Does career counseling really make a difference in the outcomes of workforce development initiatives designed to assist customers in achieving their goals of gainful employment? The following three Workforce System Strategies resources demonstrate the potential difference career counseling services can make when implemented to set goals, access education and training, improve social-emotional skills, confidence, and motivation, and obtain credentials for in-demand healthcare occupations.

The Role of Goal Setting in Integrated Service Delivery
This brief describes the outcomes from the Working Families Success Network that supports 1) integrated service delivery in employment and career advancement, 2) financial and asset-building services, and 3) income enhancements and work supports. This resource supplies service providers with promising practices to assist participants in self-sufficiency and goal setting to achieve success. The strategies—grounded in research and based on site visits to organizations coordinating services to help economically disadvantaged individuals—include the use of goal tracking, coaching, commitment devices, and monetary incentives. 

Benefits of Cognitive-Behavioral Techniques in Job Search Services
This report documents the outcomes of workshops that aimed to enhance job seeker motivation and self-efficacy in job search activities. Supported by a Workforce Innovation Fund grant, the Williamette Workforce Partnership designed, implemented, and evaluated the Rethinking program. The Rethinking program provided a series of workshops to teach the benefits of cognitive-behavioral techniques to job seekers receiving Unemployment Insurance as part of the partnership’s career counseling services. Participants’ self-ratings of their socioemotional skills, confidence, and motivation were high in both the post-workshop survey and the six-month follow-up survey. Rethinking participants had a 12% greater chance of being employed in the third quarter after completion and an 8% greater chance of being employed in the fourth quarter after exit compared to individuals in a matched comparison group.

Carreras en Salud Approach Increases Employment in Healthcare
This brief describes the outcomes of a randomized study of one of the nine career pathway programs under the Pathways for Advancing Careers and Education (PACE) study. The program’s approach included career counseling and employment services (e.g., one-on-one job search assistance, a job readiness workshop, and job development). In addition, a key element of the program was the provision of non-academic advising and support for basic skills/English as a Second Language students, including one-on-one counseling to address barriers and assistance with childcare and transportation. The Carreras program increased employment in the healthcare field and reduced the proportion of participants experiencing financial hardships.