Over the past 40 years, the University of Oregon has supported the development of the Career Information System (CIS). CIS is a computerized career information and guidance system designed to deliver career assessments and high-quality national and localized information about occupations, employment, education, and training to students and adults. Design of this computer-based system began in 1969. The early CIS planners met in Oregon from 1969 to 1971, discussing thoroughly the options for organizing and financing a career information system and developing the plan for a statewide delivery system. By the spring of 1971, the early planners had developed a grant proposal to fund the initial formation of CIS, and the Oregon Department of Education submitted that proposal to the U.S. Department of Labor on behalf of the planners of CIS.


In the summer of 1971, the planners received the formal notice of federal funding. The CIS Board chose Dr. Bruce McKinlay as the director of CIS and selected the University of Oregon as the fiscal and administrative agency to house CIS. The early developers devoted the fall of 1971 to selecting pilot schools and agencies, developing in-service training programs, and negotiating service contracts. The Director and the CIS Board worked closely on the many decisions that enabled the number of Oregon CIS sites to grow rapidly.


Although CIS began in Oregon, the developers envisioned a national resource from the start. The original CIS development project included the objective of producing a system that could be adapted to meet the needs of other states as well. From the beginning, University of Oregon CIS staff shared their technical knowledge with other states that started implementing CIS. As early as 1974, representatives from four Northwest states met with University of Oregon staff to discuss regional cooperation. By 1977, seven states implemented CIS, with additional states considering contracts with the University of Oregon. Discussions transpired regarding the possible formation of a national organization. Over the next several years, staff created a nationally focused organization to provide research, development, training and technical assistance to CIS operators in various states. National CIS formally began in 1979. National CIS changed its name to intoCareers in 1999. intoCareers remains an outreach unit of the College of Education at the University of Oregon.


Excerpted from:

Building on the Past, Looking to the Future – Historical Highlights of the Career Information System

Esther E. Matthews