Making Things Happen in Washington, DC – We Need Your Help!

By E. Niel Carey

Winning – No Matter Who Wins! This motto of our Washington, DC consultants, Stephanie Vance and Nick Tobenkin at Advocacy Associates, reminds us that now that the election is over and Congress and the President’s administration get back to work, with your help, we can win the legislative and executive support that our NCDA members and associates need and deserve.


We have a proven track record of a century of service by dedicated professionals as well as a wide range of resources that will enable us to confidently communicate our message to our elected representatives and administration officials in DC. Our message is that the counsel, resources and support we provide play an important role to those who seek meaningful work, while balancing work, family and community responsibilities. NCDA’s services should continue to be an integral part of the US workforce system, particularly during an economic recovery.


The federal legislation we will continue to monitor includes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the Workforce Incentive Act (WIA), and the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technology Act. We will also keep an eye on funding for the key federal departments during the appropriations process. In addition, we will initiate and/or continue contacts with the departments mentioned to explore means of strengthening existing policies and to explore funding sources for NCDA and its members.


We encourage you to become actively involved with our Government Relations team to achieve our goals for NCDA. Will you help us? If your answer is yes, I would suggest the following steps between now and the first of the year when Congress and the Administration begin their work.

  1. Identify the names and committee assignments of your representative and two senators. You can get that information from our website or directly at www.house.gov and www.senate.gov.

  2. Review the suggestions for effective communication on our website.

  3. Gather information about the federal legislation including ESEA, WIA, Perkins and federal policies from the Departments of Education, Labor and Veterans Affairs that have a direct bearing on your ability to serve your clients, customers or others you serve. The legislative updates and matrix on the Government Relations website will be a good starting point.

  4. If possible, contact the legislative chair of your state CDA and discuss a cooperative effort in your communications.

  5. Make your contact preferably by letter, telling your story of NCDA’s century of service, your service to your representative’s constituents, and the support that you need from them to continue your service. A template letter is available on the NCDA website.

  6. Keep us informed of the results of your communications as well as suggestions for follow-up!


You need to know that we have a variety of resources and support to help you help us! First, NCDA President Rich Feller, the NCDA Board and our liaison to the Board Pat Schwallie-Giddis strongly support the work of our committee, and they have approved the continued funding of our consultant firm, Advocacy Associates. Second, Deneen Pennington and the NCDA headquarters staff provide capable and enthusiastic support for our effective communications tools, including this publication and the NCDA website. Our website (www.ncda.org, click About NCDA, then select Government Relations) contains a wealth of information on how to identify your elected representatives as well as suggestions for communicating with them. The website will also feature monthly legislative updates and related information. In addition to information about our committee, these communications provide you with a wealth of information about the extensive programs, research and activities of NCDA members.


Most important, we have a Government Relations Committee of dedicated members who have a wide range of experiences and achievement. Rebecca Dedmond is an NCDA Trustee-at-Large and George Washington University (GWU) Professor; Ray Davis is with the South Carolina Department of Education and also serves as the Vice President of the ACTE Guidance Division; Susan Gallagher is a graduate student at GWU; Charles Lehman is NCDA Treasurer, NM CDA Board member, and local workforce board administrator; and China Wilson is Legislative Chair of the Maryland CDA and directs Career Services at Trinity (DC) University. I was absolutely pleased, and reassured, when these dedicated colleagues who already have responsible professional roles and serve our professional associations, agreed to serve on our Government Relations Committee!


These are interesting and challenging times for us all. As we prepare to celebrate NCDA’s century of service, we are also working diligently to continue to help and serve those who need and benefit from our service. The members of our Government Relations Committee, our NCDA Board liaison Pat Schwallie-Giddis and our colleagues at Advocacy Associates look forward to working with you!


Niel Carey

E. Niel Carey, serves as the chair the NCDA Government Relations Committee, He was the NCDA Executive Director Emeritus having served as the first executive director of NCDA from 1984 to '94, and, prior to that, the Coordinator of Career Education for Maryland. Carey was a secondary math and science teacher and department head, high school counselor and department head in Baltimore county, MD; NCC and NCCC (ret) certificates; adjunct faculty at the University of Maryland, Loyola Maryland University and Johns Hopkins University. He can reached at Enielcarey@aol.com.


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Paula Brand   on Sunday 12/16/2012 at 03:47 PM

Thanks Niel for keeping us informed on the resources available to make a difference in our profession.

Niel Carey   on Sunday 12/16/2012 at 04:49 PM

Thanks for your comment, Paula. MD CDA leaders have consistently supported and been involved in legislative and policy advocacy.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the comments shown above are those of the individual comment authors and do not reflect the views or opinions of this organization.