Career Development

Maryland's Career Development Framework

Maryland's Career Development Framework (MCDF) provides a structured, developmental approach for teaching students and adults about the world of work along with encouraging the development of positive personal characteristics and self efficacy skills needed for making appropriate choices regarding their education and career paths.  The National Career Development Association (NCDA) Guidelines support this Pre-K through adult career development framework.  The MCDF includes six career development standards: Self Awareness, Career Awareness, Career Exploration, Career Preparation, Job Seeking and Advancement, and Career Satisfaction and Transition.

Skills for Success

The MCDF includes workplace readiness skills called the Skills for Success which are Learning skills, Thinking skills, Communication skills, Technology skills and Interpersonal skills.  Skills For Success is a Maryland model that resembles the Partnership for 21st Century Skills that also include these skills sets to prepare students to work successfully in a diverse, innovation-driven economy.  By encouraging skill building in the areas of critical thinking and problem solving; communication and collaboration; and creativity and innovation, the MCDF framework provides educators with standards and learner objectives that are essential elements for curriculum, instruction and assessment activities to compliment the Maryland Common Core Standards. 

Academic and Career Plan

For educators, the MCDF is a guide for appropriate instruction at the elementary and middle school levels to help prepare students create their academic and career plan for high school.  This vital instruction gives students a process to assess their personal characteristics and positive traits, learning styles, abilities and motivation combined with career aspirations.  Raising students’ awareness of their strengths and positive traits helps set the stage for building skill sets that are transferable as children mature into adolescence and adulthood and subsequently into the 21stCentury workplace.

In elementary school, children begin to learn more about themselves and build confidence.  In middle school, students continue that personal reflection, begin to explore the world around them, and make connections between the academic subjects learned in school and the relationship school work has to the work world.  Students begin charting their academic/career plan and choose a high school program of study that matches their future aspirations.  Students continue to use their decision-making skills to manage their academic and career plans, concentrate on developing their academic and technical skills, and begin to explore postsecondary and career-based options.  In Maryland, at the high school level, students have many options to choose from in planning coursework to complete graduation requirements including the Maryland Career Technology Education (CTE) Programs of Study (Blue Book).

Lifelong Learning

The career development process is a lifelong continuum of learning that requires the use of critical thinking and decision-making skills as children and adults transition from one learning level or career aspect of their lives to the next.  Starting this process early is one of the keys for equipping students to prepare for their future education and careers.  Maryland is proud to use a standards-based approach to implement the career development process.  By using instructional strategies in grades Pre-K through 12 and implementing Career Guidance and Advisory programs for students in grades 7-12, students are better prepared to make informed decisions about their high school academic and technical course of study and future post high school education and career choices.


Jennifer Griffin
Career Programs and Apprenticeship Specialist, Office of College and Career Pathways
Office: (410) 767-0635
Fax: (410) 333-2099