I was impressed with the National Career Development Guidelines in the United States and convinced that Canada needed a similar common language learning framework of career development competencies citizens of all ages should master. After years of meetings, I convinced the federal government and all provinces and territories to undertake a similar project in 1997. As Vice President of Global Partnerships at NLWC, I assembled a national advisory committee representing all jurisdictions and major stakeholders, co-wrote the Blueprint for Life/Work Designs, oversaw national training and piloting, and deployment nationally. The Blueprint was adopted and embedded in curriculum and case management systems across Canada. The Americans subsequently rewrote their National Career Development Guidelines to incorporate Canadian enhancements, and Australia, the United Kingdom, and Kuwait developed career management learning frameworks modeled on the Canadian Blueprint.
CANADA CAREER INFORMATION PARTNERSHIP (CCIP) AND CANADA PROSPECTS
I proposed establishing the Canada Career Information Partnership to Human Resources Development Canada in 1990. The objective was to mobilize collaboration among education and labor departments across Canada to create and disseminate high-quality career and labor market information to high schools, post-secondary institutions, and employment centers. I was contracted by HRDC to establish this Pan-Canadian network and subsequently was the Founding National Coordinator for four years. The first project the partners agreed on was Canada Prospects/Perspectives Canadiennes. All provinces and territories collaborated in developing and distributing this annual career and labor market information tabloid. The stages were as follows:
Representatives of all partners met to agree on common themes for students and adult career seekers, including under-represented groups, in all regions of the country.
Each partner committed to creating at least one top-notch, engaging article addressing agreed themes. Relevant national organizations were also invited to provide content, and did.
The Prospects project team merged the articles into a full-colour tabloid format, added a Job Chart insert with labor market information on 250 in-demand occupations, such as key tasks, prerequisite education and training, wages, future outlook, etc., and translated all content.
A digital master was provided to partners wishing to localize content. They would print and distribute their editions, with additional local stories, initiatives, and contacts, to secondary and post-secondary schools, and employment centers (i.e., Ontario Prospects, Manitoba Prospects, Perspectives Nouveau-Brunswick, etc.).
Some smaller partners distributed the national edition.
Over 20 million copies of local and national editions were distributed over 15 years.
25 years after the first Canada Prospects was printed, Saskatchewan still produces Relevance (formerly Saskatchewan Prospects) annually.
THE REAL GAME
I was in St. John’s, Newfoundland to keynote a provincial career development conference on March 31st (my birthday), 1994 when serendipity brought me to Saint John Bosco Elementary School in Shea Heights. Bill Barry and Susan Wright were there testing the prototype of their Real Game. I witnessed a classroom of Grade 7 students deeply engaged in role-playing adult characters in diverse careers with disparate education and incomes. The goal was to optimize their character’s lifestyle and happiness and learn the relevance of education to life beyond school. Their conversations were very adult.
As Vice President of Global Partnerships at NLWC, I persuaded all provincial and territorial departments of education of the program’s potential and secured their commitment to collaborate. I mobilized a national advisory committee that transformed The Real Game from an embryonic 8-hour program to a 15-18 hour prototype that was then piloted in 100 schools across Canada and the U.S.A. Ultimately, The Real Game was deployed in 15,000 schools across Canada, 30,000 across the United States, and thousands more in the United Kingdom, France, Australia, New Zealand, The Netherlands, Germany, Ireland, and Greece. At any given time as many as 2, 500,000 students in 100,000 classrooms in 12 countries were playing The Real Game. The Real Game became the world’s most widely used classroom-based experiential career learning program.
As a young Program Manager at Employment and Immigration Canada in Ottawa in 1975, I was asked to develop an online computer application to help students and employment center clients explore their career options. I researched existing ‘mainframe’ computer systems, developed specifications for a new interactive system called CHOICES, wrote the scripts for the computer program and the counselor and user manuals, and built and led the team that developed, translated, pilot-tested and deployed the program across Canada. Despite being Canadian, CHOICES was first adopted by Florida, North Carolina, and Kansas for use in schools statewide. Soon afterward it was adopted, in English and French, by hundreds of employment centers, virtually all secondary and post-secondary schools in Canada, and thousands more in the U.S, including 15 statewide adoptions. It was also adopted and adapted by the national governments in The Netherlands and Turkey. I’m very proud to say that CHOICES has remained a ‘gold standard’ for computerized career systems for 45 years, so far! Today it is available through XAP Corporation as CHOICES 360.
CANADA WORKinfoNET (CanWIN)
In 1995, I proposed the establishment of Canada’s first career and labor market information Internet gateway/portal network. The project was approved and funded by Human Resources Development Canada and I mobilized the national partnership network as Founding CanWIN Coordinator. WorkinfoNET partnerships were established in every province and territory (i.e., BCWIN, ONWIN, NBWIN, YUWIN). Provincial and territorial partnerships met regularly, in-person or virtually, with the CanWIN Secretariat to agree on common branding, specifications, content taxonomies, and procedures. CanWIN team curated national career and labor market resources, programs, services, and organizations. The provincial and territorial WINs teams did the same for their jurisdiction. Canadians anywhere could click on an interactive map of Canada and, at no cost, access comprehensive career and labor market information resources in their region or elsewhere in Canada. Twenty-five years later, Ontario WIN still exists. Others have morphed with changing technology under new names.
In 1999, Catherine Casserley at Human Resources Development Canada asked me if the National Life/Work Center would be interested in creating an updated, more engaging edition of its Career Considerations publication. We established a National Advisory Group to guide the conceptualization, development and testing of this new resource. We contracted with Dan and Philippa Baran who ultimately produced Smart Options/Intelli-options – career exploration based on Multiple Intelligences. “It’s not IF you are smart, it’s HOW you are smart.” The Multiple Intelligences theory, developed by Howard Gardner, states that people have many cognitive strengths and contrasting cognitive styles which are called "Intelligences" and, with practice, people can develop them. In Smart Options, Gardner’s ‘intelligences’ are relabelled ‘smarts’ and include body, people, self, word, logic, music, nature, and image smarts. When launched, Smart Options soon became an enduring hit across Canada and the United States. Teachers and career development facilitators invariably observed that the program is an “instant self-esteem booster” for all students, including the learning-challenged. Students who feel like ‘losers’ because they have difficulty with traditional academics discover they are smarter than fellow students in other important ways. Even ‘smart’ students discover they are smarter than they thought.