With a theme of “Stretch, Support, Strive,” the 2020 CERIC Annual Report reflects on a year like no other. It was a year that took us to new and uncharted places, both as an organization and as a sector. We started the year with banner attendance at Cannexus, Canada’s Career Development Conference, in Ottawa in January 2020. By mid-March, our staff were working from home and CERIC began to respond to the fast-changing needs of career development stakeholders in the face of the global public health crisis.
As Board Chair André Raymond and Executive Director Riz Ibrahim outline in their Leadership Message, CERIC sought to better understand how these needs were unfolding and what gaps were emerging. We did this through a series of periodic Pulse Surveys that took a recovery-oriented lens and showed remarkable resilience and innovation across career services in Canada. Our response included offering free webinars on timely topics like taking career and employment services online and managing mental and emotional well-being for both clients and career professionals. The pandemic also meant that we had to reimagine Cannexus in 2021 as a virtual offering. Being mindful of the economic uncertainties, we offered compelling rates and were also able to bring in new international partners with the pivot to virtual – all with a view to reimagining career development in this new reality where we found ourselves.
Internally, CERIC took time in 2020 to fine-tune our new Strategic Plan. Early in the year, we revised our Vision (People in Canada have the capacity to use their skills and talents towards a more fulfilling future for all) and Mission (Advancing career development in Canada) and confirmed two mandates that would drive our work for the next few years. These are: “Promoting career development as a priority for the public good,” working with stakeholders across the career development ecosystem to advance efforts that show the social and economic value, and public benefit of career development; and, “Building career development knowledge, mindsets and competencies,” growing expertise and skills among career practitioners and educators through research, learning and acting as a hub for community.
Highlights for CERIC that promote career development for public good:
- Launched the book Strengthening Mental Health Through Effective Career Development: A Practitioner’s Guide, which makes the case that career development is a mental health intervention
- Announced the development of Retain and Gain: Career Management for the Public Sector to help managers across government better engage and develop their employees
- Funded research based on unique Canadian data that found evidence to support career education in high school changing students’ career choices and pathways, with implications for policymakers and practitioners
- Published the “Career Superpowers” issue of CERIC’s Careering magazine, which highlighted how career development skills such as developing agility are superpowers that support people through difficult transitions
- Released the results of a national survey of 1,300+ career service professionals that found that 7 in 10 Canadians who see a career counsellor wish they had made different career decisions earlier in their lives, generating significant media attention
- Engaged with many organizations around shared advocacy goals, systems change and joint learning, including RBC Future Launch, Canadian Chamber of Commerce, OECD, Canadian Education Association EdCan Network and the federal Privy Council Office
Key achievements for CERIC that build career development knowledge:
- Initiated a project to translate the popular book Career Theories and Models at Work: Ideas for Practice into French, with Japanese, Latvian and Estonian translations also in progress, extending its international reach
- In partnership with Memorial University, continued to expand knowledge by publishing two issues of the Canadian Journal of Career Development, Canada’s only peer-reviewed academic journal in the field
- Presented free webinars that addressed pandemic challenges and also offered paid series with partner associations in the field on highly relevant topics such as supporting positive outcomes for Black students, with a total of 19,887 webinar registrations
- Hosted Cannexus, Jan. 27-29, 2020 in Ottawa, bringing together a record number of 1,258 delegates to learn about and discuss the issues shaping work and well-being in Canada, including workforce development, youth employment and reconciliation
- Produced timely resources through CERIC’s popular bilingual content communities, CareerWise and OrientAction (in partnership with Quebec-based GRICS), to help Canada’s career development professionals navigate a rapidly changing reality
- Conducted a series of CERIC Recovery Pulse Surveys with 1,146 career and employment professionals to track the effects of COVID-19 on career services across the country, with data showing resilience and innovation
- Engaged the next generation of career development researchers through our Graduate Student Engagement Program (GSEP), adding 39 students currently enrolled in full-time master’s and PhD programs
- Issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) on the linkages between experiential learning and career development to effectively bridge the gap between the classroom and the world of work
- Announced the award of the Career Development in Children: Identifying Critical Success Conditions and Strategies project, which will examine how foundational skills introduced by classroom teachers connect to career-related learning in grades 4-6
In addition to these highlights, as well as inclusion of financial statements, the CERIC 2020 Annual Report also includes an acknowledgement of CERIC staff this past year as well as a special thank you to the CERIC Board and Advisory Committee volunteers who helped us navigate through these uncharted waters and to our funder, The Counselling Foundation of Canada, for its unwavering support.