In February 1924, the first placement organization in the United States
was established in Chicago. Its original name was the National Association
of Appointments Secretaries, after the British position title, "appointments
secretary," also known as "placement director" in this country. Of the
twelve representatives who founded the pioneer organization, eleven were
women. Their primary concern was teacher placement.
In 1928 the name was changed to the National Association of Placement
and Personnel Officers, and during the 1930's it was changed again to
the American College Personnel Association (ACPA).
In the years following its inception, the emphasis on placement decreased
as the activities of ACPA broadened. In an effort to develop a more placement-oriented
organization, five educators met in October 1926 at Massachusetts Institute
of Technology to organize the Eastern College Personnel Officers (ECPO).
The stated objective of this new association was to promote professional
improvement for its members through an interchange of information on common
placement problems. The association planned to accomplish this objective
through conventions, general meetings, and presentations by speakers who
had undertaken specific studies in the field. Thus, the foundations were
laid for the current Regional Associations and the National Association
of Colleges and Employers.
During the Great Depression of the nineteen-thirties, there was a growing
demand (from students and faculty) for vocational guidance. At this time,
the original ECPO group was expanded to admit employer recruiters. Elsewhere
in the country in the 1930s and throughout most of the 1940s, there was
no common ground for employers and placement people who wanted to meet
and discuss their mutual problems.
Following World War II, frantic recruiting activity gave tremendous momentum
to organized recruitment and placement groups. In December 1947, the Rocky
Mountain College Placement Association was formed by 10 educators. The
following year, 1948, three major events took place that had a profound
impact on the college placement field.
The first was a conference sponsored by the General Electric Corporation.
GE invited recruiters from major firms and selected placement officers
from various universities to meet at Schenectady, New York, for a discussion
of mutual issues pertaining to placement. From those conversations, a
code of recruitment ethics was developed. There also was a strong push
to encourage the formation of other regional placement associations to
connect recruiters and placement directors.
That same year, the Southern College Placement Association and the Middle
Atlantic Placement Association were created.
In 1949, the Midwest College Placement was founded with members from
both education and industry, followed by the Southwest Placement Association.
The Western College Placement Association was founded in 1951, and the
University Counseling and Placement Association (formed in Canada) in
The regional placement associations commonly agreed that each group would
remain autonomous and that any proposed national meetings of the total
membership would be specifically prohibited. However, as the eight regional
placement associations of North America grew in size and complexity, their
activities, conference dates, and projects often overlapped, resulting
in a duplication of efforts. It became obvious that coordination and communication
on a national scale woud require a vehicle not yet in existence.
A Publishing Parallel
While the development of the regional placement associations was taking
place, an interesting parallel unfolded in the publishing field that would
serve as a catalyst in the formation of the College Placement Council,
now the National Association of Colleges and Employers.
In 1940, Dr. Clarence E. Clewell, the director of placement at the University
of Pennsylvania, helped to establish the Pennsylvania Association of School
and College Placement. He also was the editor of the first edition of
School and College Placement, the first formal attempt to establish
a national communications vehicle among all interested recruiters and
Gordon A. Hardwick, a Philadelphia insurance executive, was named president
of the Association of School and College Placement in 1941, and for a
decade held the association together with his interest, financial support,
and office space. When he retired from active management in 1950, the
demise of School and College Placement, which many placement people
valued, appeared imminent.
Some thought the magazine was too important to be allowed to die. The
periodical continued to be published under the leadership of Fanny Y.
Mitchell, placement director at Duke University, and E. Craig Sweeten,
director of placement at the University of Pennsylvania. Ms. Mitchell
also was named president of the parent, the Association of School and
College Placement. During her term of office, the title of the association's
publication was changed from School and College Placement to the
Journal of College Placement.
The October 1955 issue of the Journal included a report on a meeting
of the presidents of the eight regional associations held in Philadelphia
in June. The article summarized the discussions which centered upon the
advisability of forming a national advisory council. The council would
pursue several objectives, including the dissemination of information
through the Journal of College Placement. That fall, the proposal
was brought before the eight regional associations for action so that
a formal structure might be organized to provide the coordination of activities.
In 1956, Robert F. Herrick was engaged as editor of the Journal.
During the same year, the regional associations agreed that the safeguards
written into the constitution of the proposed council could permit them
to endorse and support a national or international coordinating agency.
Formation of the Council
The executive committee and the administrative boards of the eight regional
associations met at Lehigh University in June 1956 to form the College
Placement Publications Council with Everett A. Teal, the placement director
at Lehigh University, as president, and Mr. Herrick as executive director.
The Council's office was moved from Philadelphia to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
The following year, 1957, 33 delegates from the regional associations
met at Ohio State University. They shortened the name to the College Placement
Council, Inc. (CPC). The Council was organized as a federation of the
seven regional associations in the United States. The University and College
Placement Association of Canada, later to become CACEE-Canadian Association
of Career Educators and Employers-became a Charter Associate member of
The Council lost little time in addressing the needs of the profession.
The delegates meeting at Ohio State began work immediately to publish
the CPC Annual for the academic year, 1957-58. One hundred thousand
copies were projected. By the time the first Annual went to press
in October 1957, the planned circulation had jumped to 175,000 copies.
Shortly thereafter, CPC began publishing a national directory of practitioners
in the field, and in 1959 began collecting and reporting entry-level salary
offers made to college graduates in the CPC Salary Survey. The
publishing function of the College Placement Council was thus established
at the very outset.
Organizational membership was introduced in 1972-73. During the 1970s,
CPC conducted professional development seminars and held its first National
Meeting in 1975. In the 1980s, CPC introduced professional standards for
its members, more training and development opportunities, three National
Meetings, legal columns in publications, and an awards program to recognize
member accomplishments. During this decade, CPC also published a number
of benchmark research studies.
In the 1990s, NACE continued to expand its services including roundtables
for employers, a one-week management training program for career services,
more research studies, and the introduction of the association's
Internet web site.
CPC Changes Its Name
In 1995, CPC changed its name to the National Association of Colleges
and Employers (NACE). The current name now encompasses both membership
constituencies—college career services and HR/staffing offices—and
emphasizes the important connection between campus and career. The
regional associations also changed their names to: Eastern Association
of Colleges and Employers, Southeastern Association of Colleges and
Employers, Midwest Association of Colleges and Employers, Southwest
Association of Colleges and Employers, Rocky Mountain Association of
Colleges and Employers, and Western Association of Colleges and
In 2005, RMACE and WACE combined to form
MPACE. SWACE and SACE joined to make SOACE in July 2007. Today there
are four regional associations: EACE, SOACE, MidwestACE and MPACE. The
regions operate independently from NACE.
NACE today is includes many
college and employer organizations. The resulting interface provides invaluable
services and opportunities to members through its publications, web
resources, services, professional development workshops, and Annual
NACE is governed by a Board of Directors
consisting of four college directors, four employer directors and five
officers. The Board of Directors meets twice a year.
NACE continues today as a national publisher for the profession, but
its role and horizons have expanded considerably. NACE has come to be regarded as the guardian of the professional ethos,
an information resource, a reporter of the career environment, and at
times, pathfinder of the profession.
NACE remains headquartered in Bethlehem, but it has significant presence nationally and internationally.
NACE is one of the charter members of
the International Network of Graduate Recruitment and Development Associations
(INGRADA), associations from countries
world wide, serving professionals engaged in the career development, recruitment,
and hiring of college and university graduates.