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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.

Connecting Activities 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 CA is the creation of tools and resources for CDE. Below are two resources.

The Career Development Education Guide/Glossary

Purpose of the guide

The purpose of the guide is to present a central document that provides guidance to districts and other stakeholders to more effectively understand, develop, implement, and optimize career development education programs and practices in MA. The guide is intended to offer greater clarity on key terminology, improve programmatic delivery and design, build district capacity, and ultimately shift district and school-wide practices to better support the career development education received by all students across the Commonwealth.

The guide is presented in four sections. The guide begins with Section 1 on career development education (CDE). Discussion continues in Section 2 on the importance of CDE. Section 3 addresses the Massachusetts initiatives and tools that support strong CDE. Section 4 presents the elements of a strong CDE program and includes the stages of career development education, guiding principles of high quality CDE programs, and stakeholder support. Section 5 reflects on how to create a local vision for Career Development Education and introduces the Appendices.

The guide is provided by Connecting Activities, a DESE-led initiative that advises, assists, and advocates for youth employment opportunities since 1998. Connecting Activities offers the guide to share best practices and help partners to think systematically about developing and enhancing career development education experiences for students in MA.

While career development is a lifelong process, the focus of this guide is on the K–12 years, as DESE is charged with preparing students for college and career, beginning in Kindergarten until graduating from high school.

HSSIEP (High School Senior Internship Education Project)

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: August 24, 2022

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