The Massachusetts School to Career Connecting Activities Initiative


Career Development - Guides & Resource Books

Career Development Education (CDE) is the instruction offered to students so they can gain the knowledge, skills and experiences needed for career success after high school.  It is also a process for giving students exposure to the great variety of career options in the labor market and the steps needed to pursue them.

CDE is especially important in academic and comprehensive high schools, where there may be little or no career vocational/technical education programs being offered, or where only a small number of students are enrolled in a technical/vocational program.  Currently, Massachusetts has a significant number of highly regarded Career Vocational/Technical Education (CVTE) high schools and programs; they serve close to 60,000 high school students across the state.  However, that constitutes only 20% of our high school population of approximately 300,000 students, leaving about 240,000 students without those opportunities. Career Development Education, which offers another approach to career preparation, is now increasingly being integrated into the course of study at high schools across Massachusetts to meet the challenge of ensuring that all students are college and career ready by the time they graduate from high school.

In support of those efforts, the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has published "Career Development Education, a Guide and Glossary."  It is designed to:

  •  offer practitioners a common language across the state about the activities that constitute Career Development Education
  •  assist staff in school and programs that are new to this realm to gain a better understanding about these activities, to implement them with quality and fidelity
  •  describe three general stages of CDE (awareness, exploration and immersion), and associate the variety of CDE activities with the relevant stage(s), so that a sequential progression of CDE activities may also be implemented for students
  •  articulate guiding standards for these CDE activities, as an important predicate to accurate counting of the extent of these activities around the state, so that the extent of these practices can be ascertained as the state moves towards universal access

Here is a link to review that Guide: 

Career Development Education Guide/Glossary:

And to other items in our series of resource guides: 

A Primer for Labor Market Information:

Massachusetts Guide for Implementing Individual Learning Plans: 

Implementing the Work-Based Learning Plan: 

Model Internship Program Guide:


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