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Career Tips – The Fourth Stage – (1960-1979) In Career Counseling History

The 1960s was a time of idealism and hope. John F. Kennedy’s election as President of the U.S., Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, the beginning of the great modern day civil rights movements, the Vietnam War, and the economic highs of this stage combined to focus a generation of young people on the potential, myths, and illusions of American society, giving them a new vision of personal, social, and cultural relations.


The type of federal legislation enacted during this period is also illustrative of the expectations of Americans during this fourth stage of career counseling. At the beginning of the 1960s, the unemployment rate was 8.1%, the highest since the 1930s. President John F. Kennedy entered office in 1961 and, as one of his first acts, appointed a panel of consultants on vocational education. They issued a report in 1962, which stated that school counselors need to have exceptional understanding of the world of work and its complexities. What is obviously needed is a counselor who meets all of the requirements of a professional background in pupil personnel services and who at the same time is a specialist in occupational information, vocational guidance, and counseling. Their recommendations became the Vocational Education Act of 1963, which was updated through amendments in 1968 and 1976.


In addition, in 1965, the Vocational Rehabilitation Administration budget included monies to broaden the scope of vocational rehabilitation agencies to handle impairments to effective vocational life caused by educational, cultural, social, or environmental factors. The 1966 amendments to the Economic Opportunity Act created the New Careers Program to create subprofessional jobs, career ladders, and differentiated staffing. The Social Security Act of 1967 created the Work Incentive Program for welfare clients who wished and were able to become economically self-sufficient. It included funds for training, education, day care for participants’ children, and a variety of support services, including counseling. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act as amended in 1969 provided aid for disadvantaged children in schools in impoverished areas, for library resources, and for guidance and counseling services. The Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) of 1977 extended the life of the CETA programs, which were meant to create jobs and full employment.