Frank Parson was a man of many accomplishments and ideas, but his major work focused on the idea of vocational guidance. His work established a guideline for the future of career counseling. In 1908, Parson created a three-step model for an individual seeking assistance in choosing a career path. The main of idea of his framework was to use an individual’s talents, skills, interests and knowledge of opportunities to match them with a career that is best suited. Parson focused his vocational guidance on those that needed it the most. As a passionate member of the progressive movement, he was fixated on tending to those who were less fortunate or had unequal opportunities. This is why he created the Vocational Bureau. The main goal of the bureau was to address inequality issues; specifically for woman, immigrants and both men and woman who did not receive adequate education. This is where Parson developed and initially used his model for vocational guidance and counseling.
When Parsons created the framework for choosing a career, he wanted to touch upon every specific trait that makes the individual who they are. First, Parson wanted the individual to grasp a complete insight of themselves by exploring and learning their abilities. The individual should be able to understand their skills, talents, interests, personality, strengths and weaknesses. This is an important step in this process because Parson believed that an individual should choose a career path that they enjoy doing and are good at. For example, an individual that is not good with their hands, should not be working in carpentry, construction or labor. The second step was used to help the individual gain greater knowledge about the opportunities that were available to them. This could include knowing the requirements for employment, any advancement opportunities, the positives and negatives of the work environment, and the salary for each career that they are interested in. This information is important because it can alter the decisions an individual makes when choosing their ideal future career.
The third, and final step of Parson’s three-step model is to mend together all of the information that is gathered throughout the process. When looking at steps one and two of his model, it should give the individual a more realistic and rationalized path in choosing a career. Parson believed that when an individual is working in a career that is best suited for them, they will be able to reach their highest potential and be able to perform to the best of their abilities. A career counselor is an extremely helpful and practical tool to provide guidance throughout this process. Not only can the counselor provide support and encouragement for the individual, they can also help in gathering the right information needed for the first and second steps.
Parson’s three-step model has impacted vocational/career counseling well into the 21st century. School counselors are usually required to provide their students with vocational guidance as a part of their job description, especially with high school and college students. I believe that Parson’s three-step model is a functional tool to guide students even starting at a young age in elementary schools. Teachers and counselors are already teaching their students to use self-analyzing techniques every day in their classrooms. For example, students will take self-assessments after a main topic is finished to see what they have learned and what they are still struggling with. These assessments are useful throughout elementary schools, middle schools and high schools. It provides the students, from a young age, to begin understanding and learning about themselves, including both their strengths and their weaknesses. Counselors can learn a lot through Parson’s ideas and this three-step model because it also teaches the counselor how to be supportive and inspirational to their students which is important for their motivation to succeed.
...(download the rest of the essay above)