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National Employment Counseling Competencies

Adopted by the National Employment Counseling Association on March 17, 2001 for use in Workforce Development, Welfare Reform, School-to-Work, One-Stop, Job Service and other Employment Counseling Programs.

  • Counseling Skills: The ability to establish a trusting, open and useful relationship with each counselee, accurately interpreting feelings as well as verbal and nonverbal expressions, and conveying to the customer this understanding and whatever pertinent information and assistance is needed. Knowledge and awareness of career development theory and the ability to support the customer through transitions and facilitate decision-making and goal setting. The ability to recognize the need to refer the customer to appropriate resources to remove barriers to employment. The ability to conduct effective intake to insure that the applicant is suitable and able to benefit in the agency's programs.
  • Individual and Group Assessment Skills: The ability to provide ongoing assessment utilizing individual and group assessment skills and to use formal and informal assessment methods that comply with EEOC regulations. The ability to provide ongoing assessment in individual and group settings involving the appraisal and measurement of the customer's needs, characteristics, potentials, individual differences and self appraisal. The ability to recognize special needs and characteristics of all types, e.g. minorities, women seeking nontraditional occupations, culturally different immigrants, disabled, older workers and persons with AIDS.
  • Group Counseling: The ability to apply basic principles of group dynamics and leadership roles in a continuous and meaningful manner to assist group members in understanding their problems and taking positive steps towards resolving them.
  • Development and Use of Employment-Related Information: The ability to access, understand and interpret labor market information and job trends. The ability to develop and use educational, occupational and labor market information to assist customers in making decisions and formulating employment and career goals that lead to self sufficiency. The ability to develop and use skill standards.
  • Computer Related Skills: The ability to apply employment counseling principles to the use of the internet and other online services, including, but not limited to, employment testing, job banks, job search, job matching, resume writing and sharing, case management reports, counseling and maintaining the confidentiality of customer data.
  • Employment Plan Development , Implementation and Case Management: The ability to assist the customer in developing and implementing a suitable employment plan that helps move the jobseeker from current status through any needed employability improvement services, including training and supportive services, into a suitable job. Knowledge of educational and training resources, sources of financial support, community resources and local labor market requirements is needed. The ability to manage cases through placement and retention.
  • Placement Skills: The ability to ascertain and to communicate an understanding of employer's personnel needs, to make effective job development contacts and to assist the customer in the presentation of their qualifications in relation to the employer's needs. The ability to teach job seeking skills and to develop jobs. The ability to assist the customer in making decisions related to the work environment in which he/she might be most successful. The ability to advocate for employment and career development of special groups.
  • Community Relationship Skills: The ability to assist customers in obtaining the services needed to address barriers to employment which might interfere with successful employment and career directives. The ability to make presentations to community groups and participate on community task force groups. The ability to develop information packets. The ability to partner and link resources with other agency staff in a One Stop setting.
  • Workload Management and Intra-Office Relationship Skills: The ability to coordinate all aspects of the whole employment counseling program as part of a team effort, resulting in a continuous and meaningful sequence of services to customers, agency staff, employers and the community. The ability to operate a comprehensive employment resource center.
  • Professional Development Skills: the ability to develop skills individually and within the profession and to demonstrate by example the standards and performance expected of a professional employment counselor.
  • Ethical and Legal Issues: The ability to comply with ethical standards developed by the American Counseling Association. The knowledge of regulations and legislation effecting employment and training, job service and social reform, such as EEOC, American with Disabilities Act, professional testing standards,Multicultural Issues, Family Issues and One Stop Career Centers.