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  • Connecting Activities

    Career Development Education

    Career Development Education (CDE) consists of well-designed strategies for teaching and learning that enable a student to prepare for a successful future in an economically viable career. In Massachusetts, this body of work is based upon the state's definition of College and Career Readiness, which establishes that students need to acquire knowledge, skills and experiences in three domains - i.e. academic, work readiness and personal/social domains, to be ready for their futures. CDE involves the provision of relevant curricula and activities in the work readiness realm, generally offering career awareness, exploration and immersion activities.

    The Connecting Activities initiative is deeply involved in Career Development Education in schools across the state. Through the intermediary services offered by the CA network, schools, employers and community organizations design and implement a wide range of activities in each of the three CDE stages; examples include career fairs, job shadows, internship programs, and more.

    One aspect of the CA initiative is the creation of tools and resources for CDE. Below are three products to assist practitioners in their work.

    Video: "Preparing Massachusetts Students for Successful Careers"

    DESE has produced this video to describe several of its key initiatives that support student preparation for career. This short video highlights the work of Connecting Activities, Career Vocational Technical Education, and Adult Community Learning Services, and is narrated by the Commissioner of ESE. The video lays out the key elements of these three bodies of work, and will help state partners to explain these initiatives to interested audiences.

    The Career Development Education Guide/Glossary

    The Career Development Education (CDE) Guide/Glossary provides a variety of CDE activities now offered by many schools and communities in Massachusetts, along with definitions and frameworks to assist with efforts to create or expand and improve these activities. It has been developed by DESE with the input and assistance of experts from the worlds of education and workforce development committed to advancing the work of career development education across the Commonwealth.

    The CDE Guide/Glossary endeavors to:

    • Promote the use of common language across the state about the activities that constitute Career Development Education
    • Assist staff in schools, as well as programs outside of the school setting, that may be new to CDE to gain a better understanding of these activities, and implement them with quality and fidelity
    • Describe three general stages of CDE (awareness, exploration and immersion) and present examples of the types of CDE activities associated with each stage so that schools and programs can work to develop a sequential progression of CDE
    • Ensure quality activities by articulating basic standards for these CDE activities

    HSSIEP (High School Senior Internship Education Project)

    A Primer about Labor Market Information

    Through Connecting Activities, DESE has developed this Labor Market Information (LMI) training manual as a tool to: 1) support decision making around career awareness, exploration and immersion activities that help inform postsecondary career pathway choices for students of the Commonwealth; and 2) inform programming that is better aligned with labor market needs. The primary goal of this publication and related LMI materials is to enhance the quality of Career Development Education (CDE) in Massachusetts[1]. Research about Labor Market Information, effectively used, will enable students to make better informed choices about career direction, and can help them to pick electives in high school, participate in any available career pathways and CDE activities relating to areas of interest, and identify good choices for post-secondary education.

    The Department envisions that professionals in a wide range of settings will use this LMI primer, from middle and high school classrooms in which educators and counselors are helping guide student research about careers, to community settings where workforce professionals are supporting youth, whether in or out-of-school, that are placed in work-based learning experiences. This manual will be useful to educators in academic and comprehensive high schools as well as career vocational technical high schools. It will also support training and education being offered to adult learners in community colleges, workforce training programs, and other related programs throughout the state.

    1 To learn more about DESE's guidance to practitioners about Career Development Education generally, see its publication titled the Career Development Education Guide and Glossary, which can be found at the Connecting Activities page of the DESE website.

    Last Updated: February 2, 2021

    Contact Us

    Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
    75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

    Voice: (781) 338-3000
    TTY: (800) 439-2370


    Disclaimer: A reference in this website to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public and does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.