17 Jun 2022


Career Development and Community Training Workshops

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Alabama has a total population of over 4, 841,000 residents . Out of this number 2,091,505 are engaged in formal employment activities within the state. According to the statistics given by Alabama department of labor, approximately 85,000 people were unemployed in Alabama by June 2018 (“Alabama Department of Labor , ” 2018). This is an unemployment rate of 3.9%. High school dropouts and unemployment is Alabama’s biggest barriers to economic development. Phoenix city in particular has a population density of 36, 900 residents (“Phoenix City Demographics,” 2018) . Majority of the residents in Phoenix are predominantly white making up 49% of the Caucasian population. The highest post-secondary dropout rates are often recorded from the Hispanic and African American communities. The African Americans constitute the second largest population in phoenix comprising of 44% of the residents. Over 40% of students in Alabama drop out of high school and fail to earn a diploma due to economic difficulties or academic challenges (Coe, Dailey, Davis, Hardy, Hatcher, Powell & Trafford, 2010)

Project plan proposal 

The Career Development and Community Training Workshops in phoenix are proposed to be implemented within the Phoenix Alabama around public schools that have a high school dropout rate of over 60%. The Community based workshops will enroll high school drop outs and unemployed adults for vocational training programs to ease the transition from unemployment back to the work environment. Career counseling is especially important during times of career transitions, unemployment and return to work formulas. Some of the core needs of the unemployed community members might include job search skills, counseling after job losses, job and career assessment programs, goal setting and other career exploration activities (Neault, 2007). 

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Needs assessment for Alabama career development programs 

Manufacturing industries include motor vehicle manufacturing, aerospace parts manufacturing, fabricated metal and machining, electrical appliances, metal factories among others (Amison & Bailey, 2014). Given the shifting nature of the Alabama manufacturing industries, a huge number of employees are losing their jobs due to restructuring programs or outsourcing of manufacturing services to foreign countries. Multiple job losses have been experienced by the local community members. This has led to disenfranchisement and lower economic status. Over 70% of the current job market requires an equivalent of a high school diploma in order to gain entry level employment. 

Obsolete skills are continuously being replaced by new innovative skills necessary for survival in the 21 st century. Therefore in order for middle aged employees to remain competitive within the workplace, they should engage in continuous education programs that enhance their skill levels in order to remain employable in the current market place. Other than that they can transition into self-directed careers by starting their own businesses or working as freelance contractors. 

The training gaps that have not been covered through the existing career development programs include on the job training (OJT), work based learning and career development services. The Career Development and Community Training Workshops in phoenix will provide a comprehensive career and professional development programs to increase the career options for high school drop outs and individuals who have lost their jobs within the state. The community based organization will provide vocational training and career counseling services to the youth ranging between 16 to 25 years. 

Career development programs in PHOENIX CITY, ALABAMA 

Alabama has devoted a significant amount of the city resources in training the local workforce through community programs such as: 

The Alabama career center system 

This program has 25 career centers based in 20 satellite cities. It provides labor exchange services to over 7,000 youth and dislocated employees in low income communities. 

Alabama Adult education services 

Adult education is offered to over 50,000 part time and full time students. The organization works in collaboration with the Alabama Community College System (ACCS) and Alabama Career Centers to offer adult education classes for employees who are looking to enhance their employability skills. 

Alabama Department of labor 

The Alabama department of labor has created an online job registration portal that helps enhance the skills of the job seekers by matching them with the appropriate job openings and employers. 

Alabama department of rehabilitation services 

Vocational training offered by the department of rehabilitative services (ADRS) is aimed at equipping the youth who have dropped out of school and disabled teenagers with employable skills. Some of the services offered through this program include career counseling and placement services, skills assessment and the provision of assistive technologies. 

Career development theories used by the program 

Self-motivating beliefs and attitudes have a huge effect on the decision people make while choosing their careers goals. People tend to move away from careers they believe they do not have adequate skills to perform. They are however attracted to career opportunities that align with their strengths which motivate them to advance and acquire new skills. Therefore a person’s goals, interests and motivation levels eventually lead to a higher career attainment. The ability of an employee to take up challenging job roles and new training opportunities to ensure they meet their career goals depends on their self-belief. 

The theories that will be used to govern career development and counseling within the program will include aspects of personality traits and aspects of self-concept. The Holland theory will be used to match different personalities with different career groups. According to this theory personality types greatly influence an individual’s career choice (Osipow, 1968). Some of the personality types described by the Holland theory include artistic personalities, social and enterprising people. Conventional, realistic and investigative personalities are the other types of personalities that need more research. 

Banduras theory of social cognition on the other hand focuses on self-efficacy as the main reason for career counseling. Self-efficacy determines the coping behaviors different people use within the work environment to deal with stress and handle work related challenges. The four main sources of self-efficacy include personal accomplishments within the work environment, encouragements from colleagues and peers and the modeling of an admired member of the society or mentor. These self-efficacy beliefs determine the motivation levels and feelings of self-worth. The Banduras theory of social cognition shows that different people have different levels of self-efficacy (Lent, Brown & Hackett, 1994). While people with high efficacy control their destinies, the ones with low efficacy perceive certain tasks are more difficult than they actually seem which makes them leave their destinies to fate. 

Career problem areas addressed 

The project will provide intervention services to employment barriers such as the development of effective communication and computer literacy skills among high school drop outs. Given the varied nature of workplace career programs, the community project is expected to enroll students into a wide variety of public schools around low income communities in Phoenix. The work based training program will focus on highly employable skills sought by employers. Some of the career programs that will be offered to these students include community development services, business management, human resource management, technical skills among others. The work readiness program will be implemented in three phases: 

Vocational training programs 

Employers are often looking to hire for entry level positions based on the candidates experience levels, skills and a combination of other knowledge based competencies. The adult education program will provide an alternative pathway to youth unemployment through free vocational training programs offered at our training centers. These vocational training programs will allow students complete their education and be incorporated back into formal employment. An appropriate curriculum will be developed to provide a career pathway for different professions. The critical skills to be developed by the participants will be divided into industry based skills such as project management, analytical thinking or even leadership skills. The skills based training will be using classroom instructions and practical applications. 

Job search and placement services 

The participants will be trained on how to communicate their skills effectively in order to get an employer’s attention. The development of a professional image will be crucial for success during a job search. Sending resumes through online job bulletins will be one way of allowing the students to market their skills to a wide range of employers. Filling out the necessary paperwork required to apply for vacant job positions will be an added skill for these new students. The first point of job placements will be small businesses run by family members, friends or relatives. These small businesses provide a fantastic opportunity for the participants to start building on their work experience and possible career choices. 

Career awareness programs 

The participants will be required to engage in a career awareness week and work transition programs. Learning how to network within the industry will be an added skill to increasing the chances of gaining meaningful employment. Enrolling for a job fair week will be one way of exposing the students to the various careers available in the current employment market. The on job training skills offered by the community based organization will include soft skills such as time management, team work and taking responsibility. 

Program assessment 

The counseling program will also reduce the mismatches between the vocational subjects and highly marketable skills. The development of work ready skills will be assesses through the literacy needs of the participants and their ability to engage in public speaking events that require them to communicate fluently in English. The use of computer skills in creation of employer related documents and reports will also be an added advantage for the students attending the vocational training workshops. The program will focus on skills that enhance self-sufficiency and financial independence among the youth. A comprehensive guidance and counseling program within the project will ensure that participants develop career paths that are self-fulfilling. The number of students who transition smoothly from unemployment to the work environment will also be used as a criterion for assessing the success of the project. 

Competencies of career counselors working in the program 

Some of the highly sought after skills for career counselor includes; career assessments experience; vocational guidance and assessments; and lastly the ability to provide life planning and career guidance. The counselors will be required to have a minimum of a post graduate certificate or diploma in career counseling (McGregor-Bayne, McIlveen & Bayne, 2003). Apart from that a work experience of five years will be required to ensure qualified counselors are employed within the community project. 

The five main competencies required for a career counselor to be employed within the community project is their ability to: 

Design of vocational training and curriculum development. 

The counselors will also be required to provide individual and group assessments. 

Offer career development advice to young adults and middle aged employees. 

Ability to acquire the necessary resources and information required for class instruction. 

Have a professional and ethical outlook to the counseling practice. 

Provide consultation services to the management 

Anticipated legal or ethical issues 

Counseling minors and high school drops outs outside the school setting might bring various legal and ethical challenges to the community organization. Some of the issues the community counselors will face when dealing with minors include parental consent, confidentiality issues and multicultural challenges. The code of ethics in counseling states that parental consent should be given on behalf of any child below the age of 18 years. This means that parents have a right to make career choices for their children, making it difficult for the counselors to make clear evaluations on the child’s career path. Therefore failure to obtain consent from the parents of the post high school students might lead to malpractice and lawsuits. On the other hand ethical counseling often require confidentiality rules to be broken in cases of sensitive family issues such as child abuse, suicides or rape (Keim & Cobia, 2010). The parents might resort to opting out of the counseling sessions in order to protect the identity of the family or the child. The confidential nature of counseling makes it difficult for the organization to collaborate with parents, caregivers and the students themselves. 

The five roles of the career consultants 

As the Alabama economy continues to grow, there will be an increasing need to supply highly skilled workers. Career and technical education (CTE) instructors will be essential in providing vocational training for adult education and post high school transitions into the workplace. The role of the career and technical education (CTE) instructors will be to:- 

Provide work readiness skills in order to increase the earning power of the unemployed workers. This will ensure that no child is left behind and further increase their demand for employable skills. 

The career and technical instructors will be responsible for providing occupational training through theoretical classroom instructions and hands on training to ensure a smooth transition to the workplace requirements. 

The instructors will be required to design their classes in such a way that the students will be able to co-ordinate between working on school based projects that enhance industry specific skills. For example, the students might be required to enroll in internship programs or engage in field trips in order to interact with the numerous career groups available in the market. This will allow the students to make informed decisions and therefore enhance their transition into the formal work environment. 

It will also be important for the career instructors to understand how academics can be applied in the work and business setting in order to fulfill the needs of the current workforce. 

The career instructors will develop a curriculum based on the career clusters model that align core leaning skills with the current workplace skills requirements (Kerna, 2012). Some of the highly marketable and employable skills the instructors will focus on include a) communication skills; b) leadership management and team work; c) technical skills; d) critical thinking; e) industry related knowledge; f) computer skills; g) career development and employability competencies; h) environmental safety and ethics. 

Proposal for renewal of funding 

The Phoenix Career Development and Community Training Workshops is requesting for a renewal of the $1.5 million grant funding from the state educational agencies (SEAs). This funding will be used for the improvement of the community career training centers in our 20 satellite training centers for the financial year 2018/2019. These centers are located around persistently low achieving tier II secondary schools in Phoenix and have been realizing an over enrollment of students. The school has therefore decided to expand its services by opening 10 more training centers in these regions. The community training center has demonstrated a strong commitment for the use of these funds. The 2017/2018 financial year saw over 2,000 students being placed into formal employment and personal business ventures. The economic impact of this program has reduced the community over reliance on state sponsored help such as Medicaid and Medicare. This initiative has saved the Phoenix tax payer over $240 million in Medicaid and other state sponsored expenses. The program plans to continue working with partners and funding donors to solve the current education crisis in Phoenix Alabama. The program depends on the support and contributions from its funding partners. 

R eferences  

Alabama Department of Labor (2018, June) . Labor Market Information Division. Civilian Labor Force by County -. Unemployment Data. Alabama.gov . Retrieved on 2 august 2018 from http://www2.labor.alabama.gov/LAUS/clfbycnty.aspx 

Amison, P., & Bailey, D. (2014). Phoenix industries and open innovation? The Midlands advanced automotive manufacturing and engineering industry. Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society , 7 (3), 397-411. 

Coe, W., Dailey, J., Davis, C., Hardy, J., Hatcher, S., Powell, B., & Trafford, Y. (2010). Alabama’s high school dropout rate. Alabama Training Institute Certifeid Public Manager Program , 1-32. 

Keim, M. A., & Cobia, D. (2010). Legal and Ethical Implications of Working with Minors in Alabama: Consent and Confidentiality. Alabama Counseling Association Journal , 35 (2), 28-34. 

Kerna, K. D. (2012). Help wanted: Professional development and training for career and technical education faculty. International Journal of Vocational and Technical Education , 4 (3), 38-45. 

Lent, R. W., Brown, S. D., & Hackett, G. (1994). Toward a unifying social cognitive theory of career and academic interest, choice, and performance. Journal of vocational behavior , 45 (1), 79-122. 

McGregor-Bayne, H., McIlveen, P., & Bayne, G. (2003). Competencies of an entry-level career counsellor in higher education. Australian Journal of Career Development , 12 (3), 55-63. 

Neault, R. A. (2007). Career Management: The Role of Career Counsellors in Building Strategic Partnerships Between Individuals and their Employers. Canadian Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy/Revue canadienne de counseling et de psychothérapie , 34 (3). 

Osipow, S. H. (1968). Theories of Career Development. A Comparison of the Theories. 

Phoenix City, AL Demographics. AreaVibes Inc. Phenix City, AL Demographics. Retrieved on 2 august 2018 from https://www.areavibes.com/phenix+city-al/demographics/ 

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