Reflections on the New Year - JCDA as a Career Community

  -Yoshio Ohara, Representative President of Japan Career Development Association (JCDA)

New Year Greetings

First of all, on behalf of JCDA, I wish to offer our greetings at the start of this year. Let me also express our heartfelt appreciation to JCDA members for their tremendous support and cooperation extended to us in the past year. We are looking forward to working with you again this year.



Today, there are about 70,000 people in Japan who are registered as holders of Career Consultant certification, a national professional license. I hear that more and more corporate employees are becoming interested in obtaining this certification. I believe that one reason for this growing popularity, especially among the corporate employees working in personnel departments, has to do with the fact that this certification can be utilized directly in performing their daily duties.


On the other hand, it seems that there has been an increase in the number of people who are not engaged in personnel duties but have obtained or are pursuing Career Consultant certification anyway because it is a national professional license which may become helpful in their careers. In the past 23 years, I have kept thinking what meanings our organization, JCDA, have to those who are actively using Career Consultant certification not only in businesses but also in other settings, including temporary staffing services in charge of coordinating labor demand and supply and educational institutions, as well as to those who have obtained Career Consultant certification with no immediate purpose but kept renewing it anyway.


As part of the efforts to understand what meanings the Career Consultant certification holders find in JCDA, we have been asking participants in each online JCDA membership enrollment briefing, which we started offering in the last year, what they found attractive about JCDA by using a multiple-choice question in the post-event questionnaire survey. So far, the most chosen answer to this question is “JCDA offers a wide range of license renewal training courses,” followed by “JCDA helps expand its members’ networks” (the second most chosen answer), “JCDA helps its members to metabolize their experiences” (the third), and “I like JCDA’s vision” (the fourth). I suppose that those who chose JCDA’s wide offerings of license renewal training courses as the organization’s most attractive attribute must have found our tuition discount arrangement attractive as well. We believe that this sort of practical benefit is an important element JCDA should offer to its members.


As you know well, we in the career field often use the terms, the external career, the internal career, the objective career and the subjective career. Looking at JCDA from these perspectives, we can say that its advantages include the ones related to the external career (e.g., financial benefits, knowledge acquisition) as well as the ones related to the internal career. We believe that our members decided to join JCDA because they were attracted to our external or external career-related advantages, or both of them.


Polly Parker, a career researcher studying the characteristics and effects of communities that promote their members’ careers, proposed the concept of “Career Communities.” Career Communities refer to self-organizing member-defined social structures formed by members sharing same professional interests and common objectives that extend beyond the setting of a single employing organization or mutual interests, from which they draw a variety of career supports. Career Communities also serve as the places where members can learn many important things about their own careers through interacting with other members. Parker proposed that, in Career Communities, while basing on members’ expert skills, objective (or internal) values including identity, communion and mental support are more strongly emphasized. These communities are also the places where their members can turn the meanings they find in their work into social contributions. The definitions of Career Communities I described above seem to be almost the same as what I’ve directly heard from our members when they talked about the objective (or internal) values fulfilled through JCDA, which include “sense of connection,” “trustworthy fellows,” and “social significance and contribution.” If Parker’s definitions of Career Communities actually match our members’ comments, we can say that JCDA is a Career Community. Being a Career Community, JCDA may be perceived as an organization that is equipped with functions to serve its members’ communities and also enhance their careers. Bearing these in mind, if we strove to build a structure that can fulfill objective values of a Career Community, it would help us make our organization and services more satisfactory and fulfilling to our members. Our members can acquire a sense of fulfillment through concrete activities including practical initiatives and information and other exchange opportunities among them.


Nowadays, people increasingly regard “career success” as the one where their subjective values are prioritized over their objective values. Bearing this ongoing change in people’s minds, we hope to question and publicize the significance of JCDA as a Career Community.


Initiatives Implemented in 2023
1)    Career Dock
We started providing Career Dock service in January 2024, following the Career Dock event held in October 2023. Before starting the service, we had our supervisors conduct trials to prepare for the actual service provision. Thanks to their support, we were able to inaugurate Career Dock service successfully with many applicants signing up for it.

Career Dock service aims to provide clients with periodic career checkups, with the goal of helping each client ensure his or her career development. This service is a career counseling service conducted under a continuous provision structure which, we believe, is the first service of its kind in Japan. We hope to implement and develop this service by aiming to establish its social reputation as being a career third place and encourage CDAs to become central figures in the promotion of career development of individual clients. This means that we are finally stepping into the job of growth promotion from our old and familiar job of addressing clients’ issues and concerns. We strongly encourage you to sign up as the specialized CDAs who can provide Career Dock service and to make the service known to more and more people. In doing so, we want you to have confidence and take pride in being a CDA and a provider of Career Dock service.

2)    Contest for Initiatives to Promote Kin-no-ito Life Game
In February 26 in 2023, we held the Contest for Initiatives to Promote Kin-no-ito (gold threads) Life Game developed by JCDA. The contest’s awards are divided into Activity Division and Planning Division. We received 40 applications for Activity Division and 14 for Planning Division. From these applicants, we selected outstanding individuals and groups as the contest winners. (Please see No. 87 of JCDA Journal for more details.) We held this contest to give the general public opportunities to play the Kin-no-ito Life Game to help them create career awareness and to inform the public of how important and necessary career counseling is.

We can say that the excellent outcomes of this contest include not only the great quality of the submitted initiatives but also the diversity of the places to which the life game has been introduced, which are, in other words, the contest participants. This time, the participants to the life game included a wide range of people from students, corporate employees, homemakers, non-Japanese nationals, to nursing care facility workers and residents. The second contest will be held on February 25 (Sun.) this year. We’ll make every effort to turn the event into success!

3)    Inauguration of CDA Student Qualification
We held an online event to celebrate the inauguration of CDA Student qualification on May 27 in 2023, which was attended by some150 people. The event started off with a keynote lecture entitled “Issues and Vision of Career Education in Colleges and Universities ” by Professor HIRANO Mitsutoshi , President of Otemae University. Following this lecture, a panel discussion was held in which Professor SAKAMOTO Masao of Otemae Univesity, the first university accredited to adopt the CDA Student qualification, talked about how the university decided to adopt the qualification and what it expects from the adoption.

Provision of the accreditation is done through the Open Badges format. We are determined to make continuous efforts to increase the number of educational institutions that adopt CDA Student qualification.

4)    Continuous Expansion of Human Webs
This year, we have continuously focused on the story-telling workshop and other initiatives as we did in the last year. The story-telling workshop is an event held periodically to promote exchange among CDAs or people of different fields. During the last year, the workshop was held four times to which a total of 250 people attended. The one held in April 2023 was co-sponsored by JCDA and Asia Pacific Career Development Association (APCDA), which provided opportunities for exchange to career assistance professionals, CDAs and members of JCDA and APCDA, made the participants become more interested in what’s happening globally.

Initiatives to Implement in 2024
During this year, we hope to expand our new project lineups introduced since the last year and further enhance their qualities based on our slogan, “From the inside to the outside.” Specifically speaking, for Career Dock service, we have plans to increase its service offerings while developing Career Dock-specialized CDAs, expanding its business (through acquiring new alliance partners) and introducing a new service, “Interview for Occupational Information,” as its new initiatives. Then, for the Contest for Initiatives to Promote Kin-no-ito Life Game, we will publicize the contest results more widely among our members in the hopes of increasing the number of future contestants and promote the use of Kin-to-ito Life Game in wider settings (e.g., businesses, educational institutions, local governments). At the same time, we will strive to publicize further our new program entitled “Living in Harmony with Others” and CDA Student qualification.

In addition to these expansionary efforts, we will also inaugurate Supervision (SV) Program. Supervision is an area into which Japanese government is set to put more efforts. We are planning to build a supervision structure that requires all practicing CDAs to receive supervision.

Furthermore, as for CDA’s required abilities and qualities, we are considering to build a mechanism that will not solely rely on license renewal training courses and through which JCDA can contribute in some way to the development of CDAs and improvement of their qualities.