunities for learners to understand the many options available to them, including CTE.  While states have made progress in improving their policies and expanding their career exploration and school counseling supports, there is more work to be done.  ”

“This report shows school counselors need more assistance to better support students whose interests and career paths are focused on the wide variety of opportunities CTE offers today,” said Jill Cook, Assistant Director of the American School Counselor Association. “This assistance, provided by states and local school districts, should focus on best practices for career advising and robust professional development. At the same time, given that school counselor-to-student ratios are much higher in most schools than ASCA recommends, we must pay attention to heavy caseloads so counselors can manage this vital work.”

Based on these findings, Advance CTE and ASCA have detailed a number of recommendations for states to improve their career advising systems in "The State of Career Technical Education: Career Advising and Development."  Learn more about these recommendations in the report, and join our webinar on February 20, which will feature presentations from ASCA and Advance CTE, as well as a local CTE practitioner.

This report is supported by the New Skills for Youth (NSFY) initiative, a partnership of the Council of Chief State School Officers, Advance CTE and Education Strategy Group, generously funded by JPMorgan Chase & Co. 

Contact: Katie Fitzgerald 
301-588-9630, kfitzgerald@careertech.org