Materials for Teaching, Research and Policy Making



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KEY WORDS: Career Awareness; Career Choice; Career Counseling; Career Exploration; Career Planning; Doctoral Programs; Education Work Relationship; Employment Opportunities; Employment Patterns; Graduate Study; Higher Education; Humanities; Interest Inventories; Labor Market; Outcomes of Education; Professional Recognition.

Neumark, D. (2006). Evaluating program effectiveness: A case study of the School-to-work Opportunities Act in California. Economics of Education Review, 25(3), 315-326.


The author argues that evaluations of the effectiveness of government programs may have positive outcomes, serving both to improve program implementation and to inform policy-makers on the effectiveness of these programs. However, the evidence generated from programs and their providers sometimes fails to be convincing. This raises questions about the decision-making of local providers based on this evidence, and the quality of the evidence provided to policy-makers. This paper presents a case study of this question in the context of the federal School-to-Work Opportunities Act in California, which was implemented by decentralized Local Partnerships (LPs) through-out the state. Extensive interviews with representatives of LPs in California and a detailed review of local evaluations are used to help understand: 1) how school-to-work providers gauge the success of their programs; and 2) to assess evaluations of these programs carried out or commissioned by these LPs. The findings raise serious doubts about the adequacy of evaluation efforts by local program providers, and the case study suggests the effectiveness of these programs is questionable.
KEY WORDS: Evaluation; Monitoring; Knowledge Mobilization; Outcomes; School-to-Work Transition; Policy; Educational Reform.

Neumark, D., & Rothstein, D. (2005). Do school-to-work programs help the "forgotten half"? Cambridge: MA: National Bureau of Economic Research.


Tested is whether school-to-work (STW) programs are particularly beneficial for those least likely to go to college in their absence--often termed the ""forgotten half"" in the STW literature. Empirical analysis is based on the NLSY97, which allows us to study 6 types of STW programs, including job shadowing, mentoring, coop, school enterprises, tech prep, and internships/apprenticeships. For men there is quite a bit of evidence that STW program participation is particularly advantageous for those in the forgotten half. For these men, specifically, mentoring and coop programs increase post-secondary education, and coop, school enterprise, and internship /apprenticeship programs boost employment and decrease idleness after leaving high school. Less evidence that STW programs are particularly beneficial for women in the forgotten half, although these programs do lead to positive earnings effects concentrated among these women.
KEY WORDS: Education; Government Policy; Economics of Minorities and Races; Non-Labor Discrimination; Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity (Formal Training Programs; On-The-Job Training).

Neumark, D., & Rothstein, D. (2006). School-to-career programs and transitions to employment and higher education. Economics of Education Review, 25(4), 374-393.


This article examines the outcomes of school-to-work funding in the United states. Focusing on the 1994 federal School-to-Work Opportunities Act (STWOA), which provided more than $1.5 billion over 5 years to support increased career preparation, the research uses data from the 1997 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY97). This paper uses the NLSY97 to assess the effects of STC programs on transitions to employment and higher education among youths leaving high school, with a focus on attempting to estimate the causal effects of this participation given possible non-random selection of youths into STC programs.
KEY WORDS: School-to-Work Transition; United States; Funding Outcomes; Youth.

O'Connor, H., & Goodwin, J. (2004). 'She wants to be like her Mum?' Girls' experience of the school-to-work transition in the 1960s. Journal of Education and Work, 17(1), 95-118.


In the early 1960s researchers at the University of Leicester conducted a unique survey on the school-to-work transition experiences of nearly 900 young adults. The survey documented most aspects of the school leavers' lives; however, most of the data from this Young Worker Project remained unanalysed and unpublished for nearly 40 years. Recently 851 of the original interview schedules were discovered and, as part of a broader ESRC-funded project, re-analysis has commenced. Little is understood about the transition from school to work at this time and what research does exist has focused on the experience of boys. Utilizing data from the original survey, which included interviews with 260 girls, this article examines the female experience of transition from school to work, concluding that gender played a significant role in influencing the way in which it was experienced.
KEY WORDS: School to Work Transition; Work and Learning; Sex Differences; Career Development.

OECD. (2000). From initial education to working life: Making transitions work. Paris: OECD.


The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) conducted a thematic review to identify changes in young people's transition to working life during the 1990s and to identify those policies and programs that are effective in delivering successful transition outcomes for young people. The review focused on 14 countries with widely different economic contexts, populations, and forms of government. The following items were identified as key ingredients of successful transition systems: a healthy economy; well-organized pathways connecting initial education with work and further study; widespread opportunities to combine workplace experience with education; tightly knit safety nets for those at risk; good information and guidance; and effective institutions and processes.
KEY WORDS: School to Work Transitions; Paid Employment; Formal Education; Work and Learning.

Phillips, S. D., Blustein, D. L., Jobin-Davis, K., & White, S. F. (2002). Preparation for the school-to-work transition: The views of high school students. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 61(2), 202-216.


Analysis of interviews with 17 high school juniors indicated that availability of work-based learning, supportive adults, and orientation to the adult world are associated with readiness for school-to-work transition. Whether motivated by anxiety or interests, resource use resulted in clearer transition plans. Multiple pathways to readiness were apparent.
KEY WORDS: Career Planning; Education Work Relationship; High School Students; Readiness; Resources; Student Attitudes; Work and Learning.

Raffo, C., & Reeves, M. (2000). Youth transitions and social exclusion: Developments in social capital theory. Journal of Youth Studies, 3(2), 147-166.


This paper proposes a theoretical perspective of individualized systems of social capital to explain the relationship between the agency exercised by socially excluded young people & the contribution made by social 'structures' in shaping their school-to-work transitions. An individualized system of social capital is a dynamic, social, & spatially, culturally, temporally, & economically embedded group, network, or constellation of social relations, that has the young person at the core of the constellation & that provides authentic opportunities for everyday learning. This theory recognizes that such systems of social relations both support & constrain individual actions & outcomes. It identifies the ability for some control by young people over their development & change, but also accepts that the extent of individual development & change is heavily dependent on how the individualized system of social capital evolves for each individual young person; this in turn is conditioned by the material & symbolic resources available to these networks or constellations. Different typologies of weak, strong, changing, & fluid individualized systems of social capital are examined in relation to our empirical data & a range of theoretical perspectives, including socialization, individualization, & underclass theses.
KEY WORDS: Social Change; Social Closure; Youth; Cultural Capital; Education Work Relationship; Social Structure; Socialization; Underclass; School to Work Transitions; Formal Education; Paid Employment; Work and Learning.

Rogers, M., & Creed, P. (2000). School-to-work transition: From theory to practice. Australian Journal of Career Development, 9(3), 20-25.


Examines four career theories: developmental theory, person-environment fit, social cognitive career theory, and social learning theory. Highlights the potential of each to inform school-to-work practices. Presents practical interventions.
KEY WORDS: Adolescents; Career Development; Education Work Relationship; Employment Opportunities; Theory Practice Relationship; Developmental Theory; Person Environment Fit; Social Learning Theory; Work and Learning.

Rosenbaum, J. (2001). Beyond college for all: Career paths for the forgotten half. New York: Russell Sage.


This book discusses problems facing U.S. high school graduates who do not continue their education, noting that many cannot find jobs, and those who do are often stuck in low-wage, dead-end positions. At the same time, employers complain that high school graduates lack the necessary skills for today's workplace. The book looks at new studies of the interaction between U.S. employers and high schools, concluding that each fails to communicate its needs to the other, leading to a predictable array of problems for young people following graduation. It contrasts the U.S. situation with that of two other industrialized nations--Japan and Germany--which have formal systems for aiding young people seeking employment. Virtually all Japanese high school graduates obtain work, and in Germany, 18-year-olds routinely hold responsible jobs. While the U.S. system lacks such formal linkages, the book uncovers one lesser-known system that helps many high school graduates find work. It explains that some teachers, particularly vocational teachers, create informal networks with employers to guide students into the labor market. The book suggests new policies based on such practices.
KEY WORDS: School to Work Transition; Vocational Education; United States; High School Graduates; Employment; Youth; Labour Market; Occupational Training; Work and Learning.

Rosenbaum, J. E., & Person, A. E. (2003). Beyond college for all: Policies and practices to improve transitions into college and jobs. Professional School Counseling, 6(4), 252-260.


This article analyzes several misconceptions about a "college-for-all" policy. These misconceptions range from those about the desirability of college for everyone and the undesirability of jobs after high school. Highlighted are rules of college and the labor market and the role of counselors in preparing students for learning and work transitions.
KEY WORDS: Access to Education; College Attendance; Counselor Role; Decision Making; Education Work Relationship; Educational Policy; Higher Education; Labor Market; School Counselors.

Schuetze, H., & Sweet, R. (Eds.). (2003). Integrating school and workplace learning in Canada. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press.


This volume discusses "alternation," various combinations of classroom (organized, theoretical) knowledge and workplace (practical) learning in Canada intended to adequately prepare secondary and postsecondary graduates for work in the new economy.
KEY WORDS: School to Work Transition; Education; Cooperative Education; Occupational Training; Canada; Work and Learning.

Smyth, E., Gangl, M., Raffe, D., Hannan, D. F., & McCoy, S. (2001). A comparative analysis of transitions from education to work in Europe. Brussels: Commission of the European Communities.


This project aimed to develop a more comprehensive conceptual framework of school-to-work transitions in different national contexts and apply this framework to the empirical analysis of transition processes across European countries. It drew on these two data sources: European Community Labor Force Survey and integrated databases on national school leavers' surveys in France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Scotland, and Sweden. Three broad types of national systems were identified: countries with extensive vocational training systems at upper secondary level, linked to occupational labor markets (Germany, the Netherlands); countries with more general education systems with weaker institutionalized linkages to the labor market (Ireland); and Southern European (SE) countries with less vocational specialization and lower overall attainment than the other groups. In "vocational" systems, young people tended to make a smoother transition into the labor market, while those in SE countries found it more difficult to achieve a stable employment position. Educational level was highly predictive of transition outcomes, which varied by gender, social class, and national origin. Early educational failure had serious negative consequences for young people across all systems.
KEY WORDS: Apprenticeships; Comparative Analysis; Comparative Education; Demography; Education Work Relationship; Educational Attainment; Educational Status Comparison; Employment Patterns; Entry Workers; Foreign Countries; Immigrants; International Studies; Labor Market; Outcomes of Education; Postsecondary Education; Secondary Education; Sex Differences; Social Status; Transitional Programs; Unemployment; Vocational Education; Young Adults; Youth.

Smyth, E., & Hannan, C. (2007). School processes and the transition to higher education. Oxford Review of Education, 33(2), 175-194.


Noting that significant variation exists between schools in the proportion of their students who go on to higher education, the authors argue that relatively little attention has been paid to the specific school characteristics influencing application and entry to post-secondary education. This paper sets out to analyze the individual and school factors which influence the transition to higher education in the Irish context. The article draws on a large-scale study of 4,400 students within 108 secondary schools in the Republic of Ireland. Almost three-quarters of the students in the sample applied for entry into postsecondary institutions. However, schools varied in the application rates of their students. These differences are found to be related to the background characteristics of students (in terms of gender, social class and prior ability) along with the institutional "habitus" of the school. The study finds that school factors associated with increased postsecondary application rates do not necessarily appear to yield higher rates of entry. Instead, successful entry to tertiary education is related to general academic effectiveness in the school.
KEY WORDS: School-to-Work Transition; Social Class; Gender; Postsecondary Education; Tertiary Education; Formal Schooling.

Staff, J., & Mortimer, J. T. (2003). Diverse transitions from school to work. Work and Occupations: An International Sociological Journal, 30(3), 361-369.


Reviews five books that illustrate the diversity in the paths youth take as they move from adolescence to adulthood: "Opportunity and Uncertainty" (Anisef et al.), "Children on the Streets of the Americas" (Mickelson), "No Shame in My Game" (Newman), "The Exploited Child" (Schlemmer), and "The Ambitious Generation"(Schneider and Stevenson). Discusses the inequality in life chances and risks.
KEY WORDS: Adolescents; Child Labor; Education Work Relationship; Equal Education; Equal Opportunities (Jobs); Foreign Countries; Global Approach; Homeless People; Student Employment.
Stokes, H., & Wyn, J. (2007). Constructing identities and making careers: Young people's perspectives on work and learning. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 26(5), 495-511.
This article argues that "transition" offers a limited and outmoded conceptual frame for understanding young people's engagement with work and learning. The authors draw on two studies of young people to examine the educational and work experiences of older and school-aged youth. The article suggests that, instead of focusing narrowly on outcomes alone, transition can be re-conceptualized as a process of "identity development." Research on young people's perspectives suggests their active investment in producing identities and the emergence of new meanings of career. The authors identify four relevant factors: continuing inequalities; putting choice in context; flexibility in decision-making and a readiness to make ongoing changes and choices in response to balancing demands of further education and employment; and a re-definition of careers. The article shows that young people who are in school as well as those who have left school reflect a view of workplaces as sites of learning and identity formation. The authors advocate new policies that recognize types and intensity of learning that occur across different sites, that challenge the dichotomy of "adult" and "youth", and that recognize the blurring of boundaries across formal and informal learning sites.
KEY WORDS: Informal Learning; School-to-Work Transitions; Careers; Identity; Youth.

Tannock, S., & Flocks, S. (2003). "I know what it's like to struggle": The working lives of young students in an urban community college. Labor Studies Journal, 28(1), 1-30.


Working youth over the age of seventeen are the ignored workers of 21st century America. To draw attention to this group of workers, the authors report a study of the work experiences of young (ages 18-25) community college students in Northern California--students who are predominantly working class, immigrant and people of color, and who have long histories of cycling back and forth between work and school. The authors describe the workplace demands and needs of these working students and call on educators, unionists, policy makers, community, and youth organizers to address and improve the conditions of all working youth.
KEY WORDS: Community Colleges; Young Adults; School to Work Transition; Work and Learning.

Taylor, A. (2005). "Re-culturing" students and selling futures: School-to-work policy in Ontario. Journal of Education and Work, 18(3), 321-340.


This article situates recent school-to-work transition policy in Ontario, Canada, within the historical context of secondary school reform in the past 50 years. This understanding informs our analysis of interviews with representatives from government, business, organised labour, education and partnership brokers. Data suggest tensions between the rhetoric of corporatism and the reality of a market model, the rhetoric of enhancing opportunities for all students and the reality of lower graduation rates associated with new curriculum. We argue that these tensions reflect historical and continuing struggles around education and training and the adoption of neo-liberal policy approaches that decrease rather than enhance opportunities for non-college-bound students.
KEY WORDS: School-Work Transition; Vocational Training; Ontario; Career.

Taylor, A. (2006). "Bright lights" and "twinkies": Career pathways in an education market. Journal of Education Policy, 21(1), 35-57.


This paper examines what happens to "vocational education" within an education market. We ask the question: how does the policy emphasis on competition and choice fit with the rhetoric of facilitating school-to-work transitions for all students? Findings from interviews with high school principals and representatives from the Edmonton Public School Board in Alberta, Canada confirm that policies which promote parental choice and partnerships with employers and post-secondary institutions create pressures on schools to attract high academic students (the "bright lights") while reducing their numbers of low achieving students. Differences across schools in student populations and programming reflect these influences. As a result, what is offered to low achieving students and those without concrete career plans ("twinkies") to facilitate their transitions is arguably less valuable than what is offered to high academic students. After examining the current situation, possibilities for the development of a high skill, high trust system is discussed.
KEY WORDS: Vocational Education; Urban Schools; Equal Education; School Choice; Competition; Educational Policy; Educational Change; Education Work Relationship; Partnerships in Education; Interviews; Foreign Countries.

Taylor, A. (2006). The challenges of partnership in school-to-work transition. Journal of Vocational Education and Training, 58(3), 319-336.


This paper explores the challenges of partnership via a study of a high school apprenticeship program in carpentry in Ontario, Canada. The study focuses on the relationships among schools, trainers, employers and government. The author identifies challenges relating to the ability to coordinate the program across institutions, achieve agreement on goals, gain commitment from employers and promote a culture of learning in the workplace. The article concludes that these areas need to be addressed more systematically by policy-makers and partners if such programs are to provide useful learning and development of young people.
KEY WORDS: School-to-Work Transition; Training; Apprenticeship; Policy; Lifelong Learning; Schooling; Program Evaluation.

Taylor, A., & Brigham, S. (2006). Growing health(y) workers: Reversing the education-jobs optic. Canadian Public Policy / Analyse de Politiques, 32(3), 259-274.


In contrast to policy-makers who tend to focus on high-school work-experience programs as one way of addressing labour shortages, this article looks past narrow supply-side concerns. The authors frame their investigation around a number of questions. For example, what evidence is there for shortages of skilled labour in different sectors? How are different groups responding to changes in education/training and work? And what kind of working conditions are newly credentialed graduates likely to encounter when they enter the labour force? The analysis suggests that factors affecting the supply of skilled labour go far beyond a lack of interest on the part of youth. To illustrate their analysis, the authors examine how work in health services has been impacted by government restructuring and increasing credential requirements. Negotiations between employers, professional associations, and different groups of employees over terms and conditions of work are occurring and the quality of work experienced by different groups of workers varies. In light of this evidence, the authors argue that career education programs should have broader goals, allowing young people to engage in learning about work, not just learning for work.
KEY WORDS: Labour Shortages; Labour Education; Skill; Training; High School.

Taylor, A., & Lehmann, W. (2002). Reinventing vocational education policy: Pitfalls and possibilities. Alberta Journal of Educational Research, 48(2), 139-161.


Examination of old and new vocational initiatives in Alberta suggests that educators and employers support new school-to-work programs (Tech Prep; Registered Apprenticeships; Careers, the Next Generation). However, these programs are hampered by mixed policy messages; the resilience of existing practices; and lack of provincial resources, research, attention to equity, and clarity in objectives.
KEY WORDS: Career Exploration; Education Work Relationship; Educational Change; Educational Objectives; Educational Policy; Equal Education; Foreign Countries; Higher Education; Secondary Education; Tech Prep; Track System (Education); Vocational Education; Work Experience Programs.

Tchibozo, G. (2002). Meta-functional criteria and school-to-work transition. Journal of Education and Work, 15(3), 337-350.

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Uses a microeconomic model to explain behavior of actors in school-to-work transition that proposes optimal strategies and explains causes of failure. Suggests that metafunctional criteria (personality, behavior, employment stability, productivity, adaptability, social involvement) are crucial factors in recruitment decisions.

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