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The Race-Grounded Career Advising Framework

This framework offers tools for youth development leaders and practitioners to reflect and be inspired to develop programs centered on the assets, identities, voices and strengths of BIPOC youth and their communities. It challenges negative “deficit” beliefs about BIPOC youth that place blame on individuals and communities without recognizing systems of oppression.

This framework and resource site was developed by the Equitable Futures Innovation Network, a three-year research-practice partnership project stewarded by the Connected Learning Lab at UC Irvine. Insights guiding this framework emerged through youth participatory action research in partnership with BIPOC-serving career development organizations.

Contrasting Deficit and Asset-Based Perspectives in Career Advising

Recognizing assets of marginalized groups
BIPOC youth have deficits and must “professionalize” and assimilate culturally in order to have successful careers.
BIPOC youth bring unique personal strengths, wisdom, expertise, networks, perspectives, and cultural assets to occupations and careers.
Recognizing structural inequities
Career failures are because of individual lack of effort, grit and competence.
Cultural biases and structural inequities must be recognized and challenged for BIPOC youth to thrive in careers
Recognizing collective power
BIPOC youth must leave their culture and communities behind and network with high status professionals in order to be successful.
Community connection and contribution are powerful drivers of career motivations and occupational identity for BIPOC youth.
Recognizing the whole person
Knowledge, skills and an individualistic and competitive mindset are the drivers of success. Sacrificing wellbeing is necessary for success.
When individuals and communities are aligned with their sense of purpose, they are able to thrive in careers in ways that embrace their values, passions, and interests.

Engage with the Framework

Awareness Building

Raise awareness and affirm core values with conversation starters on asset and deficit-based perspectives

Idea Generation Activities

Use the table of race-grounded career advising practices to design new approaches, programs, and policies

Full Framework

Access and share the full framework

Suggested citation: Mendoza, Elizabeth, Janiece Mackey, Miguel Abad and Mizuko Ito (2023). Race-Grounded Career Advising Framework,*

Learn More


Additional resources, including videos, articles, books, and toolkits


How the framework was developed and the people behind the project


Research behind the framework with our list of academic citations

The Equitable Futures Innovation Network is a project of the:

With support from:

This work was inspired and made possible through partnership with youth-serving organizations who were part of the Equitable Futures Innovation Network: Bresee Youth Center, Business and Career Services, Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership, Community Share, Digital Nest, New Door Ventures, OAI, and Timbuk2 Academy. We are also grateful for the many leaders and experts in career advising who we interviewed and offered wisdom and insights that informed and improved this framework. Special thanks to Shelley Zion and Amy Ritterbusch for their mentorship and guidance.