Government Relations & Public Policy

NCDA established its first legislative agenda during the 2008 annual Global Conference in Washington, DC.  Since then, NCDA has made public policy an important cornerstone of its work, as described in NCDA's Philosophy on Public Policy: Advocating for Career Development. NCDA is represented in Washington, DC by the Government Relations Committee. The Committee’s members represent NCDA’s diverse membership. Its goal is to identify and advocate legislation and policies which support the mission of NCDA and its members. The Government Relations Committee communicates and collaborates with NCDA committees and related professional organizations including the American Counseling Association, the Automation Federation and the State Directors of Career and Technical Education. Communicating with and collaborating with key federal departments, including the Departments of Education, Labor and Veterans Affairs is an important part of the Committee’s work. The Committee encourages NCDA members to become actively involved in communicating with their elected representatives, informing them of the services they provide, and of the support they need to provide those services.

Legislative Alerts, Updates & News

Alerts: Call to Action!

There is increasing support for strengthening career readiness, counseling and planning in American education. Undoubtedly there is an increasing awareness of the accelerating changes in our society and especially in our workplaces detailed and described by many including Tom Friedman in Thank You for Being Late. That awareness has likely been a factor in motivating major organizations including ACTE, the Chief State School Officers, the U. S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, the Automation Federation, and the American Association of School Administrators to support policies and programs which would enable students in American education to become aware of the wide range of career, education and training options and to make plans to access and succeed in those related to their own talents and aspirations.

The NCDA Board, leaders and members have been actively and collaboratively involved in making career planning and counseling an integral element in American education for all students. NCDA’s cooperative agreement with ACTE, and its leadership role in the coalition of more than 100 organizations initiated by Bill Symonds and focused on strengthening career development in American education are current examples of NCDA’s involvement. As a result of that involvement, major national organizations have learned of NCDA’s century of service and its wide range of resources, including its recent commitment to a process for certifying career development professionals.

The NCDA Government Relations (GR) Committee is focused on making sure that the legislative and administrative branches of government understand the importance of career development in American education, the services that NCDA members and associates provide, and the legislation, policies and budget needed to provide those services and programs. Currently, there are major changes and challenges in the works likely to have a direct effect on NCDA members. For example, the recently enacted Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESSA) transfers major responsibility for education to states and local communities, and at the same time President Trump’s proposed budget includes substantial reductions for education.

The GR Committee has plans to continue its contacts and communications with members of Congress and key staff members in the Departments of Education and Labor. Ashley Delgado, NCDA’s Lobbyit representative, has successfully led this process. However, more than ever, the active involvement of NCDA members is essential. It is important for members to personally become involved as advocates. Specifically, members are encouraged to contact their Representative and Senators, or their staff members in local offices, to describe the services or programs that are being provided to their constituents and to ask for their support of legislation and appropriations needed to continue those services and programs. As you make these contacts, share the nature and results with the GR Committee. NCDA members are the vital link necessary to deliver the message about the impact that career development and counseling will have on the next generation of an educated and trained workforce.

State CDAs are also encouraged to become involved and supportive of this process, especially if one or more members of Congress from the state are members of an authorizing or appropriations committee. In addition to making contacts with elected members, state CDA leaders can identify best practices and programs and issues or needs of importance to the elected representative’s constituents.

There are real challenges ahead, but NCDA’s century of experience and service should enable its members and leaders to face them with confidence and resolve. There is widespread agreement on the need to help students and career changers become aware of the wide range of career options and opportunities available to them. We need to communicate with our elected representatives and others that our members and associates are qualified and committed to help with this important process. We simply need their support to provide the policies and budget needed to achieve this important goal. The recent NCDA “Call to Action” e-bulletin to members (4/4/2017) provided contact information and directions or you can use the Congressional phone system (202)224-3121 or the internet: or Be sure to share the results of your contact with us.

Niel Carey, NCDA Executive Director Emeritus and member, NCDA Government Relations Committee
Rebecca Dedmond, Co-Chair, Government Relations Committee
Mike Marlowe, Co-Chair, Government Relations Committee
Lobbyit, NCDA's Washington advocate





  • National Skills Coalition is advocating for states to adopt a set of policies that broadly expand access to middle-skill training, especially for those who have faced barriers to economic opportunity.  These “skills equity” policies are intended to remove barriers that, if addressed, will make it easier for low-income people to access and complete middle-skill training that leads to an in-demand credential and family-supporting job. Read the pdf published Nov 2016.
  • HOUSE PASSES PERKINS REAUTHORIZATION BILLSept. 13  2016 - The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 5587, the Strengthening CTE for the 21st Century Act, by a vote of 405 to 5. Perkins reauthorization efforts now shift to the Senate. Read more.
    The Congress has passed and the President has signed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).  This is the elementary/secondary legislation, previously referred to as No Child Left Behind, that the NCDA Government Relations Committee and our lobbyist, Luke Wallwork, have worked diligently to see enacted. Since this legislation places the primary responsibility for education on state and local school systems, there will be increased opportunities for state divisions to become actively involved in implementing it, with an emphasis on strengthening career development and counseling programs for all students. The legislation includes references to:

    • college and career guidance and counseling programs;
    • post-secondary education and career awareness and exploration activities;
    • training for counselors to effectively use labor market information in assisting students with post-secondary education and career planning.

    We encourage all NCDA members to become informed and actively involved.  Contact your state and national elected representatives to let them know how you are helping students become aware of and prepare for the wide range of career options and opportunities that maybe of interest to them. For more information, view the NCDA Advocacy webpage or contact Rebecca Dedmond or Charles Lehman, Co-Chairs, NCDA Government Relations Committee or Ray Davis, NCDA Board Liaison.

  • In addition to advocating for ESSA legislation, NCDA leaders are actively involved with Bill Symonds’ Pathways to Progress initiative on increasing career literacy in American education. Mark Danaher, Ray Davis and Niel Carey are working with Bill and representatives from several other business and education organizations to plan a major meeting February 2016 at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce headquarters to discuss plans for strengthening career literacy and career counseling in American schools.  Organizations that will be involved include the National Governors Association, the Council of Chief State school Officers, ACTE, and the State Directors of CTE. 

  • LobbyIt staff continue to arrange and facilitate meetings with Members of Congress.These meetings often result from communications with the Members of Congress by NCDA members or GR committee members. They are very helpful, because they give us the opportunity to explain NCDA’s diverse membership and its mission and services, and to ask for the legislative and funding support needed to continue those services. These meetings are the result of grassroots advocacy at work!
  • List of committee assignments for the 113th Congress
  • Legislative Matrix - House and Senate bill status (as of 7/2013)
  • The Automation Foundation and NCDA are working together to convey the message to students, job seekers, returning Veterans, and those in career transition that pursuing a career in the automation profession can be rewarding, and is essential to the long-term viability of our nation's and the world's advanced manufacturing effort. Click here to read the current AF/NCDA Workforce Position Statement.

Resources for Legislators