John Thompson

Career Development Portfolio

Needs Assessment and Referral

The Standards and Guidelines identify Needs Assessment and Referral as important competencies for Career Development Practitioners. Below I present evidence that I am competent in these areas.


All my life, I have enjoyed being able to point people toward sources of information that will help them achieve their goals. At one bookstore I worked in, I was known as Mr. Customer Service because I was always ready to tell customers where they could purchase a book if we didn't have it. My desire to help people also found expression my decision to become a reference librarian. In 1983, I graduated from the University of Toronto's School of Library Science. To this day, I continue to work in the field of public librarianship.

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My work as a Writing Tutor required me to conduct a needs assessment with my students so that I could identify where their difficulties with completing writing assignments arose. I worked at York's Writing Workshop (as it was called then) for three years. I also played a somewhat similar roles with the students in my Stories of Inquiry class. These students were all engaged in individualized research projects, and I was nearly always able to point them toward books and people who could help them achieve their goals.

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In the mid-1970s, I worked as a childcare worker for Browndale. This organization ran group homes for emotionally disturbed children across Ontario. Much of our everyday work involved assessing the emotional state of the children under our care, and determining when to refer them to more professional treatment.

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