Selecting the Best Career Information and Services
By Scott Gillie and Susan Roudebush
The Alliance of Career Resource Professionals (ACRP) develops and promotes the world-wide development, delivery, and use of high-quality career information and career resources among career professionals and consumers, such as NCDA members. To support this mission, ACRP promotes rigorous industry standards for career information products and services. These standards inform the development of products and services that meet the highest levels of quality and ethical practice. These standards also help NCDA members and others make more informed resource purchasing decisions.
ACRP’s new Career Information and Services Comparison Tool helps busy career development professionals compare career products and services before purchase. The tool's writable electronic format enables the user to compare products by applying ACRP standards constructs to key components of career information products and services. ACRP’s intent is to assist counselors, administrators and others tasked with comparing systems that are often complex and organized in different ways.
The new comparison tool focuses on the content and processes of the products, resources, or systems being compared. Other important considerations when selecting a career information product or service include:
- Availability and extensiveness of user training and support
- The commitment of the provider to ACRP standards
- Opt-out provisions
Career Development Facilitator (CDF) Instructors can now introduce this tool as a part of their CDF training. According to Dr. Janet E. Wall, NCDA CDF Instructor and NCDA 2011 Merit Award recipient, “The ACRP Career Information and Services Comparison Tool provides a thorough process for carefully evaluating career resources before purchasing.” Dr. Wall introduces this tool in all of her CDF classes to help her students learn to make high quality decisions when selecting career resources.
ACRP is committed to promoting high-quality, trustworthy career information resources. ACRP believes that optimal career development requires these resources to be readily available, easy to use, and based upon accurate information and valid processes for presenting the information. ACRP also believes that it is critical for individuals to have a source of understandable and relevant information they can use in career planning and decision-making. ACRP Standards reflect the highest level of quality in the field of career development.
For our members, adopting ACRP Standards is voluntary. ACRP does not certify or audit compliance with these standards. To comply with these standards, developers, managers and distributors of career information products and services must complete a rigorous quality-assessment for their product and publicly declare that they meet these standards. These products may then signify their compliance with ACRP Standards by posting the ACRP logo above, with the tagline, “ACRP Standards-Compliant.”
All career services providers have ethical responsibilities to use quality information to assist their clients, yet, in today’s information-saturated world, it is often hard to critically evaluate information and technology resources. Some considerations are currency, accuracy, understandability, ease-of-use, and freedom from bias. The new ACRP Career Information and Services Comparison Tool will help professionals find the right tools for those they serve.
The complete text of ACRP Standards, instructions for using new Career Information and Services Comparison Tool, and the glossary of terms used in the comparison tool are posted on the ACRP website at: www.acrpro.org. Click on the standards tab in the menu bar.
Since founding Encouragement Services, Inc. (ESI) in 2002, Scott Gillie has served as president and executive director. Mr. Gillie is the founder and managing director of the Career and Postsecondary Encouragement Network and the principal developer of the Universal Encouragement Program and Connext Postsecondary Assessment System. Mr. Gillie served as the 2012 president of the Alliance of Career Professionals and continues with the organization as past president and chair of the standards committee.
Susan Roudebush, M.S., CDF, CDFI works as a User Services Specialist and Trainer for the University of Oregon's intoCareers. In addition to her work as a school counselor and educational consultant, Susan has worked with CIS for 30 years. She served in the first CDF Instructor Training and CDF Master Trainer groups and trained over 500 CDF students in Oregon and roughly 50 CDFI instructors throughout the Northwest. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org