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  • NACE Organizational History


    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.

    Regional Development

    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 1952.

    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 placement officials.

    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.

    CPC Growth

    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 Employers.

    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.

    Membership in 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 Conference.

    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 Today

    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.