Career Counseling and Multicultural Students in School to Work Transition Term Paper

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Career Counseling and Multicultural Students in School-to-Work Transition

Good career counseling always takes place within a cultural context, which is true regardless of ethnicity. Current theoretical models may not be adequate to explain the career behavior of racial and ethnic minorities. Vocational assessment has to be culturally sensitive, and only culturally appropriate tools should be used in vocational assessment.

The goal of career counseling is to help clients make career choices that are culturally appropriate, rather than to try to have all clients make the same choices.

Today, with the changes in the balance of ethnic representations in the United States, and a greater recognition of the changing needs of racial and ethnic minority members, it is generally agreed that counselors must be competent to work with a diverse population and effectively deliver vocational counseling services to racial and ethnic minorities.

Thesis - Culture is a critical variable in career counseling, and should enter into every part of the career counseling process. In order to effectively utilize a valid frame of reference, in which to place cultural variables, counselors need to be familiar with theories of acculturation, world-views, aspirations & expectations, societal barriers & intra-group socialization, and racial & ethnic identity development. In general, it is clear that career counselors working with multicultural students must be trained in such a way as to ensure that they are completely sensitive to, and well-versed in, matching individual students to the appropriate work environment.

Career counseling is a process, occurring between two (or more) individuals and designed to help students reach a career decision. To be effective as a career counselor with racial and ethnic minority students, counselors must become skilled in cross-cultural counseling.

II. Career Counseling with Multi-cultural Students

Good career counseling always takes place within a cultural context, which is true regardless of ethnicity. "However, because traditional career counseling has been formed by White counselors and researchers, the cultural encapsulation of that counseling is often difficult for counselors to see" (Fouad & Bingham, 1995, p. 332).

Current theoretical models may not be adequate to explain the career behavior of racial and ethnic minorities. Vocational assessment has to be culturally sensitive, and only culturally appropriate tools should be used in vocational assessment.

The goal of career counseling is to help clients make career choices that are culturally appropriate, rather than to try to have all clients make the same choices (Fouad & Fouad & Bingham, 1995).

Problem Identification and Thesis Statement

The population of the United States is continually growing more diverse, both ethnically and racially, and it is predicted to become even more culturally diverse over the next 10 years. The workforce is certainly reflective of those changes in diversity.

The job of a career counselor is to help individual students decide which career or job is the right fit for them.

Quite often, when counselors are trained to provide vocational services, they are trained with models that are based on the dominant U.S. culture (Fouad & Bingham, 1995).

Today, with the changes in the balance of ethnic representations in the United States, and a greater recognition of the changing needs of racial and ethnic minority members, it is generally agreed that counselors must be competent to work with a diverse population and effectively deliver vocational counseling services to racial and ethnic minorities.

Thesis - Culture is a critical variable in career counseling, and should enter into every part of the career counseling process. In order to effectively utilize a valid frame of reference, in which to place cultural variables, counselors need to be familiar with theories of acculturation, world-views, aspirations & expectations, societal barriers & intra-group socialization, and racial & ethnic identity development.

Major Literature Discussion

Acculturation

Individual variables that are most commonly assessed in career counseling include interests, needs, values, abilities, personality variables, skills, decision-making style, self-concept, and self-efficacy.

However, some of the environmental variables that should be considered may include parental and societal influences, racism, acculturation, cultural values, and political and economic systems.

The role that environmental influences plays in the career decisions of minority students differs from that of many Caucasian students. This difference is typically not anticipated by career counselors and is therefore not adequately integrated into their career counseling" (Fouad & Bingham, 1995, p. 334).

It is important for career counselors to understand that the existing theories tend to under-explain the role of environmental influences in the career behavior of minority clients (Fouad & Bingham, 1995).

According to various scholars, acculturation is a highly important variable in the understanding of the behavior of Asian-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, and Native Americans (Arbona, 1990).

Acculturation is the process by which immigrants adapt to the socio-cultural and psychological characteristics of the host society.

Acculturation can also be described "as a complex interactional process in which members of the incoming cultural group and members of the host culture may experience change" (Padilla, 1980, p. 48).

The two fundamental components of this model of acculturation are cultural awareness and ethnic loyalty. Cultural awareness specifically refers to an individual's knowledge of the cultural material (e.g., language, values, history-art, foods, etc.) of the cultural group of origin and/or the host culture.

Loyalty is the individual's adherence to one cultural orientation over the other.

Preferences are behavioral indicators of both cultural awareness and ethnic identification and convey a great deal of information about the extent of an individual's acculturation (Padilla, 1980).

The importance of acculturation models in the understanding of vocational behavior of racial and ethnic minorities is further supported by the fact that various studies have shown the value of acculturation as a culture-specific variable in predicting the vocational behavior of these ethnic minority members (Leong & Brown, 1995).

Acculturation has always been regarded as a complex process in which cultural, interpersonal, and intra-personal variables are the basic elements. Acculturation is an inevitable result of contact with a nonnative culture, and has been defined as a process of culture learning and behavioral adaptation that takes place when individuals are exposed to that culture.

In the acculturation process, basic psychological factors change, such as attitudes and behavior (Padilla, 1980).

There are many empirically tested theories of acculturation that explain these complicated psychological processes (Miranda & Umhoefer, 1998).

Acculturation is affected by a number of factors. The most frequently cited variables include age, intent of immigration, kinship structure, religious beliefs, job skills, generational status, income and educational level, birthplace, years of U.S. residence, and mental health. Language use, however, seems to be the variable most closely tied to successful acculturation (Miranda & Umhoefer, 1998).

Acculturation levels of Asian-American students are related to many aspects of life and play a critical role in their career choices. Highly acculturated students tend to identify with U.S. mainstream culture, while less acculturated individuals identify more with their culture of origin (Tang, 2002).

Much of the literature supports the need to incorporate socioeconomic status into models of career development of minorities and to evaluate the effects of socioeconomic status and ethnicity on career behavior.

Within Hispanic populations, the level of acculturation, which is tied to socioeconomic status and ethnicity, seems to be an extremely important influence on both educational and career attitudes and behaviors (McWhirter, 1998).

It certainly appears that for Latinos, the best predictors of career self-efficacy are acculturation and language use. The degree to which Latinos are acculturated and use the English language predicts career success better than length of residence in the U.S., age, or educational level.

Higher acculturation levels and greater use of the English language in Latinos may contribute to a stronger belief in their competence to perform any job, desired regardless of educational level, length of residence in the U.S., or age (Miranda & Umhoefer, 1998).

World View world-view is the device through which one experiences life. Among the first writers in the counseling field to delineate features of varying world-views was Nobles, who described both an African and a European world-view. In the African world-view, there is a focus on the group (tribe), the survival of the group, and harmony with nature.

The European world-view, on the other hand, emphasizes the individual survival of the fittest and control of nature (this is the assumed predominant world-view for the U.S. dominant culture).

Individuals who are raised within diametrically opposed frames of reference (i.e. European vs. African) are highly likely to express their interests, values, and attitudes in very different ways (Nobles, 1976).

Racial and ethnic minorities have world-views different from those of many European-Americans in this society.

A world-view encompasses all of the cultural norms, mores, and folkways that are passed on to successive generations in a group.

Values, interests, and familial and interpersonal relationships are largely defined by those world-views, which, in turn, often influence career choice. A minority student's world-view will certainly affect their career decisions in ways that may differ from those of the majority (Sue & Sue, 1990).

Students with an African world-view may be more likely to subordinate individual goals to the goals of the group. If these students seek…

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