Career Work is Justice Work is a course born from my experiences working in St. Louis and Ferguson, MO from 2009-2017.
For many of you, my mention of Ferguson automatically brings up memories of great turmoil as shown on the news across the world after Michael Brown, Jr.’s death in 2014. I was immediately contacted by groups such as Ferguson-Florissant School District, Ritenour School District, the Organization for Black Struggle, Hands Up Coalition and more because of the work I had been doing in Ferguson and North City St. Louis from 2009 up until that time.
My team and I worked in Ferguson Schools and at protests on the streets for much of the next year. If you are interested in learning more about some of this work (NOT required for this course), please view Storytelling and Hope in Ferguson and Revisiting Ferguson in Counseling Today.
“What does this have to do with career work?” is a valid and important question. As a practicing career services professional and career counselor educator, I had my antenna up the entire time to witness the impact that just/unjust conditions had on protestors’ lives. Whether it was the man recently released from prison after 35 years who could not protest because it violated his parole, to the young man who drove from Memphis, TN to protest for the first time in his life, to the children whose lives were disrupted by helicopters, marchers, and sirens for weeks… there was a career story to tell each and every time. It was these career stories that resonated most with me as they described the personal, lived experiences as People of Color, economically depressed persons, and persons of privilege who viewed the window of opportunity for change through the lens of their work lives.
The primary audience for this course is any career services professional (e.g., coaches, facilitators, human resource professionals, counselors, psychologists) working with those less privileged in the workforce as well as you that work with those more privileged. The principles and achievements of justice through work must be inclusive of all across universal work environments if we envision a just world-of-work.
My goal for this class is to give you a different on-line course experience. One that encourages you to ask questions that have remained unasked, to think deeply about your own experiences of work as they form the spectrum of privilege and opportunity you have in your life, and to shift your career services practice to better incorporate ideas of justice for all workers.
Download the course worksheet here and save it to your computer. As you move through the course, you will track your progress by answering questions on a worksheet. This worksheet will be submitted to the instructor at the end of the course to verify your earned continuing education units. Once the worksheet is submitted and determined to be complete, I will ask that your certificate of completion be sent to you.
Let me close by sharing that much of the work in Ferguson and St. Louis that has happened in the subsequent years has been work/ career oriented. While you likely know about the young activist who continue to do justice work today through organizations such as Black Lives Matter you might not know about the handful of protestors who became politicians, or the multitude of social entrepreneurs who have opened business designed to benefit the community, or the community cooperative house that spreads food, joy, and art throughout its North City St. Louis neighborhood. Each of these dozens of changed people are enacting their changed identities through community-centric work today.
This course is dedicated to them.
I believe you will find it helpful to keep a journal or log throughout this course using either a Word document you keep open on your computer or a notebook/journal. If you choose not to journal, you will need scrap paper and pen/pencil at specific times.
Let’s begin the course….