Vocational Education For At-Risk Youth: How Can It Be Made More Effective?
Bishop, John H.
[Excerpt] Minority youth and non-minority youth from economically disadvantaged backgrounds have great difficulty finding steady jobs that provide real training and advancement opportunities. In October 1986, only 32 percent of black youth who had recently dropped out of high school had a job and only 42 percent of the previous June's graduates not attending college had a job. For Hispanics, only 46 percent of recent drop outs had a job and only 65 percent of graduates not attending college had a job. While the employment rates among white youth were higher (47 percent for drop outs and 71 percent for noncollege-bound graduates), it is clear the problem is not limited to minorities (BLS 1987). Would greater participation in vocational education on the part of these youth lower these extremely high unemployment rates and improve the quality of the jobs obtained? If so, what form should this education take? Should the goal of the occupational component of high school vocational education be occupationally specific skills, career awareness, basic skills or something else? What should be the relationship between programs providing occupationally specific training and the employers who hire their graduates?
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