Career guidance can be a critical intervention for residents of large cities like New York where the network of educational, training, and employing institutions is too complex and differentiated to be readily understood. Without informed help during the decision-making process, many city dwellers find it difficult to plan courses of action that will enable them to make the most of their career options.
As New Yorkers attempt to negotiate the interlocking educational, training, and employment structures, the mediation of guidance counselors may ease their progress into and through the labor market and help them to surmount institutional barriers that restrict their range of choice. Since career decisions are made by both youths and adults, an effective guidance system must aim to serve people of all ages.
A person’s career options are affected not only by his personal attributes, but also, to a significant degree, by the availability of family and community resources which can be devoted to the development of his potential and to the pursuit of his goals. “Guidance specialists share with most Americans, the belief that a man is largely in control of his own fate. However, guidance has paid relatively little attention to the ways in which the economic and social status of some families restricts the opportunities for education and work available to their children.”
In New York, for example, at one extreme we find people with sufficient resources to select and realize any of a large number of career possibilities. At the other extreme are those whose circumstances drastically restrict their opportunities. In the first instance, while guidance may provide a measure of reinforcement to the decision-making process, the determinants for successful outcomes preexist. In the latter instance, socioeconomic barriers to the realization of choice severely limit the potential contribution of guidance to effective decision making.
Most New York residents fall between these two extremes. Few are so well situated that they never require or seek formal help in decision making. On the other hand, few are so unalterably disadvantaged that they cannot derive some benefit from guidance, especially if it is combined with supporting services. Guidance cannot produce major social transformations, but skillful intervention can contribute to decisions that may improve an individual’s prospects.Certain aspects of the New York labor market which bear upon the provision of guidance services in the city are set forth below. Many of these are discussed in other chapters in this volume.
Related Link: New York New York Website