NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Nearly 80 professional career practitioners from across the state met at Tennessee State University recently for the first conference of the Tennessee Career Development Association.
Participants included career counselors, workforce developers, school guidance counselors, and mental health professionals.
Primary on the conference’s agenda was the promotion of TCDA’s goals of encouraging career development assistance, promoting a sense of community, and providing a network of support to members through professional development and training opportunities.
“Participants at this conference are professionals who help people get job or seek improvement in their career areas,” said Windie Wilson, president of TCDA. “The goal here is to offer a conference where these professionals can get together to identify new tools that make them more effective in helping individuals in their areas. We are thankful to Tennessee State University for hosting our first conference.”
Under the theme, “Career is personal: A holistic view of career development,” conference participants discussed how to identify techniques in working with diverse populations, what clients expect from new employees, strategies for helping families navigate career-related concerns, and determining readiness for career decision-making, among others.
Networking, connection and diversity are key tools in trying to equip job seekers to navigate the tough job market, participants were told.
“Employers hire people they know and people they like,” said Dr. David M. Reile, managing director of Career Development Alliance, an Olney, Md.-based company that provides individually-tailored, needs-based career services to a variety of industries.
Reile, the keynote speaker, said a crucial factor in job search is networking and knowing more about the people and companies with potential employment opportunities.
“If employers know who you are; if you have done your homework, you have a better chance of getting a job,” he said. “Your expressed knowledge about a company during an interview can go a long way in improving your chances of landing a job with that company.”
Dr. Michael Bundy, president of the Tennessee Counseling Association, a presenter at the conference on “Using quantitative data to expand career counseling for K-12 students …,” said career counselors need constant retooling to work with longtime job seekers who may be disillusioned about the way forward.
“A job seeker may be so discouraged that they need to find services that talk about how to navigate their way through the new landscape of job searching,” said Bundy. “These people are not only discouraged about moving forward, but also about the way they view themselves.”
Other presenters at the one-day forum on the Avon Williams Campus discussed topics including: Multicultural perspectives in career counseling; Prescription for hiring talent and best practice in the first 90 days; Career counseling for couples and families; Using value assessment with clients; Freud, Jung, and career counseling; Navigating complex personal factors in career decision-making readiness; and Who gets hired and why.
Also discussed were: Counseling college students in the humanities; Using narrative approaches in a career exploration course for undergraduate students; and Effective practices for clients with intellectual disabilities.
Presenters came from the University of Tennessee, Carson-Newman University, Tennessee Tech University, Workforce Connection, Noranda Aluminum and HCA Physician Services.
Dr. Marie S. Hammond, TSU associate professor of Psychology and chair of TCDA’s Professional Development Committee, served as coordinator of the conference.
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With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.