Every so often great minds come together to create a source of synergy the whole of which exceeds the sum of the parts. Thus, is the case with two giants of career development in the United States.

The National Career Development Association (NCDA) has worked with the Association of Career and Technology Education (ACTE) to enhance “membership collaboration” between the two organizations beginning this Fall 2016. This collaboration recognizes and honors the common ground of guidance and career development between the two national organizations. The initiative, which is currently being referred to as an “Professional Development Package” (PDP) is designed to encourage shared professional development, career development resources, best practices, legislative advocacy, and professional networking between the two national leaders in guidance and career development.

The PDP package is set to be announced as $70 for new members of either organization. This fee will be collected by each organization with membership information collected in a common database. Existing members of either organization can opt to receive this PDP of a nominal fee of $35.

NCDA will be adding anyone new to this PDP opportunity as a “New Professional Member” beginning immediately and ensuring that these professionals will get full membership benefits in NCDA. In a similar manner, ACTE is developing their membership option to provide access to extensive guidance and career development electronic communications, resources, and professional development. For those existing NCDA members who take advantage of this option, they will receive a benefits package from ACTE that targets both K-12 and higher education professionals.

Soon, both organizations will be marketing this option to their members. NCDA plans to use the following to enlighten its members of this inter-organization collaboration:

1. Announcement via e-bulletin (covers full membership)
2. Web listing under Latest News
3. Career Convergence Article with link to options available to all NCDA members
4. An article to ACA’s Counseling Today about effective collaborations for those NCDA members whose NCDA membership is shared through their ACA membership
5. Additional press releases to other sister organizations (like NAWDP, NACE, ASCA, smaller sister organizations, etc.) showcasing this collaborative agreement

Estimated start date is September 1st pending changes needed for membership issues at both organizations.

ACTE’s Jan Bennet-Bell, Vice-President of the Guidance and Career Development Division, is handling the marketing for ACTE members and will serve as liaison to NCDA through her three-year tenure as ACTE Board member. Ray Davis, NCDA Board Trustee for School Career Counselors and Specialists, will be working with NCDA Executive Director, Deneen Pennington, to market the above membership roll out to NCDA members.

This collaboration is rooted in three years of professional exchanges. Both Jan and Ray have attended the last annual conference of each of the two organizations to set the groundwork for this PDP. NCDA Past-Presidents Rich Feller and Lisa Severy, and current NCDA President, Cynthia Marco-Scanlon, have attended ACTE’s annual conference each of the past three years.

Both organizations are excited about the collaboration developed during the 2015-16 year. ACTE has extended the hand of collaboration on legislative policy and advocacy with NCDA’s Government Relations Committee, as well as our NCDA staff at LobbyIt in Washington, DC. This unified effort has been very effective as the two organizations unilaterally advocated for stronger legislation for career guidance in WIOA, ESSA, and Perkins reauthorization. ACTE’s National Policy Seminar has been discussed as a rallying point in Washington in early March 2017 for joint organizational legislative advocacy.

NCDA has reached out to New England CDA and CTE professionals to include them in our Career Practitioner Institute in Groton, CT, in October. For more information, see https://ncda.org/aws/NCDA/pt/sp/cpinstitute.

What does the future bring for this collaboration? The sky is the limit! The PDP leadership is investigating collaborative webinars on topics of expressed need by members of NCDA and ACTE. Each organization will continue to offer the other organization featured workshop slots at their annual conference. Identified professional development such as post-secondary career pathways and transitions, career decision making, the usage of career assessments and technology, and career guidance skill-development are but a small number of topics that the two giants of guidance and career development are mulling as part of the “common ground” of the collaborative.

Guest contributor Ray Davis, Ph.D.
NCDA Trustee
School Career Counselors and Specialists