Career Development Facilitator Work Options

by Sally Gelardin

Background of CDF

The Career Development Facilitator training was designed to recognize the training and background of those working in career development fields and to establish minimum competency areas. Because it is one of the most comprehensive and practical career trainings available, the training is now sought after by a range of career practitioners, both by those who have been in the field for years and by those who are new to the field, as well as by those with post-secondary degrees.

Harris-Bowlsbey, Suddarth, and Reile (2001) define career development facilitator as a person who performs specific kinds of tasks that help individuals learn about themselves, learn about jobs, make career choices and plans, and then carry out those plans. The Center for Credentialing and Education (CCE), an affiliate of the National Board for Certified Counselors, and the organization that issues certification for the Global Career Development Facilitator (GCDF), requires GCDFs to apply the competencies in specified number of hours, depending upon their education and experience. In the United States, in order to be recertified, current credential holders are required to complete 75 hours of workshop, in-service training, conference attendance, or coursework during the five-year certification period.

CDF Roles

CDF roles include, but are not limited to the following: career coach, career development case manager, career group facilitator, career resource center coordinator, intake interviewer, job search trainer, occupational and labor market information resource person, and workforce development specialist.

As a CCE-approved provider of the GCDF curriculum for graduate students in counseling, as well as for career practitioners who work in a variety of settings, I have found that the training can be usefully applied by counselors and those with advanced post-graduate degrees as well; for example, school counselors, marriage and family counselors, and social workers, as well as those with post-graduate degrees, even doctorates, in education, business, or psychology. In addition, the CDF competencies are of value to human resource personnel, educational administrators, academic advisors, career technicians who work with high school students, family-life advisors, vocational advisors, and a wide variety of career practitioners who need to continually update and expand their skills. Because we all need to update our skills on a regular basis, even CDF Instructors trained by the National Career Development Association (NCDA) are required to both teach the CDF curriculum and to take continuing education training in the CDF competencies.

How CDFs Are Applying Their Training

Several years ago, I asked the question, "What work options are open to Career Development Facilitators?" Following are responses, both then and now, by CDF Master Trainers, CDF Instructors, and Global CDFs.

Diane Redding, CDF Master Trainer, responded,

We have CDFs in Career One Stop Centers, Department of Labor (Job Services), Health and Human Services (welfare to work), Veterans Programs, Job Corp (required CDF in some areas), private outplacement businesses (such as Drake-Beam-Morin), and High Schools. The ROPs in California are statewide though the school districts. A few branches of the military are using CDF for in placement and outplacement services. My most favorite CDF of all is a friend who works for the New York Jets. She helps players who get injured and can't play football anymore or if they get cut from the team.

Jack Casey, Master Trainer, sent several unusual ways CDFs are applying their skills to me. He said,

We've had folks from the Reno Housing Authority who wanted to help the residents build more constructive lives... I think they now offer career services in the building where residents pay their rent and report housing repair needs. We also had several librarians who were helping homeless people and other job seekers through the public library. In addition, we had a woman from Bentley Engineering, a firm that hires a lot of engineers in Minden, Nevada...they have to provide a career path of upward mobility to keep their workers from leaving the firm for better jobs elsewhere.

Government Employees

Government, welfare-to-work, vocational rehabilitation, and ex-offender programs have sponsored many CDF trainings in the United States.

Diane McMenamin, a career consultant with the Department of Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, noted that one of her primary responsibilities is "to develop employees and their performance through workshop instruction on self-assessment narratives, individual development plans, resume preparation," and additional topics customized to meet customer needs. IRS uses a competency-based method that is based on customer/employee satisfaction and business results.

Jim Johnson, an Employment Coordinator for the Department of Veteran Affairs, works with disabled veterans. He responded:

I case manage about 100 clients. I receive clients from the Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors after the clients have completed their assigned program; i.e., college degree, trade school, various other certificate programs, and any other training that may be part of their Individual Written Rehabilitation Plan. Once I receive the client, I prepare an Individual Employment Assistance Plan. The job is very rewarding as I am working with Disabled Veterans.

College Career Center Advisors

College and university career centers are another area in which CDFs can be of service. In response to my request for information, Patricia Rinde, Experiential Education Director and IDEP Coordinator for a college career center, replied,

"We have GCDFs in the two departments of our college career center: (a) Career Services (for career/educational planning and job search), and (b) Experiential Education (for internships and consulting projects in the community)."

Darlene Martin, Assistant Director in continuing education at a state university, replied,

In Georgia last year, the Department of Labor asked us to train approximately 45 people in the CDF curriculum in order to form a "Team SOS" that they are using to handle large layoffs situations around the state. Last week I attended their one-year celebration and re-training. They are so motivated and have had tremendous results in getting laid-off workers back on the job.

Geri Meyers, career advisor with a community college, noted that her college partnered with the Department of Human Services (DHS) to design a program that meets the need of DHS's diverse population assisting them to maintain employment, define career ladders, set short and long-term goals for success, personal interest/values with career choices, pursue skill upgrading and training for advancement and generally offer support and encouragement. The program was funded by a federal study of Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) pilot to determine what type of services should be promoted to assist former welfare (TANF) clients to achieve economic independence.

Kim Austin, Director of a university career center, enrolled her entire staff, including interns, in my employability skills e-course, which is approved by CCE for three of the CDF competencies. Several of her staff have completed the entire CDF training.

Secondary Schools and Vocational Training

In May 2005, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford signed new legislation that called for a Global Career Development Facilitator certified professional in all middle and high schools by 2007-08. According to Ray Davis, Education Associate of the South Carolina State Department of Education,

"The Education and Economic Development Act (EEDA) calls for putting GCDF certified career specialists into South Carolina high schools - enough to reduce the current ratio of 500 student for every guidance person to a more manageable ratio of 300 students."

Maureen White, Ed.D., Director of a WASC-accredited, post-secondary nonprofit vocational training school, said,

"I used my career development facilitator training every day. Since 1967, the Center for Employment Training (CET) has trained and placed over 100,000 students in entry-level jobs that have created self-sufficiency for economically and educationally disadvantaged. As Director, I supervised students, staff, and faculty, and developed economic and workforce development partnerships with EDD, State Departments of Labor and Education, high schools, colleges, and employers."

Private Industry
As part of a team of CDF instructors through Oakland University in Michigan, CDF Master Trainer Roberta Floyd and two cohorts trained all the educational specialists who worked for UAW (United Auto Workers) Ford. Ford factories placed UAW line workers, who had earned a bachelors degree (or who agreed to earn that degree), as educational specialists. All the 50 educational specialists were required to take the CDF training.

Floyd, one of the designers of the original CDF curriculum, recalls a high school career center paraprofessional, who was recognized for her expertise after earning the CDF certificate. She became the lead person for two high school career centers in her district and was in charge of purchasing materials for the centers, training new CDFs, and serving as liaison for high school career academies, working with such major employers as Ford. Subsequently, Ford hired her for a summer program. When the superintendent of her district moved to another school district, the superintendent was so impressed by the career center supervisor's work that she hired her as administrative assistant in the new school district.

Floyd notes that for many CDFs, the training provides them with the confidence and motivation to continue their education and earn a post-secondary degree. She describe how one of her CDF students made such a good impression on another student, who happened to be an assistant principal of a high school, that she was subsequently hired by the assistant principal.

Associations and Communities
NCDA has recently introduced distance training into the CDF curriculum . Instruction is delivered via DVD, with individualized instruction personalized by work setting and assignments submitted electronically. NCDA Career Development Facilitator Instructors, trained in eLearning, will teach the curriculum. The NCDA distant training includes video clips by experts and internationally known career theorists.

Roberta Floyd connected two of her most outstanding students from different counties and who had taken different trainings. They formed a professional organization, The Southeast Michigan Career Development Facilitator Organization, www.semcdfa.com/news.htm. Many of Floyd's former students attribute their professional growth to the confidence that they gained by earning the CDF certificate. The SMCDFO originators set up bylaws, hold conferences, post job opportunities, and continue to provide career resources on their website.

Recognizing the value of distance communities for CDFs, I recently formed a Career Development Facilitator e-community on the LifeWork Planning Services web platform (view www.lifeworkps.com/cdf ). The mission of this learning platform created by Pete Hubbard is to provide a virtual learning space where members can interact with others to collect, discuss, reflect upon and manage the significant elements and activities of their lives and work. Soon after I set up the CDF e-community, two groups of my CDF students, in Hawaii and in California, set up their own e-communities, and I put them in touch with the Southeast Michigan CDF organization.


Vicki Fuller, a career advisor at a Job Service office in Idaho, found the Global ("Global" is title designated by the Center for Credentialing and Education) CDF training useful for motivating people to change. The programs served by her office include Dislocated Workers, Employment Services (Job Matching), Unemployment Insurance, WIA and TAA Training Programs. She tells a story about a client with whom she spent less than 60 minutes. The young woman, scheduled for cancer surgery, was single, with three preschool children. As a result of Fuller's assistance, she became aware of her options and of support services that could help her take care of her family and manage her situation.

Nicole Renae, a marriage and family counselor, who earned her CDF as a graduate student in counseling, under my blended learning curriculum at the University of San Francisco, sent an email to her former classmates, notifying them of an upcoming class that she is co-facilitating. She said, "I've attached a flyer for an upcoming Parent Project class I am teaching in September 2006. Please feel free to distribute as you see appropriate, or call me for more information!" Her organization, "Circuit Rider Productions," provides strategies for parents raising children and teens that include improving school attendance and performance. As a Registered MFT Intern, Renae is applying several of the CDF competencies, including public relations, group process, program planning, and working with special populations.

Private Practitioners
Not all GCDFs or CDF Instructors work for organizations. Some of us prefer to provide services or products that support the training. To save myself from burnout and to save my students travel time and cost, I designed a self-paced, online learning program approved by CCE for continuing education credits and as part of the GCDF curriculum. The online program includes an e-course for job seekers and students, as well as a training program for career practitioners. CCE originally approved the program to provide a special GCDF curriculum for graduate students in counseling, who may have more academic training, but less experience than career practitioners who have been in the field for many years. Additional features for the program, such as teleconferencing, career expert audios, and online communities, enhance the learning experience far beyond the instructional period to support the concept of "lifelong learning."

GCDFs Worldwide
Over the past several years, the demand for global career development services has increased. "Career development in the 21st century will be heavily influenced by global, social, and economic trends and events" (Maliszewski, 2002). Declining employment and frequent changes in the social environment have resulted in a need for career advising. As of May 25, 2006, there are almost 7,000 Global Career Development Facilitators worldwide (Shaffer, 2006).

The following countries now sponsor Global Career Development Facilitator programs: Bulgaria (11), Canada (2), China (98), Germany (25), Japan (1482), New Zealand (4), Romania (14), Turkey, (28), and United States (4,821). Following is a brief overview of ways GCDFs are applying their training around the world.

In Japan, Weiguo Ji noted, "We as career professionals - constantly felt that we were in need of more theoretical and systematical training" (Ji, W., 2005). Ji found that two-thirds of university students in his university ranked the effect of career services provided by university, government, and other organizations as "not satisfying" (Youth Line, 2005). As Ji noted, the Chinese GCDF curriculum was customized to match Chinese economy and culture.

In 2003, Germany's labor market situation showed an increasing need for qualified career consultants. In response to this need, the GCDF training was implemented. In January 2005, the Hartz Law discontinued long-term unemployed workers from receiving support form unemployment insurance. According to Hans-Juergen Weissbach, there was a need to show the long-term unemployed that there were many viable career paths available to them that may not match their vocational training gained in the 1970s or 80s.
In an effort to become integrated into the European community, Romania faces huge economic problems. As in several other countries that have adapted the GCDF, the change agents were the higher educational institutions. The Polytechnic university of Bucharest offered the first master's degree program in Career Development in Romania. The GCDF training is one component of the curriculum. Participants include counseling practitioners, researchers, and counselor educators in Romania.

While many countries in Western Europe and the United States have the challenge of an aging workforce who need retraining, Turkey and other emerging countries have different kinds of challenges with their workforce, which is composed mostly of workers under forty years old. With a unique blend of Eastern and Western influences, Turkey is charging forth into the 21st century with handheld mobile devices accompanying age-old customs and traditions. As in many countries, university instructors and administrators launched Turkey's program. Fulya Kurter, Career Center Director at Bah-aÅŸehir University, said, "Our first group of GCDF students includes career trainers, human resource specialists, counselors, and career coaches."

The ways in which GCDFs carry out their work vary from country to country and from role to role. What unifies them is a "passion for their work and a focus on career planning in a society that is increasingly connected, multicultural, technological, and work-oriented" (Maliszewski, 2003). Students who complete the training successfully gain a sense of pride in their achievement and continue to grow professionally and personally after they have earned the certificate.


Davis, R.. South Carolina Governor signs new legislation that will put certified GCDFs in middle and high schools. The GCDF Connection. Fall, 2005. www.cce-global.org.

ISEP is the world's largest network of post-secondary institutions cooperating to provide affordable international educational experiences for a diverse student population.

Maliszewski, S. The GCDF Across Cultures: Profession, Passion or Calling? www.cce-global.org .

Maliszewski, S. The GCDF Connection. Winter 2002/2003. www.cce-global.org.

McMenamin, D., One Certificant's Account of How Competency-based Training Has enhanced Job Production and Performance for Her Organization. Fall, 2003. www.cce-clobal.org .

Meyers, G. The GCDF Connection, Fall, 2005. www.cce-global.org.

Shaffer, S. (May 25, 2006). Email correspondence with author. Susan Shaffer serves as Executive Projects Director, NBCC & Affiliates. www.nbcc.org .

Szilagyi, A. The European GCDF: A Romanian Experience. The GCDF Connection. Spring 2005. www.cce-global.org .

Weiguo, J. (Spring 2005). The GCDF Connection.. www.cce-global.org.

Weissbach, H. The GCDF international expansion now includes Germany! The GCDF Connection. Spring 2005. www.cce-global.org .

Sally Gelardin, Ed.D., International and Multicultural Education, is a certified Career Development Facilitator Instructor (CDFI) and Provider of the Global CDF curriculum, a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC), a Distance Credentialed Counselor (DCC), and a certified Job and Career Transition Coach (NETWORK). Dr. Gelardin teaches the Global Career Development Facilitator curriculum and presents internationally, most recently as a GCDF consultant in Turkey. She is creator of The Job Juggler online Job Search and Lifelong Employability Program, approved by CCE both within the GCDF curriculum and as a CEU course. For information on her GCDF Training and CDF Instructor training, view http://www.jobjuggler.net/careerprofessionals.html .

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