What's Happening in Washington DC? Become informed and get involved!

By Stephanie Vance and Niel Carey

Do you provide career development services at any level (K-12, community college, college, graduate school – and beyond)? Or perhaps to the un- or under-employed through one-stop centers? Maybe to mid- to upper-level professionals seeking a life/career change? How about to military veterans in transition? Conduct career research or teach graduate students?


If you can answer yes to any of these questions (or are involved in career development services in any way), you’ll want to join us at the NCDA Career Development conference in Boston for “What’s Happening in Washington, DC?”-- a discussion on the current federal policy environment and how it impacts your day-to-day work. From the Workforce Investment Act to the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act to funding for Department of Labor’s One-Stop Centers and the VA funding for veterans assistance, your elected officials will play an important role in the future of our profession. Only you have the power to decide if these actions will help or hurt our colleagues in the career development profession.


The conference presentation session will take place in Boston on Monday, July 8 from 3-4:10p.m. and will offer participants valuable information about current federal policy proposals impacting career development professionals as well as ideas and resources for becoming actively involved. It will feature a presentation by Stephanie Vance, author, “Advocacy Guru”, and consultant to NCDA on ideas and techniques that will help you become involved in the vital process of telling the story of NCDA’s century of service and advocating for its members. Historically, NCDA members and leaders have been actively involved in government relations. They have gathered supportive survey and research data, prepared and presented testimony to congressional committees and federal departments, and communicated with and met personally with elected representatives and federal officials. Niel Carey and the members of the Government Relations Committee will provide an update of the Committee’s current work including the status of legislation that affects NCDA members.


The timing of this program could not be better. Some members of Congress have already introduced legislation that could potentially reduce funding for programs like Job Corps, Worker Displacement, Veteran’s Transition services and One-Stop Centers. Other legislators have proposed to dramatically reduce the amount states have available to invest in career services in schools. On the positive side, efforts are afoot to promote career counseling services in libraries, enhance access to careers in the automation/cyber security fields, increase student access to career services and more. Do you want to help move our elected officials and our federal government to support these positive solutions? If so, mark this session on your conference calendar.


With the confusion and partisan wrangling in Washington, DC, the need for NCDA members to become actively involved in the policy making process is greater than ever. We have a clear and convincing story to share of our organization’s century of professional service. At a time when individuals across the age span face the challenges of seeking meaningful work or dealing with career change, those services are more important than ever. Our elected representatives in Congress need to hear directly from us about the kinds of service and support we are providing to their constituents. And they need to understand what we need in terms of the policy support and resources to continue to provide those services.


In addition to a recap of all the budget, appropriations, workforce investment, veterans assistance and other urgent legislative activities in Washington, D.C., participants in this session will gain insights into how to effectively advocate for the profession. We’ll cover:

  • The critical factors that influence elected officials (believe it or not, bribery and manipulation are not on the list!)

  • The four keys to effective advocacy, including knowing what you want, who to talk to, how to talk to them and how to follow-up

  • How to develop effective messages that resonate in tough fiscal and political times

  • How you can use your “power of constituency” to make a difference

  • The top 10 “quick and easy” things you can do build a relationship with legislators and make a difference for career development services.


Please remember, the decisions being made in Washington, D.C. profoundly and directly affect all career development professionals every single day. Our goal is to not only be heard, but to be supported by our elected officials in our Nation’s capital. Join us in this session to become informed, to ask questions and share your experiences, and to have some fun!



Stephanie VanceStephanie Vance, the Advocacy Guru at Advocacy Associates, is the author of five books on effective advocacy and influence, including The Influence Game. A former Capitol Hill Chief of Staff and lobbyist, she works with a wide range of groups, including the National Career Development Association, to improve their advocacy efforts. More at www.theinfluencegame.com



Niel CareyNiel Carey, 2012-2014 Chair of the Government Relations Committee



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