What Is a Career Practitioner Institute?

NCDA offers these smaller, regional conferences for the purpose of

  • gathering practitioners together for a day long event at a low cost
  • allowing NCDA Board members and representatives opportunities to present to and interact with smaller groups of practitioners
  • showcasing NCDA products and benefits to both members and non-members
  • offering CEUs (continuing education units) to practitioners who seek these
  • convening Board meetings

What Are Participants Saying about NCDA Career Practitioner Institutes?

  • "I enjoyed everything! Networking was terrific! Speakers were excellent! Location was wonderful. Being able to obtain 13 CEU's in 2 days while having fun, too!"
  • "Two of the best things about the presentations were the thought provoking ideas and concepts and the competencies of the facilitators."
  • "I enjoyed gaining new information and practices to re-energize my work."
  • "As a new member, this was very beneficial... I learned about the many resources and training opportunities available to me personally, but also those that will be helpful in my work with my students."

SAVE THE DATE - February 18-19, 2016!
NCDA is heading to New Orleans!

Join us for the Career Practitioner Institute at the Le Pavillon Hotel. 
Reservations can be made by calling (800) 535-9095 or (504) 581-3111. Room rate: $149 plus tax

Professional Development Institutes will be held on Thursday, February 18
Career Practitioner Institute will be held on Friday, February 19

Online Institute Registration will be open in fall 2015.


 NCDA Career Practitioner Institute

"Practical Techniques and Strategies for
Career Development Practitioners"

October 16, 2015
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

CPI Program Book - Vancouver BC - NOW AVAILABLE!


Institute Registration: Register Online Today!

CPI Fee * $100 - on or before October 7, 2015
Optional PDI - Full Day $75; Half Day $50 - on or before October 7, 2015
Click here to download the NCDA W-9 Form.

* All registration fees are in U.S. dollars.

CPI Location:

Vancouver Airport Marriott Hotel
7571 Westminster Highway
Richmond, BC V6X 1A3
Phone: (877) 323-8888
All reservations placed after Sept 14th will be accepted at the hotel's prevailing rate, based on availability.

Please remember, all U.S. attendees will need a valid passport to enter Canada. Also, please verify phone, texting, and data usage with your phone carrier.


Thursday, October 15, 2015

Professional Development Institutes (PDIs) - optional (for an additional fee); 4-6 Continuing Education Contact Hours (CE)

PDI #1 8:30 am - 4:00 pm
PDI #2 8:30 am - 4:00 pm
PDI #3 1:00 - 5:15 pm

Friday, October 16, 2015

(5 Continuing Education Contact Hours available)
8:30 - 9:45 am Opening General Session
10:00 - 11:00 am Presentation Series I (3 presentations per series)
11:15 am - 12:15 pm Presentation Series II (3 presentations per series)
11:15 am - 1:30 pm Poster Sessions
12:15 - 1:30 pm Welcome Lunch
1:30 - 2:30 pm Presentation Series III (3 presentations per series)
2:45 - 3:30 pm Closing Session

NCDA has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP #1003. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. NCDA is solely responsible for all aspects of this program.


The following contact hours are approved:

PDI #1: 6 contact hours

PDI #2: 6 contact hours

PDI #3: 4 contact hours

Institute: 5 contact hours (posters are not approved)

After the event, NCDA will send an electronic link to the evaluation.  After completion of the evaluation, the system will direct you to your online membership record where continuing education certificates can be printed. 

Professional Development Institutes - Thursday, October 15

Optional Pre-Conference Professional Development Institutes (additional fee required to participate); 4-6 Continuing Education Hours

8:30 am-4:00 pm           Professional Development Institutes

PDI #1 Constructing Careers in the Digital Age
Many counselors are innovating their practices by shifting concentration from fostering career development to designing lives.  This shift in practice has been prompted by changes in the social organization of work and occupations.  To respond to these changes, some counselors have turned to narrative models and methods for self-construction and identity shaping because this approach emphasizes life design rather than occupational choice.  Looking at lives as novels being written focuses attention on the themes that activate and characterize individuals in both the work and partnership/family domains.  From this narrative perspective, vocational interests are solutions to problems that people have experienced and work is an opportunity to actively master what has been passively suffered.  This narrative approach to career counseling enables clients to fit work into their lives, rather than fit themselves to jobs.  Thus, psychosocial mattering replaces occupational congruence as the goal of advising and counseling.  This presentation will discuss and demonstrate practical techniques for using stories and articulating life themes to foster educational and career decision making.  Participants will learn how to integrate these techniques into their ongoing practice and may even use the techniques to better understand why they became advisors and counselors and how their own occupations allow them to advance their own life stories. 

Mark Savickas, Professor of Behavioral Sciences, Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine and Adjunct Professor of Counselor Education, Kent State University

PDI #2 Strengthening Skills of Career Development Leaders
The career development sector is constantly impacted by shifts in local and international economies, employment and labour market policies, and individual and societal needs. Sector leaders need to be able to interpret, and work within, career development and labour market policies; monitor and manage programs and services to ensure quality; supervise practice; and build and develop effective teams and community partnerships. However, despite numerous programs geared at training front-line Career Development Facilitators (CDFs), there are no programs to prepare CDFs to lead the system into the future. As a result, there’s an increasing tendency to hire leaders from outside the sector; however, many of them are unfamiliar with the core competencies required of the professionals they lead.

This one-day Professional Development Institute brings together experienced career development leaders to strengthen the skills of current and future leaders in the sector. Drs. Roberta Neault and Deirdre Pickerell will host the day and present on leadership characteristics and competencies, human resources management, and community connections. They are joined by Tannis Goddard and other panelists, who will share strategies for effective practice supervision and best practices in fiscal/financial management.
Roberta Neault, Life Strategies Ltd. and Yorkville University; Deirdre Pickerell, Life Strategies Ltd and Tannis Goddard, Training Innovations; Tom Burnell, Open Door Group

1:00 - 5:15 pm

PDI #3 Pictorial Narratives: A Meaning-Making, Career Counseling Intervention
Constructivist approaches to career counseling emphasize meaning.  Constructivist career counselors listen not only to the spoken accounts of the client’s story, but also for the not-yet-said—the visceral, fragmentary pieces of experience that are viewed as valuable clues that can form the basis for meaningful options.  The use of Pictorial Narratives represents an optimistic, non-pathologizing, holistic, narrative meaning-making approach to career counseling that involves client-produced drawings of the problem and preferred outcome stories.  These drawings, which are believed to elicit implicit knowledge and memories, serve as a rhetorical springboard from which a richly descriptive, collaborative, therapeutic dialogue is generated that facilitates reflection, personal agency, and movement toward client-preferred career paths.  The approach is user-friendly and can easily be integrated with other career interventions, such as My Career Story.  

Participants in this Professional Development Institute will learn how to implement the Pictorial Narrative approach by engaging with it experientially, and then integrating it with My Career Story.  The format will also consist of informal lecture on the philosophical and theoretical foundations of the Pictorial Narrative process, along with ample discussion and sharing among the participants.  Several handouts, including case examples, will be provided.
Jeanne M. Taylor, Center for Career Services, John Carroll University

Keynote Speakers - Friday, October 16

Mark SavickasDr. Mark Savickas, Northeast Ohio Medical University
Mark Savickas has served as an Adjunct Professor of Counselor Education at Kent State University since 1975. During those 40 years he has taught the career counseling class to over 5,000 students. His most recent attempts to provide better instruction have focused on developing manualized interventions for career transitions.  

 Life Designing in Liquid Societies
The technological revolution of the 21st century, similar to the Industrial Revolution before it, has wrought dramatic changes in the occupational landscape and made it progressively more complex for individuals to choose occupations and adapt to work. The life course has become a biography of choice because adults must repeatedly explore, choose, and change roles. In the risk society of the 21st century, practitioners no longer preach planfulness for a stable 30-year career but instead foster identity and adaptability as they prepare for possibilities and projects. This presentation will discuss a life-designing intervention that helps people to cope with the uncertainties of individualized lives by constructing a biographical narrative that leads to purpose, intention, and action.
Mark Savickas, Professor of Behavioral Sciences, Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine and Adjunct Professor of Counselor Education, Kent State University

Kris MagnussonKris Magnusson, Simon Fraser University
Kris Magnusson has been a counsellor educator since 1989, and was the 2006 recipient of the Stu Conger award for leadership in career development. His recent work focuses on informing practice through applications of impact measures, and on the development of coherent career practice. Since 2009, Kris has served as the Dean of Education at Simon Fraser University.

The Accountability Challenge in Career Services: A Subversive Approach
Providers of career development services are increasingly required to document the impact of their services in order to maintain funding and/or support. Unfortunately, the accepted metrics of accountability rarely tell the whole story of service effectiveness. In this presentation, Dr. Magnusson will encourage career practitioners and service providers to take a much more robust and active role in both collecting evidence of the impact of their work and using that evidence to inform funders - and themselves – of the real value of their work. In doing so, we can subvert simplistic “accountability” attitudes and practices and replace them with more potent indicators of service efficacy.
Kris Magnusson, Dean, Faculty of Education, Simon Fraser University

Presentation Series - Friday, October 16

Presentation Series I, 10:00 - 11:00 am

#1 Practical Resources for Career Development Practitioners
Career Development Practitioners – what can NCDA do for you today? Every day, 24/7 in fact, NCDA offers practical resources that can assist you in inspiring and empowering your clients/students. The only problem might be identifying these resources when you most need them. Here is your expert guide to NCDA resources, online and in print. Be first to get a tour of the new NCDA website!
Melanie Reinersman, NCDA Website and Web Magazine Editor

#2 Refreshing Your Testing Toolkit – What’s New? What’s Revised? What are You Missing
Career practitioners are sometimes expected to select, administer, and interpret psychometric / career assessment tools/tests. Restricted by budget and contract requirements, with limited training or exposure to the wide range of tools available, many career programs use the same tools over and over again. This session will introduce a wide variety of assessments tools to help you refresh your toolkit by ditching what’s not working, updating what is, and adding what’s missing. The session will also unpack the notion of assessment to enhance understanding of the complexities of "assessment" within the career developments.
Roberta Neault, Life Strategies Ltd. and Yorkville University and Deirdre Pickerell, Life Strategies Ltd

#3 The Value of Free – Engaging Employers in ‘No Cost’ Services
This workshop will provide engagement concepts and strategies to draw employers to services offered on a ‘no cost’ fee. Attendees will learn how to source and attract employers, overcome objections, and add value that contributes to the company’s bottom line. Ten concrete strategies to maximize employer engagement will be shared.
Jayne Barron, Job Developers Resource Network

Presentation Series II, 11:15 am - 12:15 pm

#4 Career Counseling Interventions
As clients attempt to navigate career or educational decision making in the current ever-changing world of work, career development professionals can  always use and share ideas of what has been helpful in their work with clients. Rather than viewing career counseling as something that is “done to” clients, we will examine a few interventions that build a collaborative working alliance, enhancing a positive journey for our clients.
Cynthia Marco-Scanlon, John Carroll University

#5 Technology and Social Media
Do you know “what’s hot and what’s not” in technology and social media? What tools are available today to help you help your clients make informed career decisions and expand their job search? How can you use today’s technologies to market career services to potential clients? In this fast-paced session, multiple options will be presented, along with a discussion of how these might be of use in career settings.
Deb Osborn, Florida State University

#6 Cultural Competency Within a Global Context
This session addresses cultural competency using three different perspectives. Ms. Lulin Zheng will describe how a group of immigrant professionals from China have managed to successfully handle the career transition experience. Gray Poehnell will discuss some of his work with aboriginal clients and will place particular emphasis on career craft and his Hope-Filled Engagement approach. Roberta Neault will introduce the concepts of “global careerists” and how to support this group during the career development process.
Moderator: Norm Amundson, University of British Columbia; Panel Members: Gray Poehnell, Roberta Neault, Life Strategies Ltd. and Yorkville University; Lulin Zheng, Langara College

 Presentation Series III, 1:30 - 2:30 pm

#7 Using the Enhanced Critical Incident Technique in Program Evaluation
This session will focus on program evaluation strategies, with particular emphasis on the Enhanced Critical Incident Technique (ECIT). It has been 60 years since Flanagan introduced his critical incident technique and since then the technique has been refined and expanded in many different ways. The latest version, ECIT, includes a series of validity checks as well as some contextual questions and a wish list. ECIT has been widely used at UBC and elsewhere and seems well suited to some aspects of program evaluation.
Norm Amundson, University of British Columbia

#8 Ethics in Career Development: Exploring Shades of Gray
Career development practitioners face a variety of ethical challenges. During this session, a panel of career center directors will discuss several case studies highlighting ethical dilemmas. Attendees will be invited to chime in, so join us for a lively discussion of issues that we're facing as we serve our clients.
Paul Timmins, University of Minnesota and David Reile, Career Development Alliance

#9 Highlights from the 2015 International Symposium on Career Development and Public Policy
In June 2015, 103 delegates representing approximately 30 countries met in Des Moines, Iowa for the 7th International Symposium on Career Development and Public Policy. With a broad focus on building the talent pipeline and providing youth with hope for the future, the symposium brought together career development leaders, researchers, and policy influencers to examine four themes: engaging employers, why ROI matters, the role of emerging technologies, and integrated policies: creating systems that work. This session will report on the highlights of the symposium, including the official symposium Communique. Panelists include members of the US, Canadian, and Asia-Pacific teams.
Panelists: Deirdre Pickerell, Chair, Canadian Team / Life Strategies Ltd. / Yorkville University; Roberta Neault, Asia Pacific Career Development Association Team / Life Strategies Ltd. / Yorkville University; William Borgen, University of British Columbia; Paula Wischoff Yerama, Career Development Association of Alberta / Chair, Canadian Council for Career Development Certification Working Group; Marilyn Maze, Asia Pacific Career Development Association Executive Director / ACT, Inc; Ray Davis, Ray Davis Consulting

Poster Sessions - Friday, October 16

Poster #1 Agency and Career Development
Erin Thrift, Doctoral Student, Simon Fraser University

Psychological agency, the ability of an individual to act towards a given end, is an important but often unrecognized aspect of career development. This poster provides a theoretical and historical overview of psychological agency and offers practical suggestions for how practitioners can help enhance the agency of their clients in career development practice. 

Poster #2 The Experience of Underemployed Educated Youth
Angela Katsamakis, Counsellor, Douglas College (Research conducted through UBC)

The purpose of this research was to contribute experiential understanding of the lived experience of underemployment for youth who have graduated from college or university. This study utilized a narrative approach to answer the question: “What is the experience of underemployment for educated youth?” Eight youth (between the ages of 24 and 30) were asked to write a narrative on their experience with underemployment. Participants were invited to reflect on their personal experience of having completed post-secondary education and their experience working in fields that don’t require these years of study. They were asked to write the story from their perspective with no rules or guidelines given. A thematic reflection was utilized to understand, organize and reveal the ways these participants experienced underemployment.  The findings acknowledged a transition through loss and stress, and coming out the other side. From this, seven themes emerged: that of unmet expectations, disappointment, career indecision, pressure (internal, external and financial), a reflection on the value of education, a negative impact on psychological well-being and ultimately hope for the future.

The findings of this study reveal important information to better understand this population. The study hopes to greater prepare students exiting education and entering the workforce, and to normalize the myriad of emotions or reactions associated with this complicated experience. 

Poster #3 Throwing a Wrench in the Work(s): Using Multicultural and Social Justice Competency to Develop a Social Justice-Oriented Employment Counselling Toolbox
Courtenay Crucil, Clinical Counsellor at Touchstone Family Association, and Doctoral student at Adler University

This article presents a social justice toolbox for employment counsellors to draw from when working with various populations at multiple systemic levels. Firstly, the author introduces social justice and its relationship to employment counselling (the toolbox). Secondly, the skills and knowledge required to integrate social justice into employment counselling (the tools) are presented. And finally, strategies are offered to maintain social justice competency, so that the tools can be maintained and applied ethically and effectively.

Poster #4 A Rewarding Journey: The Post-Secondary Experience of Chinese Students
Alex Hui-Sen Huang, Personal Counsellor, Vancouver College

This poster presents the findings from a study that sought to determine the different facets of the cross-cultural experiences of a specific group of students: Chinese international students from China. In particular, both the positive and negative qualities of the transition were assessed. Furthermore, in order to portray the capacity for international students to prosper while studying abroad, only students who expressed they were “doing well” regarding the cross-cultural changes were selected. The methodology employed was the Enhanced Critical Incident Technique (ECIT), and this method identified a total of 273 incidents: 135 helping incidents, 102 hindering incidents, and 36 wish-list items. The helping incidents were grouped into 9 facilitating categories that highlighted aspects such as the establishment and nurturance of relationships, personal growth and development, as well as the integration of culture-of-origin and host-culture attributes. The challenging incidents were grouped into 7 hindering categories, alongside 1 subcategory, and hindering findings reiterated the presence of challenging experiences. Finally, the 36 wish-list items were grouped into 3 categories (with 1 sub-category). Their expressed desires demonstrated the ability for personal insights and awareness to serve as an avenue towards addressing the challenges encountered by this specific group of international students.

By addressing a unique international student population, there appeared to be greater awareness towards the distinct experiences of this population, as well as the opportunity to contribute to the growing literature on international students. More importantly, the findings provided a holistic perspective of international students by attending to both facilitating and hindering events. Supported by the deliberate selection of students who report that they are adapting well, the results seemed to further corroborate a growing trend in the literature that views international students as capable of thriving and excelling, regardless of the difficulties or challenges they may encounter during their cross-cultural transition.