OvierviewwOfWorkforceEdProgInUS MonographFall00 by 5Hq7fI1


									An Overview of Workforce Education
      Programs in The U.S.

 A Monograph Prepared by Students and Instructor in EVT 7267
Vocational-Technical Education Program Planning and Evaluation
                  University of South Florida
            Department of Leadership Development

                          Fall 2000

                                Table of Contents

Chapter 1 The Role of Work In Contemporary Society                3

Anthony Hill

Chapter 2 The United States Economy: Jobs vs. Workers             16

Judy Hudson

Chapter 3 Special Population Workforce Education Considerations   29
Daryla R. Bungo

Chapter 4 Career and Work Awareness in Elementary Education       37

Diane W. Culpepper

Chapter 5 Workforce Education in the Middle Grades                52

Kimberly Clemons

Chapter 6 Workforce Education At The High School Level            61

William Blank

Chapter 7 Career Preparation at The Post-Secondary Level          96
Tom Loveland

Chapter 8 Workforce Education In Alternative Settings             109

Jeanette Phipps

                                        Chapter 1

                  The Role of Work In Contemporary Society
                                       Anthony Hill

Before exploring trends in the U.S. job market and examining programs in schools aimed
at career development and preparation, we first need to examine the concept of work
itself. This chapter will explore the meaning of work in contemporary society and
examine how society‘s concepts of work have influenced workforce education in the U.S.
The linkages between community, family and the development of youth within this
contemporary society will also be explored. The meaning of work will be analyzed
through a historical context; what work has become over time including the family and
community as both relate to youth development in contemporary society.

                     The Puritan Work Ethic In Historical Perspective

The Puritan Work Ethic might have been just an ideal that never really existed. The
meaning of work in contemporary society must be framed in the correct perspective. The
first half of this chapter will take a brief historical look at the meaning of work in North
American culture. The second half will focus on work education, community, and family
involvement in youth development from several view points.

From the very first colonial settlement, American labor has been recruited from abroad,
from Great Britain, the European Continent, Africa, and in the nineteenth and twentieth
centuries from Asia and Latin America. The colonial era was the day of the
handcraftsman and the fieldhand. To protect and advance their economic well being,
white workers-both master and apprentice, mechanic, and common laborer-formed
temporary associations (Morris, 1976, p.1).

American society at the time of the Revolution was based upon farming, fishing,
maritime activities, and a sprinkling of small industries. Even as late as the last decade of
the 1700‘s America was a nation of farmers. The first census (1790) revealed that only
202,000 persons out of a population of 3,929,000 lived in towns of 2,500 or more
persons. Recruitment of labor force was essential to satisfy the needs of farmers and to a
lesser degree of the maritime trades, also the furnace and workshop industries and the
highly skilled crafts (Morris, 1976, p.8).

England was convinced that the homeland was overpopulated and the government
encouraged the emigration to America of the unemployed poor and ―vagrant‖ class and
also permitted skilled workers to go to the colonies. Free labor remained in short supply
throughout the colonial period. As a solution, the English settlers innovated several
forms of bound labor for white Europeans and adopted a long established coercive labor
system for Black Africans. One form of bound labor, indentured servitude, included all

persons bound to labor for periods of years as determined either by a written agreement
or by the custom of the respective colony. The bulk of indentured servants comprised
contract labor (Morris, 1976, p.11).

The laws of the colonies added another source to meet the large demand for labor.
Persons committing larceny, a felony punishable by death in the mother country, were
customarily sentenced in colonial courts to corporal punishment and multiple restitution.
If unable to make restitution, the prisoner was normally bound out to service by the
Court. A second substantial addition to the labor market came from the practice of the
courts, which penalized absentee or runaway servants by requiring them to serve as many
as ten days free labor for every day's unauthorized leave (Morris, 1976, p.13).

The debtor was an important source of bound labor in the American colonies. Unlike
England, the colonies considered imprisonment a waste of labor. Laws were enacted,
releasing the debtor from prison to serve the creditor for a period of time sufficient to
satisfy the debt (Morris, 1976, p.14).

The apprenticeship program inherited from England, had the twofold objective of
supplying the labor market and providing training in a trade. The apprenticing, or
binding out, could be "voluntary", by consent of parents or guardians, or involuntary,
where local officials did the binding out. According to the terms of apprenticeship, the
master was obliged to teach the "mysteries" of the trade to the apprentice, who promised
not to reveal the master's trade secrets. The common requirement of reading, writing, and
ciphering required the master to provide the apprentice with schooling for at least the first
three years. Under the emerging ethos of commercialism, masters preferred to send their
apprentices to evening schools to get a general education rather than assume that burden
themselves (Morris, 1976, p.p.14-15).

Bound laborers, White or Black, received no wages. Free laborers operated under a
system of wage payments as today. An alternative to wage payments was a piece-wage
system. Wage earners contracted for employment seasonally or annually. From the
beginning, labor was a seller's market. All contemporary authorities agree on the
relatively high wages prevailing in the colonies (Morris, 1976, p.17).

                                      Defining Work

The definition of work, as the literature indicates, is subjective within the historical
evolution and only some major trends can be mentioned and confined to historical
developments in Western countries (Keyser, Quate, Wiepert, & Quintanilla, 1988, p.4).
In ancient Greece the findings discredited the notion of everyday work--especially
physical work--which was perceived as a despicable chore mainly of slaves. Socially
accepted were only work activities undertaken for the sake of themselves, provided they
produce some lasting creation as a symbol of human achievement (Keyser, et al, 1988,

The Old Testament (Genesis 3:17-19), considers work as hardship imposed by God as a
punishment for man's original sin. The redeeming value of work is only of secondary
order through sharing the fruits of work with people in poverty and distress. It is through
this instrumental characteristic of working that it receives a positive facet in that it
contributes to induce God's blessing and benevolence (Keyser, et al, 1984, p.5)

The fundamental retributional character of work is upheld also in Christian traditions
where work is conceived as a bonung arduum--a "difficult good" in Thomas Aquinas'
teachings because of the challenge to transform and subjugate nature and thus enable
man's self-realization according to God's image (Genesis 1:26-27). St. Benedict's order
accepted work as a moral, that is an internalized obligation as opposed to an externally
induced necessity. This ascetic view is secularized in the guilds of the Middle Ages
where work is seen as a practical form of religious service. The Reformation emphasized
work as an obligation of duty of particular value owing to its contribution to God's
creation. Working was to build God's kingdom; working was good, hard working was
even better (Drenth, 1983, p. 9, Keyser, et al., 1984, p.5).

The emergence of manufacturing industries in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries
imposed new constructs and demands on the proletarian working classes because of the
need to organize on higher levels. External coercion, previously sufficient for control,
needed to be replaced increasingly by internalized secondary virtues such as
subordination, discipline, reliability, punctuality, and loyalty. The secularization of
traditional work gets a new boost with the growth of organized labor which supports a
new self-image of working man: work as a means to fulfill social and expressive needs
and thus contributing to the formation of a new identity (Keyser, et al, 1984, p.5). This
subjective interpretation redefinition of work is an unavoidable necessity into a source of
positive self-esteem which enables workers to rekindle intrinsic work motivations even
under poor working conditions according to Kearn and Schuman (1982).

Definitions and Concepts

As suggested earlier, defining work is a very difficult task because the term has been
subjected to many interpretations. The starting point for understanding work is to
understand how "work" is defined (Ransome, 1996, p.15). In defining work we consider
the term both in terms of its linguistic origins, and in terms of how it has been used to
distinguish between various categories of activities. Reference to the Oxford English
Dictionary suggests the following definition of "work":

       Something to be done, or something to do; occupation, business, task,
       function. Action involving effort or exertion directed to a definite end,
       especially as meanings or earning a livelihood, regular occupation or
       employment. (Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, 3rd Edition pp. 2448-9).

Instantly, certain criteria of the definition can be distinguished. (1) This definition of
work encompasses a number of alternative terms used to denote the performance of an
activity. (2) This activity is associated with the notion of payment or income. (3) The

basic assumption is made that this performance requires the discharge of physical and/or
mental energy. (4) There is the expectation that work is some way useful or expedient
(Ransome, 1996, pp.16-17).

Taking the four elements action, payment, exertion, and expedience, it will be useful to
disentangle the various shades of meaning between 'work' and the related terms 'labor,'
'craft', 'housework', and 'job' and 'occupation' which are commonly used to denote
working activity. Raymond Williams makes the argument that "work is the modern
English form of the noun WE ORC (Old English) and the verb WYRCAN, (Old English),
as our most general word for doing something and for something done (Williams, 1976,
pp.281-1). Work in this general sense can be distinguished from the term 'labor', which
implies arduousness or 'toil' in the literal sense of doing something laborious: "As a verb,
labor had a common sense of ploughing or working the land, but was also extended to
other kinds of manual work and to any kind of difficult effort. A laborer was primarily a
manual worker." The notion of 'toil' or painful work derives from the Greek terms ponos,
meaning pain, toil, trouble or distress, and eris meaning strife. Andre Gorz argues, the
notion of labor-as-toil can be associated with the "need for man to produce his means of
subsistence 'by the sweat of his brow.'" Thus labor can be defined as "work carried out in
order to ensure survival." Gorz also makes the distinction between the realm of
necessary activity and the activities of craftworkers:

       Until the eighteenth century the term "labour" referred to the toil of serfs
       and day-laboures who produced consumer goods or services necessary for
       life which had to be recommenced day after day without ever producing
       any lasting results. Craftworkers ...did not 'labour' they produced "works,"
       possibly using their "work" the "labour" of unskilled workers whose job it
       was to do menial tasks. Only day labourers were paid for their "labour".
       Craftworkers were paid for their "works" (Ransome, 1996, p.17).

In modern society, this notion of endlessly repeated labor or toil can be associated with
domestic or reproductive chores understood as activities which individuals undertake in
order to complete tasks of which they, or their families, are the sole beneficiaries
(Ransome, 1996, p.18).

Firth argues that 'work' denotes the 'expenditure of energy,' but assumes that this
expenditure does not give complete satisfaction itself--as recreation may be thought to
do--but is the pursuit of some further end! Thus, one may speak of the satisfactions to be
gained from work, but not so easily of satisfactions to be gained from labor (Firth, 1979,
pp.178-9). A further important extension of the term labor emerged as part of the
vocabulary of political economy during the nineteenth century, to encompass a more
abstract or general category of socially necessary labor. Williams suggests:

       Where labour in its most general sense, had meant all productive work, it
       now came to mean that element of production which combination with
       capital and materials produced commodities. (Ransome, 1996, p.18,
       Williams, 1976, p.146).

The emergence of the more recent terms 'job', 'occupation', 'employment', became part of
the dialog. The former originally denoted a particular or specific piece of work in the
sense of doing a 'job of work'. As Williams pointed out, the term has come to subsume
other terms related to former employment such as situation, position, post, and
appointment. What has happened is that a word formerly specifically reserved to limited
and occasional employment (and surviving in this sense, as a price for the job...) has
become the common word for regular and normal employment. The terms 'occupation'
and 'employment' can be regarded as alternatives for 'job', denoting formal and regular
paid work. Work has come to be defined as wage-work:

       Work has not always existed in the way in which it is currently
       understood. It came into being at the same time as capitalists and
       proletarians. It means an activity carried out for someone else; in return
       for a wage; and for a purpose not chosen by the worker according to Gorz
       (Ransome, 1996, p.20).

The recent expansion of formal service-sector employment to encompass activities
previously regarded as personal housework or unpaid domestic labor, clearly illustrates
the increasing use of cash-payment criterion for distinguishing work from non-work.
These activities may now be seen in terms of formal public employment rather than in
terms of informal private-housework. These developments clearly imply that changes in
the application of particular criterion, (in this case that being paid in cash for domestic
labor results in a renewed recognition of the usefulness and expediency of this type of
activity), can result in significant changes in both the perception of the activity itself, and
of the status of those who perform it. This suggests that changes in the definition of work
can occur without prior changes in the nature and substance of the activity itself; it is not
the activity itself which has changed but the perception that its worth and value justify
direct payment.

The payment criterion feeds two more characteristics to the concept of work in
contemporary society: (1) Since the early eighteenth century, work has become
associated with activities which are performed outside the home; work is public rather
than private activity. In his analysis of the emergence of capitalist economic systems,
Max Weber attaches great importance to this development as constituting a defining
characteristic of ―modern‖ or ―rational‖ capitalism. The modern rational organization of
the capitalistic enterprise would not have been possible without the separation of business
from the household, which completely dominates modern economic life (Weber, 1976,
pp.21-2, Ransome, 1996, p.21). (2) Another characteristic of the contemporary definition
of work is that within the public sphere, further distinctions are made between formal
work in the ―official economy‖ and informal work in the unofficial or ―black-market
economy.‖ The formal economy encompasses activities carried out under an agreed
contractual arrangement, in a particular time and place, and which are ―declared‖ for the
purposes of taxation. The informal economy encompasses activities, which are
performed without such arrangements, and are not declared (Ransome, 1996, p. 23).

The meaning of work has historical meaning as well as modern meaning in our
contemporary society. The discussion of work in contemporary society must be framed
in the correct perspective. This perspective requires an historical overview before we can
proceed. The focus will now shift to the meanings of work in today's contemporary

                                  Contemporary Society

Post Industrial Work

Scholars have pointed to the consensual dimensions of the work paradigm, and to the fact
that continued participation in the mechanisms of employment in part depends on
whether people believe that this participation will provide them with an opportunity to
pursue their economic interests. For the majority, these interests can be understood in
terms simply of the need to provide themselves and their dependents with the necessities
of life. Ransome argues that the present crisis in the concept of work is closely
associated with fundamental deficiencies within the concept of work itself. The inability
of the contemporary concept of work to respond adequately to changes in the practice of
work has highlighted these deficiencies, exposing it to level of scrutiny. Ransome further
suggests that these inadequacies have only instigated a crisis in the present concept of
work, but are seriously inhibiting the emergence of a reformulated perspective of work; a
perspective which could respond more fully to evident and widespread changes in the
practice of work (Ransome, 1996, pp.175-76).

The definition of work in contemporary society derives from a number of basic criteria.
Work is defined as predominantly public mental and or physical activities, which are seen
to be economically expedient, carried out in return for monetary payment. Within
capitalism, the criterion of financial payment has become the most often used means of
distinguishing between work and non-work activities; for all practical purposes in
contemporary capitalist society, work is paid work. It has also been argued that the
criteria of the economic definition of work have become dominant, this dominance may
not necessarily imply that the criteria upon which it is based are inherently more
appropriate or expedient than other criteria. Rather, this dominance relates to the
prevailing use of a particular set of terms of reference, which give priority to particular
criteria. In broad terms, it can be distinguished between terms of reference, which give
priority to systemic requirements, that is, to sustaining a particular historical
manifestation of the means of production with the reference focusing on the satisfaction
of individual human needs. It is also suggested that practical application or
operationalization of criteria of work depends upon the active shared consent of the
population. For a particular criterion to be effective, people have to be willing to abide
by it and to live with its consequences. This consent is expressed both in practical terms-
-it governs our day-to-day working activity--and in conceptual terms in as much as we
assume that other people are acting in a similar way for similar reasons. Criteria of work
then, are social phenomena, which derive their usefulness through practical application in
a shared social context (Ransome, 1996, pp. 176-77).

If we begin with the (universal) principle that work is simply a manifestation of the basic
human need for expression through action, it can be argued that key aspects of the
contemporary criteria of work are arbitrary, because they impose an artificial distinction
between one type of activity and another. According to economic terms of reference,
activities which are described as work tend to be seen as distinct and separate from
general human activity. This approach fragments and separates one category of activity
from another, purely on the basis of whether or not these activities are public, expedient,
and financially rewarded. Work-as-paid work is therefore an aspect of work in the
economic sense, and work as a whole is an aspect of activity in general.

This fragmentation has several important consequences for society: (1) The intrinsic
aspects of activity tend to be subjugated by the extrinsic, resulting in a profound
devaluation of the notion of human agency itself. It is argued by some scholars because
the intrinsic qualities of work are devalued, individuals are coerced by a complex
mechanism of ―incentive regulators‖ (understood in terms of money, security, prestige
and/or power attached to the various functions), and prescriptive regulators (which force
individuals, on pain of certain penalties) to adopt functional forms of conduct, which only
offer compensations outside work for the constraints, frustrations and suffering inherent
in functional labor it seeks. (2) Because of the priority given to extrinsic utility and the
payment criterion, all activities tend to be evaluated in terms of the criterion of extrinsic
evaluation. The perceived value and worth of economic expediency becomes the
dominant means of assessing the worth and value of all activities irrespective of whether
those activities are categorized as work (Ransome, 1996, pp.178-79).

Contemporary Economy

To generalize, advanced countries now manage agriculture with less than one-tenth of the
post-second world war labor requirements or about three to five percent of the workforce.
Manufacturing employment has been similarly downsized to less than half that of 30
years ago, despite expansion of output. The importance is placed on the compensating
effect of the move to services, which in some economies now absorb up to 75 percent of
workers. The services sector is said to be robust. The star performers may be health
services, where explosive expansion is taking place. In the United States this sector now
averages about eight percent of total employment. Evidence suggests that between 1987
and 1991, corporations are estimated to have shed 2.4 million jobs, whereas enterprises
employing fewer than 20 workers picked up 4.4 million. Most of the increases are said to
have been in low-paying industries such as services and retailing (Kelly, 2000, pp.5-32).

Employers‘ demands for employees‘ time on the job show no clear overall trends. In
North America, skilled technical workers and those described by Robert Reich as
"symbolic analysts" have been working longer than in earlier years and are considered to
be under serious pressure. Pleas to expand elite education are partly based on the
proposition that suitable recruits are necessary to spread the load (Kelly, 2000, pp.5-32).

The average working week in the United States and other advanced countries is now
about half as long as it was before the twentieth century. In all "advanced" societies,
concepts such as the family wage and the 40-hour week, which once seemed to be
engraved in stone, have been swept unceremoniously away. In the U.S. it is estimated
that a working woman with a family may expect a total workload of not less than 80
hours weekly. Workers‘ psychological pressures are mounting. It is suggested that in
1996, 46 percent of workers in large American firms feared being laid off. This was
twice the 1991 level--despite five years of expansion and a significantly lower
unemployment rate. The psychological problems are that workers in this situation feel
"their lives are buffeted by forces over which they have virtually no control" (Kelly,
2000, pp.5-32).

The labor force everywhere is exposed to work fatigue that is deeper than and different
from physical or nervous exhaustion. Notions of work as fulfillment, as the expansion of
individuality, as an enjoyable alternative to idleness, are retreating before the remorseless
instrumentalism of global competition and rationalist ideology. Hyper-competition exacts
hyper-work and may bring hyper-profits, but the price cannot be ignored. Inferior
performance through stress is the least of the hazards involved; disillusionment and
alienation are more fundamental, and there may be no cure. The reorganization of work
in the late twentieth century capitalist societies is forcing an increasingly large proportion
of people to seek the means for their survival through types of disorganized, insecure,
risky, casualized, and poor work. Even if the work available to those people may be
frequently or mostly performed under pressure, they are essentially under committed.
"…The realities of social exclusion, psychological deprivation, and economic waste are
pretty much swept under the carpet." Alan Greenspan has suggested that such realities
could become a major threat. Even more than those who are overworked, the under
worked have reason for alienation.‖ (Kelly, 2000, pp.5-32).

According to Kinchloe the modernist mind-set that separates the humanistic and the
economic realms embraces a profit-maximizing framework, which excludes social values
from the conversation about work. Classical laissez-faire economics theory adopts this
framework as it excludes conceptions of humans as meaning makers, as beings who can
substitute regressive policies with life affirming ones. The new factory work
arrangements undermined creativity, self-expression, connection with the completed
product and satisfaction with accomplishment, work grew to become a hated activity--
work as ―toil and trouble‖. Workers were reduced to "putting in time" and labor turnover
increased so much that by the early twentieth century rates of many industries often
exceeded the total number of employees. In the industrial workplace, management's
control has been maintained by portraying the error and inadequacy of the rank and file.
In recent debates about falling American productivity, business and industry leaders
along with their rightwing allies have identified worker incompetence as the central
problem (Kinchloe, 1999, pp.6-7). Viewing workers as human fragments, as ―homo
economicus‖, as incompetent production units, managers framed workers as the objects
of social engineering and rationalist planning (Kinchloe, 1999, p.7).

The social pathology of worker degradation in modernist culture finds expression at a
variety of human levels. The health problems of low status workers do not receive as
much concern as those of managers and professionals. Kinchloe suggests another
pathology involves the cultivation of self-hatred among low status workers. According to
Kinchloe the future holds little promise if economists, labor union leaders, managers and
educators fail to address the fragmentation of regressive modernism. Kinchloe offers five
fragmented areas in contemporary society that need attention. (1) fragmented social
relations--the separation of managers from workers in relation to power, status, and
access to knowledge; (2) fragmented work--workers have little input into production
decisions; (3) fragmented job skills; (4) fragmented human lives--workers are viewed as
producers of products and not as sacred beings intrinsically valued; and (5) fragmented
reality--the economic world and the world of nature seen as separated and unrelated.
Kinchloe argues that if workers are to be valued--seen as an asset--these issues of
fragmentation must be addressed. The workplace must embrace democratic values if
work is to be redefined from just putting in time.

                                    Work And Family

Issues Facing the Family

Employment for women is increasing dramatically among women with children.
Occupational sex segregation has also declined. The mean earnings ratio between men
and women has improved from .65 in 1975 to .79 by 1992. Parcel, et al (1999) argue that
society has accepted a greater variety of roles for women over the last 20 years, thus
necessitating that women manage both paid and unpaid work. They note that women still
perform the majority of housework, are increasingly relying on child care arrangements
outside of their homes, and are adopting various strategies to manage obligations
including postponing childbearing, having smaller families, working part-time, or
attempting to work in occupations that are conducive to caring for families (Parcel, et al,
1999, pp. 264-74).

Family and Youth Development

Youth development is the term used to refer to the theory that all youths need to be
provided with opportunities and supports throughout their adolescent and early adult
years. The aim of youth development practice is to help youths become confident,
competent adults. The focus is to help youth prepare for adulthood. Through the youth
development lens, youths are viewed as part of a family and a community and are
encouraged to take an active role in shaping and building their family and their
community (Batavick, 1997, pp.13-14).

On an individual level, this means appreciating youths for their assets rather than treating
their deficits. On a systems level, programs are incorporating youths' input by building
youth-adult partnerships, placing youths on boards of directors, helping youths develop
their own projects, and encouraging youth service work. Valuing youths has become

more important than simply caring for them; it means viewing the youths as the work
force and the community builders of the present and of the future (Batavick, 1997, pp.13-

Positive Youth Development

Positive youth development is a value perspective as well as a set of concrete actions. It
recognizes the inherent value of youths and seeks to draw on youths' strengths and build
on youths' competences. Doing so not only helps youths build a positive self-image and
critical skills, but also enables the entire community to benefit from the ideas, talents, and
energy that youths have to offer. The youth development perspective recognizes that the
transition from childhood into adulthood represents a challenging yet exciting time, and
believes that adults should provide supports and opportunities for youths that facilitate
this transition (Batavick, 1997, pp.6-7).

Whiting argues a supportive atmosphere that will nurture youth development. He
believes that the increase in mobility and resulting social isolation of our generation has
caused much damage to the nurturing environment. Whiting suggests 2.1 million
children are "latchkey children" and it is estimated that typical children ages 6 to 12
spend 42per cent of their time in unstructured, unsupervised activities. Whiting
challenges the nation to provide more children and youths with opportunities to explore
the self and the environment, to experiment with diverse roles, to be physically active, to
participate in activities that are interesting and fun, to have formal and informal
interactions with peers, to be provided with limits and supervision, and to be able to
reflect on and integrate their learning experiences (Batavick, 1997, p.7).

Littell and Wynn studied the resources available in a poor, densely populated urban
neighborhood and a middle-class suburban neighborhood and found a disparity in the
range of options available. The suburban neighborhood offered more sports and special
interest classes (dance, art, etc.) to choose from, while the urban neighborhood had
prevention programs (pregnancy, violence, gang involvement) that had no parallels in the
suburban neighborhood. A greater variety of resources for youths ensures that they are
more likely to find an area in which they excel and helps them build the competency that
is central to overall healthy development. Youth development programs encourage
competency development through youth-adult partnerships, enabling youths to plan
artistic or community-organization projects and creating opportunities for youths to care
for younger or elderly persons in their community. The programs also award and nurture
youth leaders, recognize youths' strengths, encourage independent decision making, and
create opportunities for youths to belong to a valued group.

Youth development theory focuses on how the environment affects youth development,
such as the impact of the youth's family and neighborhood on differences in
developmental pathways, expectations of the youth's role within their culture and
community, and the way that youths see themselves. Disadvantaged African American
youths often assume adult responsibilities (caring for siblings, contributing to family
income, parenthood) sooner than those in other cultural groups, yet few programs

acknowledge this difference. Youths in low-income neighborhoods have little exposure
to upwardly mobile adults who could serve as role models (Batavick, 1997, pp.7-8).

Involvement and Empowerment of Youth

Involving youths in planning and decision-making is central to the youth development
movement. Youths cannot be seen as passive participants who will suddenly be self-
sufficient, productive adults when they reach a certain age. They must be involved all
along so they can contribute their talents and develop their skills. Many programs are
allowing youths to do this by becoming board members of youth-serving agencies,
joining youth service corps, and being awarded grants to develop community outreach
projects. Youth workers and community members who want to encourage the
participation of youths must act more as community organizers than service providers.
The goal is a collaborative program that involves families, youths; both parents and
youths can work together in planning and organizing programs and community activities.


This chapter explored the meaning of work in a historical broad view. This chapter is the
starting point for a look at workforce education and development programs in
contemporary society. This chapter traced the evolution of work from colonial times to
contemporary modern times. Work is seen not for its intrinsic values, but extrinsic
values, the economic rewards. Work has been reduced to putting in time for the
economic rewards--not self-fulfillment. Persons are not expected to gain self-fulfillment
from work; the only gains are economic. Work must be reorganized and redefined if
people are to have real value in their work lives. Work needs another paradigm shift
were work will be seen as a self-fulfilling venture. Employees become empowered;
sharing in inputs, decision making, the arrangement of work follows a true partnership
between the core and management.

Unions and schools will need to redefine their roles in this paradigm shift. They will
need to think in strategic terms, they will need to become visionaries, to think in future
terms. Working America cannot continue much longer under the arrangement we now
have of just putting in time for pay. The new arrangement requires real vision, vision just
beyond profit, a vision of a workplace where each worker is important as a person.
Vision that supports people and core values of equity, social justice, fairness, and caring
become the operating paradigm. With these core values in place of capitalism and profit,
work can become what should be the feeling of self-reward, high self-esteem, and
intrinsic values from work itself. Managers need to see the linkage between these core
values. The linkage is by embracing these core values you will see performance
increases as well as profit increases. This is the linkage the unions and schools must help
managers and policy makers to see. That linkage of core values of equity, social justice,
empowerment, fair play will equal performance and profit.


     Batavick, L. (1977). Community-based family support and youth development:
Two movements, one philosophy. Child Welfare, V76N5.

      Kelly, G.M. (2000). Employment and concepts of work in the new global
economy. International Labour Review, 139(1), 178-200.

       Keyser, V., Quate, T., Wiepert, B., & Quintanilla, S. (1988). The meaning of
work and technological options. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

       Kinchloe, J. L. (1995, 1997). Toil and Trouble. New York: Peter Lang.

       Morris, R.B. (Eds.). (1983). A history of the American worker. New Jersey:
Princeton University Press.

      Parcel, T.L. (1999). Work and family in the 21st century. Work and
Occupations, 26(2), 264-274.

       Ransome, P. (1996). The Work Paradigm. Brookfield: Avebury.

                                  About The Author

Anthony G. Hill is a graduate of Florida State University's Undergraduate and Graduate
School of Social Sciences. He has a B.S. in political science and an M.S. in social
sciences. He is currently employed at the national level as a public servant with the
Social Security Administration as a Social Insurance Specialist. He is pursuing an
advanced degree at the University of South Florida in Vocational Education.

                                         Chapter 2

                   The United States Economy: Jobs vs. Workers

                                      Judy Hudson

Before a description of workforce education programming is presented, we next examine
the U.S. economy focusing particularly on employment trends. According to the
Secretary of Labor, since 1983 the United States has enjoyed two long periods of
sustained economic growth, interrupted by a single and relatively mild recession. The
current economic expansion has lasted longer than any other period since World War II;
but growth in our economy, the labor force, and employment has been uneven (Herman,
1999). A brief historical recounting of these three economic elements as presented by
Ronald Kutscher in the Monthly Labor Review (November, 1993) over the past half
century will be summarized. A condensed version of the projections for future trends on
these elements as supplied by the U.S. Secretary of Labor follow, concluding with a
discussion of the interaction of skills in the labor market that lies ahead.

                                      Labor Force

Over the 1950-80 period, those working or seeking work expanded by more than 44
million persons, or by almost 72per cent. Over half the expansion occurred in the 1970‘s
when the labor force increased by more than 24 million. This 30-year period included
several labor force developments, the most important being the impact of the entry of the
baby-boom generation in the labor market. Baby boomers, those born between 1946 and
1964, began entering the labor force in the 1960‘s. As a result, by the late 1970‘s, the
labor force was growing by more than 3 million annually (Kutscher, 1993).

Labor force growth slowed from 1980 to 1990, expanding only 17per cent during the
decade compared to a 30per cent increase the previous decade, since most baby boomers
that were going to enter the labor force had already done so. The next group born
between 1965 and 1979, called the baby-bust generation, began entering the work force
in the late 1970‘s. While their entry signaled a considerable decrease in labor force
growth, it still added up to a significant expansion (Kutscher, 1993).

                                h U a o oc
                               T e . .Lb rF r e
                                 15          90
                                            16         17
                                                        90         90
                                                                  18           90

      ub x, 0
       e    0
     Nm r( 1 0 )                2 8
                               6, 0        6, 2
                                            9 8
                                             6         2 1
                                                      8, 7      16 4
                                                                 0, 0
                                                                  9        2, 7
                                                                           14 8

      ec n i rbt n
            s     i
     Pr e td t i uo
              Mne                  0
                                  7.4         6
                                             6.6        6.
                                                         19         7
                                                                   5.5         4
                o n
              W em                2.
                                   96         3
                                             3.4        3.
                                                         81         2
                                                                   4.5         5

                Wti                       Dt nt
                                           aa o                    8.
                                                                    19         8
                 i rt *
                M oi y                     vi b
                                          aa a l
                                            l e                    1.
                                                                    81        2.

                 I c d s lak , is a ic , s n , n o r
                *nlu e B c s H p n s Aia s a d t es
Source:        Current Population Survey, a monthly survey of households conducted for
the Bureau of Labor Statistics by the Bureau of the Census.

Another labor force development was the increase in the number of women entering the
labor force over the 1950-80 span. In 1950, women represented less than 30per cent of
the work force; by 1980, their share was more than 42per cent of U.S. jobs. Women‘s
labor force participation rate increased from 34per cent in 1950 to 52per cent by 1980
with growth continuing throughout the 1980‘s. Yet, another development was the
convergence of labor force participation rates for white women and black women. In
previous decades, the labor force participation rates were lower for white women than for
black women; however, by the end of the 1980‘s, the rates for white women increased
more rapidly. Rates for Hispanic women have been consistently lower than rates of
white or black women (Kutscher, 1993).

Men‘s labor force participation rates have experienced a gradual, long-term decline over
the three decades of 1950-80, falling from 86.4per cent in 1950 to 77.4per cent in 1980.
This decline was evident in all age groups, but it was more prevalent in the over 55-age
category. While some men in the over 55-age group were seeking early retirement,
others fell victim to industrial restructuring and were unable to find satisfactory
employment. The rates for black men and white men have diverged over time, with
black men declining more rapidly. Some of the contributing factors include the changing
educational preparation required for many jobs and the gap in educational preparation
among the race and ethnic groups. Factory jobs, where black men are heavily
concentrated, have experienced a faster decline than other jobs in the past few decades. It
is important to note, however, that from 1950 to 1980 labor force participation declined
among all older men with lower educational attainment, both minority and majority
(Kutscher, 1993).

Teens have experienced considerable fluctuation in labor force participation over the past
half century; this may be the result of youth staying in school longer, working part time
while still attending school, and the instability of part-time employment due to sensitivity
towards cyclical economic climates. One significant youth labor force development over
the past two decades has been an increase in the minority share of the work force. In
1980, minorities composed 18per cent of the youth labor force while today it exceeds
25per cent. Black teen labor force participation growth has averaged about 1per cent per
decade; Asians, Hispanics, and other minorities have experienced even faster expansion

in the young labor force participation. This growth is the result of increased immigration
rates across Asian and Hispanic ethnic groups and higher birth rates among the Hispanics
compared to other ethnic/cultural groups (Kutscher, 1993).

                                      Economic Trends

Analysts of the United States economy‘s long-term economic trends have divided their
data into pre-1973 and post-1973 eras for unknown reasons, although 1973 represents the
pivot point in a change of trends in the growth rate for both productivity and gross
domestic product (GDP). The 1950-1973 period enjoyed annual growth rates of 3.7per
cent for GDP and 2.8per cent for labor productivity in the business sector. The post-1973
annual rates were 2.2per cent and 0.9per cent, respectively, clearly affected by the
recessions of 1980-82 and 1990-91. As mentioned earlier, the economy was spurred by
the labor growth rate of the baby boomers and women entering the workforce; the post-
1973 labor and productivity rates reflect the smaller group of baby busters. The labor
force slowdown of the 1980‘s was offset by only a slight gain in the productivity growth
rate. While the 1980-90 growth rate was improved over 1973-80, it was considerably
slower than the 1950-73 period (Kutscher, 1993).

                                  Gross Domestic Product
                                              1950         1960    1970    1980     1990

Total, billions of 1987 dollars               1,419       1,971    2,874   3,776    4,897
Percent distribution
  Personal C  onsumption                       61.5        61.4     63.1    64.8     66.8
             Durables                           6.7         5.9      6.4     7.0      9.0
             Nondurables                       28.2        26.7     25.0    22.8     21.7
             Services                          26.7        28.8     31.8    35.0     36.1
  Gross private dom. investment                18.1        14.8     15.0    15.7     15.2
            Nonresidential structure            3.8         4.1      4.3     4.5      3.7
            Producer durable equipment          5.5         4.7      5.9     7.1      7.5
            Residential structures              7.1         5.6      4.6     4.4      4.0
  N exports                                     0.2         -0.4    -1.2     0.8     -1.1
          Exports                               3.7          4.5     5.6     8.5     10.4
          Imports                              -3.5         -4.9    -6.8    -7.7    -11.5
  Government                                   20.0         24.1    23.1    18.6     19.0
          Federal government                   10.2         13.1    11.0     7.5      7.5
            Federal defense                            ata
                                                      D not                  5.1      5.2
            Federal nondefense                        available              2.4      2.2
          State and local govt.                 9.8         11.0    12.2    11.1     11.5
S        .S epartm of C m
 ource: U . D     ent  om erce, Bureau of E     ic nalysis.
                                           conom A

The rate of growth in GDP and employment are interrelated. The changes in consumer
demand is driven by employment rates; during high employment, domestic consumption
is high driving up the GDP figures. Personal expenditures have increased dramatically
since1950, indicating both a growth in personal income and a decline in the personal
savings rate. Since 1973, shifts in the demand side of our economy from a globalization
perspective result from stagnant exporting coupled with a 67per cent increase in imports,
fluctuating exchange rates, and the growth of services as a component of foreign trade.

Other demand shifts involving domestic trends which include a long-term decline in
residential structures, increasing consumption of producer-durable equipment such as
computers (both personal and businesses), and changing defense purchases which
vacillate depending on the prevailing climate of peace or conflict (Kutscher, 1993).


In 1950, non-farm wage and salary employment was 45.2 million. By 1980, it had
doubled to 90.4 million. Growth over the three decades, however, was uneven. For
example, the 1960‘s experienced a large percentage increase while the 1970‘s
experienced a numerical growth despite a smaller percentage. Non-farm wage and salary
employment was nearly 20 million higher in 1990 than in 1980 even though a recession
was soon to follow. From 1981 to 1982, employment actually dropped as the recession
reached its trough. The economy recovered in 1983 and employment growth accelerated
into an upward movement for several years. In 1991, job losses were again experienced
followed by two years of sluggish growth. Employment in the United States in 1996 was
27per cent greater than in 1980. The overall change in employment numbers does not
give the internal picture, however; major shifts in the structure of employment have

                     o - r W a d a y ml m
                       f    g     a     o n
                    Nn am a e n Sl r E p y e t
                                         15        90
                                                  16        17
                                                            90          90
                                                                       18          90
 oa n h u a d
Tt l i t osns                            4, 9
                                          5 7
                                           1      4 9
                                                 5, 8       7, 8
                                                             0 0
                                                              8        0 6
                                                                      9, 0       0, 9
                                                                                19 1
 e c n i rb to
Pr e td t i ui n                           0
                                          10       10
                                                    0          0
                                                              10         0
                                                                        10          0
            i n
          Mi g                             2.0      1.3        0.9      1.1        0 .6
           o sr ci n
          Cn t uto                         5.2      5.4        5.1      4.9        4 .1
            a uat rn
          Mn f cui g                       3
                                          3. 7      1
                                                   3. 0       2.
                                                               7 3      2
                                                                        2.4         6
                                                                                   1. 6
           r n p r ai n o mn
          Ta s ot to ,c m u i -            8.9      7.4        6.4      5.6        5 .3
             cto & u l ui.
            i ai n p bc tl
            h ea rd
             o    e
          W l sl t ae                      5.8      5.8        5.7      5.9        5 .6
           ea r d
          Rt i t a e                      1.
                                           4 9      5
                                                   1. 2       1.
                                                               5 6      6
                                                                        1.6         7
                                                                                   1. 9
           i ne n . r a s.
          F a c ,i s & e le t              4.2      4.8        5.1      5.7        6 .1
           ev sc
          Sr i e                          1.
                                           1 8      3
                                                   1. 6       1.
                                                               6 2      9
                                                                        1.7         5
                                                                                   2. 5
           oe n e t
          Gv r mn                          3
                                          1. 3      5
                                                   1. 4       1.
                                                               7 7       18         6
                                                                                   1. 7

Source:       Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics program

Manufacturing claimed nearly 34per cent of the job market in 1950, but by 1980 it
constituted slightly more than 22per cent of the U.S. employment opportunities. As it
continues to decline, manufacturing today represents slightly more than 15per cent of
total jobs in our country. Mining peaked in the 1980‘s but has fallen to an all time low
due to the decline in coal mining and sharp drops in oil and gas well drilling and
exploration. The service industry, specifically health and business services, has more
than compensated for the loss of manufacturing and mining jobs. Between 1980 and
1990 alone, the service industry accounted for more than 11 million new jobs, expanding
over 60per cent. Temporary help, a division of business services, was very small in the
1970‘s but added more than one million new jobs between 1980 and 1990. Government
employment has declined since 1980 with growth shown primarily at the local level.

Retail trade employment has increased considerably while transportation,
communication, and public utilities have declined. Agricultural employment decreased
drastically from 1950 to1970; while it is still in a downward trend, the declines annually
are modest compared to the sharp job losses at the mid-century mark (Kutscher, 1993).

                    c pt nl t c e f mom
                     c  i   r u      l n
                    O uaoaSut r oE p y e t
                                    15          90
                                               16         17
                                                           90         90
                                                                     18          90

  o i pr et
  Tt l(n ecn )                       0
                                    10         10
                                                0          0
                                                          10          0
                                                                     10          0
           a gr
          M aes                     8 .
                                      9        9 4
                                                 .        1.
                                                           03         1
                                                                     1.4         2
           r es a
            o   o s
          P f si nl                 1.
                                     08         1
                                               1.5         1
                                                          1.9        1.
                                                                      27         3
           ehi as
          Tcn i n                   2 .
                                      3        2 5
                                                 .        2 9
                                                            .        3 0
                                                                       .        3 3
          Sl s                      1.
                                     04         0
                                               1.7        1.
                                                           09         1
                                                                     1.8         2
           l ia
          Crcl                       6
                                    1.0         6
                                               1.2        1.
                                                           68         6
                                                                     1.2        1.
           ev c
          Sr i e                     3
                                    1.2        1.
                                                35        1.
                                                           32         3
                                                                     1.5         3
           r t
          Cfa                       1.
                                     26         2
                                               1.3        1.
                                                           24         2
                                                                     1.4         1
           pa n
            e i
          O r tos                   2.
                                     12        1.
                                                94         8
                                                          1.2        1.
                                                                      57         5
          Fr                        4 7
                                      .        4 4
                                                 .        3 7
                                                            .        3 3
                                                                       .        2 9
Source:        Current Population Survey, a monthly survey of households conducted for
the Bureau of Labor Statistics by the Bureau of the Census.

Several employment trends have emerged in the past three decades. Technicians,
managers, and professionals represent over 30per cent of American employees today
while barely accounting for 20per cent of the labor market in 1970. On the other hand,
clerical workers constituted a considerably larger share of the labor market in 1970 but as
a result of office automation have declined.

Occupational groups with an increasing share of employment generally require some
post-secondary education. Most occupations with declining market shares are ones that
do not require education beyond high school. However, one exception to this trend is the
service worker occupational group. Its share has increased continuously while still not
requiring workers to have post-secondary education (Herman, 1999).

One dimension underlying the growth trend after 1993 has been the level of educational
attainment within newly created jobs. From 1980 to 1996, there was an annual rise of
2.6per cent in economic sectors with high educational attainment; that is, where 30per
cent or more workers have college degrees. The annual rise of sectors with lower levels
of educational attainment was only 0.9per cent. The tendency to increase employment in
industries requiring higher educational attainment levels was 40.6per cent in 1990 and
rose to 47.4per cent by 1996 (BLS, 2000).

Unemployment figures for various educational attainment levels reaffirm this finding. As
of July, 2000, the unemployment rates of those with less than a high school diploma
averaged 6.4per cent, high school graduates averaged 3.3per cent, less than a bachelor‘s
degree averaged 2.8per cent, and college graduates only had 1.7per cent average
unemployment (BLS, 2000).

                         Influences On the Future Labor Market

Projecting future labor supply and demand is tenuous due to obvious uncertainties.
People who will enter the labor market in the next decade are already born which
removes one uncertainty, but predicting what future labor force participation rates will be
is nearly impossible. For example, younger women and older men are two labor groups
that have experienced a recent reduction in participation. Is this temporary, or will these
groups continue to decline? If this trend is permanent, it will have a major impact on
future labor supply projections. Economist Howard Fullerton (1997) projected that the
labor force would increase by 15 million over the ten-year period of 1996-2006, reaching
149 million in 2006. This 11per cent increase is less than the 14per cent increase over the
previous ten-year period when the labor force grew by 16 million.

Another uncertainty is the induction of foreign labor into our domestic labor market. The
end of the Cold War coupled with the signing of the North American Free Trade
Agreement has not only affected several industries, but immigration patterns as well. It is
impossible to predict how many immigrants will enter the labor force or what immigrant
labor market participation rate will be in years to come, though recent trends show a rapid
increase in of Hispanic and Asian immigrants. The Asian immigrant group is projected
to increase most rapidly, but the Hispanic labor force is projected to be larger than the
black labor force by 2006 because of faster population growth. Not only do factors in the
United States‘ labor market affect this trend, but also economic and political trends in
other countries influence the immigration rate, too, over which we have little or no
control (Herman, 1999).

The youth labor force--ages 16 to 24--is expected to grow more rapidly than the overall
labor force for the first time in 25 years (Fullerton, 1997). At the same time, the number
of people in the labor market between the ages of 25 and 44 are projected to decrease as
the baby-boom generation continues to age. Overall, women will still increase in labor
force participation when compared to men, but at a much slower rate than in the past.
The labor force growth will be affected by the aging of the baby-boom generation
(Dohm, 2000).

The economy is projected to continue generating jobs for workers at all levels of
education and training, although average growth is projected to be greater for detailed
occupations requiring at least an associate‘s degree than for occupations requiring less
training. An overall slower growth of civilian household employment, from 1.3per cent a
year for the decade ending 1998 to 1.1per cent through 2008 still nets an increase of
almost 16 million employees. This figure is comparable to the increase experienced
between 1988 to 1998. Unemployment is expected to stay relatively constant at less than
5per cent over the next decade, indicating a continued tight labor market (BLS, 2000).

With the unemployment rate at a 30-year low and employment continuing to expand at a
robust pace, economists and policy makers are watching labor statistics for signs of
tightness in the labor market. Many economists are concerned that the demand for labor
will outstrip the supply leading to an increase in wages that may encourage inflation
according to the United States Department of Labor (June, 2000). Wage gains need to

remain moderate during strong employment growth periods, low unemployment, and a
dwindling supply of potential workers if inflation is to remain in check.

                          Influences On Future Economic Trends

Productivity growth is the single most important determining factor of long-term GDP
growth. Historically, the United States has experienced several periods of different
productivity growth rates without cyclical or predictive capabilities. Will we see a
productivity boon like that in the 1960‘s and 1970‘s or a bust such as that in the 1980‘s?
Determinants such as defense spending, foreign trade, national health care provisions,
and the trend to save less--all of which are uncertainties will play a role in our future

Over the next several years, dramatic growth will be reflected through increased
globalization of the economy. Therefore, the foreign trade sector is expected to be the
fastest growing component of real GDP. Exports and imports are projected to grow at
three times the rate of GDP growth. By 2006, it is estimated that they will each approach
20per cent of GDP. Gross private domestic investment (savings) is expected to take a
more substantial position in our economy, increasing at a rate nearly twice as fast as the
GDP. Behind the growth of foreign trade and private investment will be commerce in
high technology and computer-related products (Boustead, 1997).

On the other hand, while foreign trade and private investment are expected to grow, a
decline in expenditures are expected by the Federal Government. Defense spending is
expected to decline 3per cent and governmental non-defense spending is expected to
decline 1per cent by the end of this decade. Federal expenditures will be squelched in an
effort to control the Federal deficit as a result in the expected growth of transfer payments
(Boustead, 1997).

                             Influences On Future Employment

Many factors, which affect projections of the labor force and the economy, such as
immigration and health care costs, have implications for employment. But there are other
factors that are even more employment specific. For example, despite the current times
of high employment, we still have not fully recovered from the recession of the early
1990‘s. Manufacturing, construction, and the downsizing of our military are only a few
of the areas that still have not rebounded fully from a decade ago. An additional and very
pertinent employment-specific factor left over from the recession of 1990-91 is the major
swing from full-time to part-time and temporary help.

Another dimension in future employment trends is the structuring of job types. Jobs
available now and those projected for the future are of major consequence to future
jobseekers, new entrants to the job market who have just completed formal education or
training, and for jobseekers dislocated as a result of job restructuring. It is often difficult
for analysts to differentiate between short-term cyclical movements of employment by an

industry or new long-term occupational trends just beginning. Some occupations,
however, are emerging due to changes in technology, consumer markets, society, and/or
governmental regulations (Herman, 1999).

Emerging occupations are usually found in growing or changing industries. For example,
the fast growing service industry has reported two emerging positions of resettlement
coordinator (social services) and bus aide (educational services). The changing office
environment has downsized the employment of secretaries, but administrative assistants
are being reported as new occupations by many industries. The convention manager
position has emerged as a new field in membership organizations. Technological change
continues to create positions such as computer managers responsible for an
organization‘s computer network; web masters or coordinators have emerged in the past
several years as more organizations project a presence on the World Wide Web. The
occupation of environmental engineer has emerged as a result of increasing public
awareness and governmental regulation on our environment (U.S. Department of Labor,
November, 1998).

An additional concern related to job restructuring is occupational segregation. The
distribution of jobs by occupation between genders or among racial or ethnic groups still
shows large concentrations of particular demographic groups in certain jobs. Gaps in
educational attainment further accentuates occupational segregation making it more
difficult for some groups to compete for jobs, particularly jobs which require a higher
level of education. Pockets of high unemployment and persistent poverty still exist in
rural areas, small towns, and inner cities as well as among disadvantaged workers. The
―digital divide‖--the gap between those who have access to technology and internet
connectivity and those who do not--reveals significant disparities based on income, race,
education and geography. This inequity of access to computers threatens to intensify the
employment disparities that already exist based on education and other social factors
(21st Century Workforce Commission, 2000).

                              Skills and Future Employment

Changes in the demographic characteristics of the population and other long-term
changes in the economic environment described previously indirectly point out that the
skills of an average worker in previous decades are very different from those of an
average worker today. Overall, there is evidence of skill upgrading over the last three
decades. Changes in the composition of employment as well as changes within industries
have been contributing forces in the increase of average skill levels of workers since 1970
(Herman, 1999).

Skill change occurs through three paths. First, industries vary in their need for skilled
workers. Changes in employment across industries can lead to increased employment of
skilled workers if expanding industries require workers of greater skill than declining
industries, even if the occupational structure of each industry remains constant.
Secondly, changes in production methods within an industry can alter the nature of work.

The shift between production workers and non-production workers is one example.
Finally, some changes are subtle, leading to changes in the mix of defined occupations.
For example, secretaries have transformed into administrative assistants who now
perform word processing instead of typing as a result of the computer revolution
(Herman, 1999).

National unemployment rates have dropped from nearly 8per cent in 1969 to about 4per
cent today. As the labor market tightened over the past three decades, shortages in
certain occupations were widely reported in the media, with particular emphasis on
unmet needs for workers skilled in technology. In occupations less dependent on
technology but with steep learning curves, new workers are needed to gain required skills
before baby boomers leave the labor force (Dohm, 2000). Several reports have claimed
there is substantial evidence that the United States is having trouble keeping up with the
demand for new technology workers. Critical shortages have also been reported for
craftsmen, teachers, and nurses.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (Herman, 1999), whenever there is a
sustained rapid employment growth, such as in the past decade, there is concern on the
part of employers about occupational shortages. Labor shortages occur in a market
economy when the demand for labor in a particular occupation exceeds the supply of
workers who are qualified, available, and willing to do that job. Jobs go vacant as
employers seek to hire more workers than are willing to work at the prevailing wage or
salary. But labor shortage is often used to describe a variety of situations, some of which
are not actual shortages. When labor is plentiful, employers become accustomed to
hiring workers with specific skills, training, and/or levels of experience. When the labor
market tightens, the number of job applicants shrink and employers have difficulty
finding that same caliber of candidate. Employers may be able to fill positions offering
higher wages, or they settle for candidates who do not match their notion of ideal. Under
these conditions, which are similar to the labor market of 2000, the issue is of quality
rather than quantity of candidates to do a given job (DOL, June, 2000).

Many of the labor shortages today are the result of a sudden or rapid increase in demand,
which has outpaced the job market‘s capacity to supply quality workers. This is the case
in technology, education, and the health industries--the fastest growing occupations in the
new century. The increased reliance on technology, the aging baby boomers, and the
increased birth and immigration rates have created an unusually high demand for workers
in these three occupational clusters. For positions of low compensation, such as
education, the market fails to attract a sufficient number of jobseekers; the resolve is
simple in that an increase in wages will enlarge the pool of applicants from which school
boards can choose. In fields such as computer technology and health care, however, high
skills and specialized training create a lag, which will continue to exist between supply
and demand even with an increase in wages (Herman, 1999).

A slow reaction by institutions offering training in specialized skills has resulted in an
increase in immigration rates to meet the needs of domestic employers (Bowman, 1997).
Barriers such as limited enrollment, inability to attract teachers/trainers, and the absence

of or poor career counseling are significant contributors to the poor response time of
available workers in the highest growing industries.

Today‘s world is one of a work society that is highly skilled and technological. It has
shifted from one of production to one of service. In recent years, occupations related to
health care, the technology, and international market of business has left our schools
reeling to try to teach students the skills need in today‘s working world (Fell, 2000).
Meanwhile business and industry is making it well known that higher skilled workers are
needed now. To help with the immediate crunch, large numbers of technical and
medical-related workers have been brought into our country from overseas. Movements
are underway to raise the quotas and import employees from abroad.

Private schools, training institutions, and colleges have responded to the call for more
workers who are skilled by offering courses and certifications online, but long-term
resolutions to our skilled worker shortages go back to basics. The workforce is only as
strong as its educational base, and that must begin early (Fell, 2000). Recently parents,
businesses, and the media have amplified their concern over American students coming
out of high school unprepared for higher education or the world of work. At this point,
community colleges and a variety of national education programs are attempting to fill
the gap with remedial training, creating even more burden on the educational system.

Skills and abilities of a company‘s workforce are critical factors in determining how
successful the company is in implementing high-performance workplace practices. As
Roger Stempel, former CEO of General Motors noted, ―We‘ve tried automation without
knowledgeable workers, and it doesn‘t work.‖ Business is now paying a premium to hire
college graduates who do the work a competent high school graduate might handle. One
study estimates that 60per cent of all jobs created by 2005 will require education beyond
high school. How many of these jobs could actually be done by well-educated high
school graduates? Economist Eric Hanushek from the University of Rochester has
indicated that the reason we pay twice as much for a college graduate is that it‘s the only
way we can ensure minimal quality standards.

While school reform all the way back to primary grades will take a great deal of time to
accomplish, it is essential in maintaining the strength of our country. Basic education,
skills, training, and life-long continuing education are the key to a good standard of living
for the masses, maintaining full employment for those desiring to work, long-term
success of our businesses and industries, and ongoing economic strength of our country.

Skills are multidimensional and difficult to measure. At times, schooling and work
experience are proxies for skill; at other times, wage rates themselves have been used to
measure skills. But the main emphasis has been on one‘s occupation as a summary
indicator of skill. The most fundamental finding is that skills are rewarded. It is clear
that greater skills, more schooling, and better training tend to lead to higher wages rates.
Employers will continue to require workers at all levels of education and training; but
those with the most skills, work experience, and education will have more options in the
future job market and better prospects for obtaining the higher-paying jobs.


       Boustead, T. (1997). The U.S. economy to 2006. Monthly Labor Review,

       Bowman, C. (1997). Projections to 2006--a summary. Monthly Labor Review,

      Dohm, A. (2000). Gauging the labor force effects of retiring baby-boomers.
Monthly Labor Review, 123(7).

      Eck, A. (1993). Job-related education and training: Their impact on earnings.
Monthly Labor Review, 116(10).

       Fell, D. (2000). Politics in education and at work. VoTech Education [On-line].
Available: http://votech.about.com/education/votech/library/weekly/aa031800a.htm

        Fell, D. (2000). Millennium Schools. VoTech Education [On-line].

      Fullterton, H. (1997). Labor force 2006: Slowing down and changing
composition. Monthly Labor Review, 120(11).

      Gray, K., & Herr, E. (1998). Workforce education: The basics. Boston: Allyn
and Bacon.

        Herman, A. (1999). Report on the American workforce. Bureau of Labor
Statistics. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Labor.

       Joyce, P., & Voytek, K. (1996). Navigating the new workplace. Vocational
Education Journal, 71(5).

      Kutscher, R. (1993). The American work force, 1992-2005. Monthly Labor
Review, 116(11).

      Pautler, A. (1999). Workforce education: Issues for the new century. Ann Arbor,
MI: Prakken Publications, Inc.

       Silvestri, G. (1997). Occupational employment projections to 2006. Monthly
Labor Review, 120(11).

         U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (2000). Employment
Situation Summary, August - November, 2000 [On-line]. Available:

      U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (1998). New occupations
emerging across industry lines. Issues in Labor Statistics. Summary 98-11.

        U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (2000). Labor supply in a
tight labor market. Issues in Labor Statistics. Summary 00-13.

       U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. What women earned in
1998. Issues in Labor Statistics. Summary 99-5.

        U.S. Department of Labor (1999). Futurework: Trends and Challenges for Work
in the 21st Century. [On-line]. Available: http://www.dol.gov/dol/asp/public/futurework

       U.S. Department of Labor, Twenty-first Century Workforce Commission Report
(2000). A Nation of Opportunity: Building American‘s 21st Century Workforce.

                                  About The Author

Judy Hudson teaches computer technology, business management and entrepreneur
skills in Hillsborough County, Florida. With Bachelor‘s and Master‘s degrees from
Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, her teaching credentials include certification
in the states of Michigan (K-12) and Florida (9-12 business & economics). She is
currently a Ph.D. candidate at University of South Florida in Curriculum and Instruction
specializing in Vocational Education. Research interest areas include mathematic skills
performed in occupational settings and soft skill remediation of employees using
computer tutorials and programmed instruction.

                                            Chapter 3
              Special Population Workforce Education Considerations
                                           Daryla R. Bungo
Improving the competitiveness of the workforce has been a visible national priority for
several years. The impetus for this effort can be traced to national reports (e.g., National
Center on Education and the Economy, 1990; U.S. Department of Labor, 1991; William
T. Grant Foundation, 1998) documenting the changing nature of the workplace and the
increasing demand for employees that possess both solid academic and occupational
skills (Benz & Linstrom, 1997).
The outcomes experienced by young adults with disabilities are considerably worse than
those experienced by young people without disabilities (Marder & D‘Amico, 1992). A
national study (National Organization on Disability, 1994) documents that the
employment and other life opportunities of working-age adults with disabilities (ages 16
to 64) remain discouraging.
     This study found that two-thirds of adults with disabilities were
     unemployed. Only 20per cent of the adults in this study were working full-
     time, with another 11per cent working part-time. Fully 79per cent of the
     unemployed adults (84per cent of those 16 to 44 years of age) indicated that
     they wanted a job.
Concerns about the quality of school programs and post school outcomes experienced by
students with disabilities and other special populations can be sighted by the above
mentioned study and additional studies conducted in the past two decades. Although the
specific findings may vary, states and local communities across the country are
attempting and/or implementing training, research and demonstration projects to improve
the school programs and transition services available to students of special populations.

West and Boyer-Stephens stated, no longer are there special ―set-aside‖ funds in
vocational/technical education specifically designed for special populations, such as the
disadvantaged and the disabled. Instead, the effort by legislation, such as the School to
Work Opportunities Act (STWOA), the Welfare Reform Act and the 1997 Amendments
to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is to recognize the need for
special populations to have access to work-based learning, school-to-work transition
services and vocational/technical training to play roles as productive, contributing
members of society.

                                    Special Populations

Special populations can be defined in a variety of ways and with numerous labels. The
practice of identifying groups of special populations can be controversial; however,
federal legislation continues to use labels to describe students with certain characteristics.

Overall, the single most frequently used label of special populations is at-risk which
includes but is not limited to the following:
       ESE                      Exceptional Student Education, a Florida term for students
                                with academic, emotional and/or physical handicaps.
                                Special Education has its basis within the federal statute
                                entitled ―Individuals with Disabilities Education Act‖

       Nontraditional         Workers in a field that was dominated primarily by workers
                              of the opposite sex. Typically it has been women who have
                              been faced with the challenges of succeeding in a field
                              mostly occupied by men.

       ESOL, LEP              English Speakers of Other Languages,
                              Limited English Proficiency. These student face greater
                              challenges progressing in school and, once they become
                              adults, in the labor market (America‘s Children, 1999).

Disabled: Physically or mentally impaired. Florida‘s categories include: mentally
handicapped, speech and language impaired, hearing impaired, visually impaired,
physically impaired (including orthopedically impaired, other health impaired, and
students with traumatic brain injuries), emotionally handicapped, specific learning
disabilities, homebound or hospitalized, profoundly handicapped (including profound
mental retardation, deaf-blind, autistic, and severely emotionally disturbed), and dual
sensory impaired (deaf-blind).

Disadvantaged: Lacking in basic resources or conditions believed necessary for an equal
position in society. By federal definition, the disadvantaged include physically and
mentally impaired, the economically disadvantaged or low-income groups, and those of
limited English proficiency. A national effort to bring the physically impaired into the
labor force resulted in the Aid to Disabled American Act (ADA). This legislation
removed ―unreasonable‖ barriers to disabled individuals participating in the workplace
(Gray & Herr, 1998).

Displaced Homemaker: Suddenly forced into the workplace outside of the home.

Single Parent: One adult with the responsibility of raising children. Household with one
parent are substantially more likely to have family incomes below the poverty line
(America‘s Children, 1999).

Immigrant: A person taking residence from a foreign country. Workforce education is
                           one profession that is leading the research and design
                           efforts in multiculturalism in the workplace (Gray & Herr,

Securing parental employment reduces the incidence of poverty and its attendant risks to
children (America‘s Children, 1999). Consequently, parental employment enhances
children‘s psychological well-being and can help prevent other negative effects such as
becoming an at-risk student.

                             Acceptance And Opportunities

At-risk populations often lack the basic academic skills, not to mention the higher order
skills that enable them to become successful in today‘s workplace. They require training
programs that can help them develop strong communication and social skills, think
creatively, work well in teams and take responsibility for their own learning and
advancement (Lankard Brown, 1998).

       Programs that are targeted to a specific segment of the at-risk population
       or to a specific area of need are more successful at increasing employment
       and earnings of program completers. New York State‘s New Venture
       Program, for example, is designed to help low-income women become
       economically self-sufficient through employment in higher-paying,
       nontraditional occupations. The program uses career exploration and job
       skills training to help participants develop the necessary skills for such
       employment (Zhao et al, 1996).

Partnerships bring various stakeholders together to achieve educational opportunities for
special populations (West, Boyer-Stephens). Vocational/technical training for special
populations rely on partnerships to help determine the educational experiences that will
assist students from school to work. Federal, state and local agencies are collaborating to
combat the barriers special populations face in the workplace. Most noted are the grants
awarded during the 1990s to encourage state and local agencies to plan collaborative
efforts. These efforts are ventures in a systems change.

The transition system change grants support states‘ improving adult outcomes for
students with disabilities with state vocational rehabilitation agencies. Strongly
suggested in the grants is including the Department of Labor and local agencies with a
transition system change.


Preparing adults for competitive employment, which consists of regular jobs in the
community worked by people with or without disabilities, is the universal goal for
training programs and educational institutions. Supporting these efforts is the Individuals
with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that defines transition services as a ―coordinated
set of activities for a student, designed within an outcome-oriented process, which
promotes movement from school to post-school activities.‖

Special Education has work-study programs for students who need on-the-job training
techniques. In connection with the work-study program are job coaches, which supervise
students with special needs by providing on-site assistance with learning and maintaining
job tasks.

Successful partnerships and the use of a wide variety of successful strategies are
commonly known as best practices. The following best practices identified by Kohler
(1993) are used with special populations:

       -vocational training
       -parent involvement
       -interagency collaboration and service delivery
       -social skills training
       -paid work experience
       -individual plans/planning
       -interdisciplinary transition teams
       -follow-up employment services
       -employer input
       -integration/least-restrictive environment/mainstreaming
       -community-based instruction
       -vocational assessment
       -community-referenced curricula
       -vocational, social and residential outcomes
       -daily-living skills training
       -Individual Education Plans (IEPs) reflecting transition goals
       -career education curricula
       -employability skills training
       -formal interagency agreements
       -early transition planning
       -integrated academic skill training

Kohler stated that, ―Educators engaged in the process of transition planning for students
with disabilities have proven these practices significant.‖ An example of a best practice
in action is the School-to-Work Outreach Project 1995 Exemplary Model/Practice/
Strategy from Sarasota, Florida. The mission is to provide students with the
opportunities to acquire life-long employability skills, which may be applied in the local
community with local businesses willing to employ persons with disabilities. Students
job shadowed at local businesses after having an interview and establishing a contract
between the business and the school. On the job, students were matched with mentors
and classroom teachers served as monitors at the job site.

Life Skills Transitional Program is another Exemplary Model from Houston, Texas that
is a collaborative effort of the Houston Independent School District and Houston
Community College System with the support of the County Mental Health-Mental
Retardation Authority and the State Rehabilitation Commission. The goal of this
program is to prepare students to make a successful transition to adult life and establish

an independent lifestyle and either enter post-secondary training or secure a job. The
Life Skills Transitional Program connects high school students to post-secondary
opportunities by offering the transition course at the community college. As part of Life
Skills Transitional Program, students get assistance in finding a job, enrolling in post-
secondary certificate programs or taking college continuing education classes to enhance
lifelong learning. Students pursuing work can access a job coach who may assist them in
an internship, or help them find a job in the community.

                                Educational Systems—Adaptations

As the workplace becomes more technologically advanced and job demands increase,
education/job training becomes more critical.          West & Boyer-Stephens stated,
―Employers want to improve the skills of their labor force.‖ All students need basic skills
in reading, writing and math, as well as well as problem-solving skills and the ability to
work with others (West & Boyer-Stephens).

Integrated curriculum reinforces these skills through the acquisition of advanced
technological skills. Application of concepts to real-life problems encourages problem-
solving skills. New technologies help special populations gain the skills they need for the
workplace. Calculators, standard and talking assist people with math deficiencies.
Speech synthesizers and scanning equipment permit students deficient in reading the aid
they need to be proficient.

Fortunately, vocational educators have knowledge of the adaptive equipment needed to
accommodate individuals with special needs. The Carl D. Perkins Vocational-Technical
Education Act supports the provision for specialized training and equipment. Special
populations are a vital consideration in the nation‘s job training system through the
Perkins Act.

The School to Work (STW) Act defines work-based learning as one component offered
through both vocational and special education. Schools are trying to connect with
business by offering various examples of work-based learning strategies. Such strategies
include: (1) field trips and job shadowing, (2) service learning and unpaid internships
and (3) employment. Also included are paid internships, apprenticeships, cooperative
education and subsidized employment training. Many benefits are offered for special
populations through the STW movement. The opportunity to engage in real work assists
all students with realistic career decisions and job placement.


The goal for all students is to be prepared for high-skill jobs for the future and be able to
compete in the global marketplace. Sarkees points out that satisfying and sustained
employment is a critical aspect of adult life. The ability to obtain and hold a job indicates

a capacity to participate fully in our society. To individuals in special populations,
employment brings status, respect, and financial independence.


Benz, M. R,. & Lindstrom, L. E. (1997). Building School-to-Work Programs. PRO-ED,
       Inc. Austin, TX.

Brown, B. L., (1998). Is vocational education making a difference for high-risk
      populations? Myths and realities, ERIC Digest No. 071. Clearinghouse on Adult,
      Career, and Vocational Education. Columbus, OH: Ohio State University.

California Institute on Human Services. (1997). School-to-Work: All students as
       participants. Rohnert park, CA: Author.

Center on Education and Training for Employment. (1992). Vocational equity in Ohio.
       Columbus, OH: Center on Education and Training for Employment, Ohio State

Gray, K. C. & Herr, E. L. (1998). Workforce Education: The Basics. Allyn & Bacon.
       Needham Heights, MA.

Herr, E. L., & Gray, K. C. (1995). Other ways to win: Creating alternatives for high
       school graduates. Thousand Oakes, CA: Corwin Press.

Kohler, P. (1993, Fall). Best practices in transition: Substantiated or implied? Career
       Development for Exceptional Individuals, 16 (2), 107-123.

Lankard, B. A. (1995). Family role in career development, ERIC Digest No. 164.
      Clearinghouse on Adult, Career, and Vocational Education. Columbus, OH:
      Ohio State University.

Meece, J. L., & Eccles, J. S. (1993). Introduction: Recent trends in research on gender
      and education. Educational Psychologist, 28 (4), 313-319.

Sarkees-Wircenski, M., & Scott, J. L. (1995). Vocational special needs. Homewood, IL:
       American Technical Publishers.

Standards: What are they? (1996, Spring). Improving America‘s school: A newsletter
       on issues in school reform. [On-line]. Available at:

West, Lynda L., & Boyer-Stephen, A. (199 ). Workforce Education for Special

                                  About The Author

Daryla R. Bungo is the Assistant Principal for New Beginnings Educational Complex—
Crossroads Center which is an alternative education program for Osceola District
Schools. Prior to this assignment, she served as the Technical Curriculum Specialist for
the Technical Education Department in Osceola County. She holds a Bachelor of
Science degree in education from the University of Akron, Ohio and a Master‘s degree in
educational leadership from the University of Central Florida, Orlando. Ms. Bungo is
pursuing a doctorate in Vocational Education at the University of South Florida.

                                           Chapter 4

           Career and Work Awareness in Elementary Education
                                       Diane W. Culpepper

Entrance into elementary school symbolizes entrance into the world outside the home. It
is the first time children are really faced with the need to develop a work ethic. As the
child progresses through elementary school, his or her world expands and so does the
work that is required to be done. During this time, the child develops basic concepts and
attitudes about self, about others, and about work (school). The foundation for later career
decision-making and selection is being developed during these early years (Anatea,
1976). Career development is just as important as academic development in the
educational process called school.

        The Rationale for Career and Work Awareness in Elementary Education

Students, parents, government, and the business community have been telling schools for
a long time they are not satisfied with what educators do in preparing students for the
future (Posterski & Bibby, 1998). While most everyone would agree that a quality
education should prepare students to be successful in life, in work, and in further
educational endeavors, there has been a debate almost since the beginning of time over
how that education should be delivered and what type of education is truly the best for
students. Plato, in ancient Athens during the third century B.C. advocated an abstract
curriculum, which would separate pupils into three classes as they progressed through
formal school. These classes were the workers, at the lowest levels, the soldiers at the
middle level, and the philosopher kings or rulers at the apex of achievement (Ediger,
1998). Today, almost 2000 years later, educators, politicians, and John amd Jane Public
continue to argue over how schools should prepare students for adult life.

Currently, activities like Junior Achievement, employability skills training, cooperative
education, internships, and career days are important in this preparation, but they do not
begin to sufficiently tackle the career development needs of students. Career development
and education must emphasize a long-term, systematic approach to successful adult
careers and community living. It is not a singular event, but an on-going effort that spans
from preschool to retirement (Missouri LINC, 1989). Career development can be defined
as a life-long process through which each of us develops and refines our own identity as
it relates to many life and work roles including those involving occupations, education,
social responsibility, and leisure. It is developmental in nature (kindergarten through
postsecondary) moving from self and career awareness to career exploration to decision-
making, and implementation of decisions and plans. This process of career awareness,
exploration, and decision-making usually occurs numerous times during the life span
(Kobylarz, 2000).

Elementary school students understand and learn at a concrete level. During the early
years in school, each student is developing their identity and a sense of self-worth and
confidence. They are building self-esteem and learning to relate to their peers and adults.
School provides the opportunity for children to take responsibility for themselves and
their possessions. The world around them is complex and constantly changing. Children
need to understand how they fit into the world now and in the future.

 In 1957, D.E. Super, a noted psychologist, was the first to suggest that making a career
choice really involved a search for an occupational identity--an occupational role that was
consistent with one‘s self image. Several researchers since that time have confirmed the
influence that self-concept plays in career development. Since self-concept is formed
during early childhood, career development must be integrated as an ongoing process
during the entire elementary school years.

Career education at an early age encourages students to form positive self-concepts about
the role of work and workers in society. Career awareness activities that are integrated
into the daily curriculum give students the opportunity to practice academic,
communication, and social skills while enhancing self-esteem, self-knowledge, and
problem solving skills. These integrated activities result in significant connections
between daily activities and the school curriculum. From the beginning of school,
students must understand that people work to live and that there is a positive
connectedness between the schooling process and living productive lives.

According to the Elementary Career Awareness Guide, developed by the North Carolina
Department of Public Instruction (1999), students who receive early career training and
counseling services:

      improve school involvement and performance;
      increase personal and interpersonal skills;
      improve preparation for careers; and
      increase career awareness exploration and planning skills.

A child‘s positive vision of the future is the most powerful predictor of his or her success
in life. If this is so, students must be made aware of the career possibilities available to
them and the work involved in achieving these possibilities. The primary goal of career
and work awareness in the elementary classroom is to introduce children to the tasks that
are important for their future life roles. It is not intended to ask children to make
premature choices about careers, but to focus on an awareness of the choices available,
ways to plan for them, and how they can use school to explore and prepare for the future.
While many might agree on this goal, they don‘t agree on what is an appropriate way to
make sure it is achieved. Should career awareness be another subject in an already
crowded curriculum? Should it be an activity that is scheduled once a week--like a trip to
the media center or art class? It is a complex decision that must be further analyzed.

                              Barriers to Successful Implementation

Although there is much research validating the importance of career development as a
system that must begin when a child enters school, there are two major barriers to its
implementation. The first is the accountability movement that is currently sweeping the
state of Florida and the nation. Accountability through testing is touted as a way to ensure
that all children are learning. Unfortunately, the reliance on high-stakes tests like the
Florida Comprehensive Achievement Test (FCAT) in which single test scores are used to
make important educational decisions is actually controlling instruction. As the
consequences for low performance are raised, the pressure is on for teachers to focus only
on the subjects assessed on the tests. In Florida, this means, reading, writing and
mathematics. The attention placed on these subjects in order to prepare for the high-
stakes tests leads to narrowing of the curriculum. Other subjects and developmental
processes, such as career awareness, are minimized or even abandoned. This is especially
true in high-poverty schools that tend to have the lowest test scores (International
Reading Association, 1999).

The second barrier to the successful implementation of career development strategies in
elementary education is the fear of tracking students especially at a young age. When the
School-to-Work Opportunities Act was passed in 1994, many people believed it meant
that schools would be tracking students into low wage, low skilled occupations. Robert
Holland, a columnist and opinion editor for the Richmond Times-Dispatch gave a speech
on Capitol Hill, February 12, 2000. In the speech, he spoke against the current School-to-
Work system in place in the United States. He made the following points:

          School-to-Work locks students into career tracks much too early, chilling
           opportunity and killing youthful dreams.
          School-to-Work drastically narrows the curriculum, making it less likely that
           schools will produce literate, well-rounded generalists who can cope with
           rapid change in civic life as well as the workforce.
        School-to-Work is about the servile arts, not the liberal arts. We should
         remember that the liberal arts derive from the Latin libera, which means
There are many people who share Holland‘s opinion. They fear that career awareness
activities or strategies will steal choice, opportunity and liberty from a child‘s future.

M. J. Miller (1989) maintained that the self-awareness children develop during their
elementary school years is essential for their subsequent career development. If career
awareness is not developed during those early years, career development might be
stunted and poor decisions made, as the child becomes an adult.

In 1962, Davis, Hagan and Strouf conducted an occupational study and found that out of
a sample of 110 twelve-year olds, 60 percent had already made tentative career choices.
A year later, another researcher reported that as early as the third grade, children have
well-developed attitudes regarding occupations and the levels of education and that as
early as ages eight and nine, children tend to reject some occupations as not of interest to
them. Research on the vocational attitudes and aspirations of young children shows that
by the time children have completed the first six grades of school they have made
commitments to specific fields of work and to self-perceptions. The studies seem to show
that elementary school children have career preferences that may be meaningful or
ultimately harmful to their career aspirations and achievement (Anatea, 1976).

While students may have well-developed attitudes about occupations at an early age,
studies show there is a lack of knowledge among elementary age students about the range
of careers and the value of work. In a Gallup poll commissioned by Kapow Grand Met,
906 fourth, fifth, and sixth graders were surveyed. Of those, only 48 percent could
explain what their fathers did at work and only 57 percent knew what their mothers did.
In a similar study conducted by the Foundation for Advancements in Science and
Education, 344 students (grades three through six) were asked to name five jobs. Their
responses were limited and unimaginative. The top-five answers were teacher, principal,
doctor, nurse, and lawyer. Fifty-one children had no answer at all. Only 16 percent could
name the jobs of family members. This clearly reflects limited exposure to a variety of
career options. In a 1998 study by the Committee for Economic Development, 78
percent of the 408 employers surveyed felt recent high school graduates lacked a strong
work ethic. Again, the necessity for career awareness at an early age is emphasized
(Angel & Mooney, 1996).

                    Influences on the Career Decision Making Process

Elementary education teachers can influence a child‘s career development process
without consciously being aware that they are doing it. Consider the following stories. A
first grader named Holly had told her parents for months that when she grew up, she
wanted to drive an eighteen-wheeler. Both her parents were well educated, her father an
attorney and her mother a district level administrator. They reinforced Holly‘s interests
in the trucking industry by saying things like, ―Yes, Holly. You could see all parts of the
country in an eighteen-wheeler. One day, Holly and her family passed the Overnight
Transportation Company. The father casually called Holly‘s attention to the lot full of big
trucks, and her eyes lit up! She was so excited that her father said, ―Who knows? Maybe
you‘ll have lots of eighteen wheelers like that one day too, Holly.‖ With that
conversation, the child immediately decided she would like to own a freight company so
she could have lots of trucks. A few days later, Holly told her teacher that when she grew
up, she wanted to have an eighteen-wheeler company. The teacher said, Oh Holly! You
can‘t do that! You‘re too smart! You are so smart, you should be a doctor, or a lawyer, or
a teacher. When Holly returned home that afternoon, she told her mother what the teacher
had said. She no longer wanted to own an eighteen-wheeler company. The child‘s
ambition had changed.

While the teacher had the best of intentions, she ignored Holly‘s own career interest
based on her own perception of what constitutes a ―good‖ career and what does not. In
addition, the teacher did not realize that an interest in eighteen-wheelers did not limit
Holly, but could have resulted in a variety of other careers--maybe a CEO or CFO of a
freight line company or maybe a mechanical engineer (Hull & Grevelle, 1998).

Another story, recently found in the Orlando Sentinel, reported that Doc Rivers, current
NBA coach of the Orlando Magic--role model and leader of young men--was kicked out
of the second grade at Garfield Elementary in Maywood, Illinois. His teacher, Mrs. Willis
asked the class to write what they wanted to be on the blackboard. Doc wrote, ―Pro
basketball player.‖ Mrs. Willis said, ―Be realistic,‖ and erased it and sent him up there to
write something else. He went back and wrote ―Pro basketball player.‖ She erased it
again and said, ―Get serious or you're going to the principal's office.‖ He went up again
and wrote ―Pro basketball player‖ and was sent to the principal's office. The principal
sent him home for the day. River's father eventually smoothed things out, promising the
teacher that Doc would improve his schoolwork if he could keep his dream alive. Of
course, Rivers not only became a college and pro star, but a graduate of Marquette
University. In addition, when Doc was playing with the Atlanta Hawks, he provided Mrs.
Willis with tickets to see him play.

Parents and the community play a formidable role in the career development process as
well. When people who are currently in the workforce are asked how they chose their
occupation or career, many workers reply, ―my mother was a teacher or my father wanted
me to become a doctor.‖ It is estimated that 40-50 percent of what a child learns occurs in
school and the remaining 50-60 percent comes from the family and community (Family
Involvement Partnership for Learning, 1996). Parents and teachers seem to have the
most influence on future occupational selection; but television and the media have an
impact as well. M. B. Griggs (1992) investigated the factors that influence African-
American and Hispanic youth when making career and life decisions. She found that their
models for vocational choices were real as well as fictional people, especially those on

                                      Best Practices

Fortunately, there are numerous examples of best practices of elementary school career
awareness activities and strategies. The following are a few examples from Florida and
the nation.

      Career Clubs provide students with experiences that promote awareness in the
       workplace. Contact:
          o R.B. Cox Elementary School, Pasco County, Florida, 352-524-5124.

   Career Festivals/Teach-In features business and community leaders who speak
    to classes on a designated day in order to make students aware of the vast
    opportunities to them in the world of work.

   Career Immersion is a program to introduce students to the world of work at an
    early age, helping to create a clear link between work and school. All students are
    involved in two main activities – a classroom business and in-school employment
    and are guided by business and industry partners. Contact: Silver Spring
    Elementary                School,              Milwaukee,               Wisconsin.

   Career Shadowing provides students with a meaningful introduction to the
    workplace, exposure to some of the training and skills needed to obtain a job,
    awareness of different types of jobs available in the community, and the
    opportunity to interact with business people. Contact:

       o Kitty Ward, R.B. Cox Elementary School, Pasco County, Florida
       o Bay Meadows Elementary School, Orange County, Florida,
         407- 876-7500. (Fifth graders job shadow various positions at the Hyatt
       o Hunter‘s Creek Elementary School, Orange County, Florida,
         407- 858-46210. (Fifth graders job shadow restaurant workers. Activity
         culminates in an evening where the students run the restaurant and serve
         their parents.)

   The Junior Achievement Elementary School Program features sequentially
    integrated themes for kindergarten through sixth grade with business volunteers
    from the community presenting the learning activities which center around a
    theme assigned to the grade. Contact: Education Outreach, One Education Way,
    Colorado Springs, Colorado 80906, 1-800-362-6479.

   KAPOW (Kids and the Power of Work) is a national network of business-
    elementary partnerships developed jointly by the Grand Metropolitan, Inc. and the
    National Child Labor Committee to introduce elementary school students to the
    world of work through monthly lessons taught by business volunteers and hands-
    on worksite visits to the volunteers‘ companies. Contact: National Child Labor
    Committee, 1501 Broadway, Suite 1111, New York, NY 10036, 212-840-1801.

   Learning Together is a program sponsored jointly by the American Federation
    of Teachers, the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, the
    Chrysler Learning Connection, and Scholastic which attempts to incorporate
    SCANS into grades K-3. Contact: Scholastic, 555 Broadway, New York, New
    York 10012, 212-505-4927.

       Biz Kid$ is a 3000 square foot drug store, operated by fifth grades from Orange
        County Public Schools. It is located in the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando.
        Students prepare for six weeks in their classrooms before they actually begin their
        work in the store. Economics, mathematics, language arts, and communication
        skills are integrated into the work-based experience. The students spend two days
        in the store and apply what they have learned in the retail environment. Contact:

       Microsociety is a mini community that includes a courtroom, a bank, a post
        office, a television studio, a performing arts center, a print shop, a newspaper, a
        micro retail mall, and various service industries. Teachers and community
        volunteers with interests and expertise in those fields staff each of the
        areas. Children interview for and obtain jobs within this society that complement
        their personal interests. The simulated economy pays them in micro currency,
        with a portion taken out for taxes, allowing the students to decide how much to
        spend or save. Students are afforded opportunities to explore careers, to use
        academic skills in real-life problem solving situations, and to develop social skills
        necessary in everyday life. Contact:

       S.P.     Livingston      Elementary         School,       Jacksonville,      Florida

       Rock Springs Elementary School, Apopka, Florida, 407-884-2242.

Florida Elementary Schools in the Year 2010

It is the year 2010 and a major educational reform movement has swept over Florida.
Students attend school in order to be prepared for their adult and work roles in life.
Learning is contextual and integrated. High academic standards are met by providing
students with the opportunities to make connections to the world around them. Students
master skills through application. Seat time is no longer important; students progress at
their own pace.

In the elementary schools career awareness and developing basic skills are the major
focus of the students‘ education. Students learn about the broad range of careers and
occupations in the world of work, including options that may not be traditional for their
gender, race, or ethnicity. The elementary curriculum has been totally redesigned to allow
for the introduction of a wide array of career options through four stages: self-awareness,
family awareness, school awareness, and community awareness. Through each stage, the
academic skills are connected and then mastered through reality-based instruction. These
stages are tied to the National Career Development Guidelines for elementary education
which are found a few pages later in this document.

On a rotating basis each nine weeks, elementary school educators spend a full day in the
workplace and attend business-oriented professional development seminars that help

them increase their knowledge about various careers. Parents, business and community
partners also spend time in the classroom explaining and demonstrating skills that relate
to their own careers or experiences.

Students actually see themselves as part of the workforce of the future. They believe that
what they learn and do in school prepares them to succeed in the adult roles they will
eventually choose. The focus for elementary school students is on career and work
awareness--not career exploration or career prep. The following objectives are a priority
in all elementary schools of the future:

      Students are exposed to many different jobs to increase their awareness that
       people work. For example, if students are investigating pollution of local rivers
       and streams, students might work with environmental engineers, lawyers,
       politicians, chemists, agriculturists, waste treatment plant managers, an others
       who might play a part in the polluting or the clean up of the rivers.

      Students develop self-awareness in order to identify interests, abilities,
       preferences, and current work skills in relation to careers.

      Students understand why people work and the value of all work.

      All academic skills (writing, art, science, math, reading, social studies, etc.) are
       integrated and connected with the four stages of awareness--self, family, school
       and community that lay the foundation for career development. All learning
       consists of ―hands on‖ work experiences.

      The link between education and businesses is necessary for a student‘s education
       success. Schools, parents, business and community share in the responsibility of
       educating children.

      All students have the freedom to explore and become excited about learning.

Elementary students produce a career portfolio beginning in kindergarten. It includes a
collection of student works that result from various career awareness activities and
experiences. This portfolio allows students to see themselves as part of the larger world
around them. All the partners--teachers, parents, business and the community are active
participants in the portfolio process. In addition, the portfolio is used as an assessment
instrument for evaluating the depth of career awareness, and to measure writing skills,
thinking and organizing, academic competencies, team work and people adeptness,
information gathering proficiencies, and evaluation abilities (Angel & Mooney, 1996).

Career awareness expands the student‘s vision of the future. It is a journey that leads to a
destination that has not yet been discovered. Florida was one of the first states to realize
that the educational paradigm had to shift in order for children to find success in the
advancing Information Age. Instead of FCAT, graded schools and high dropout rates,

Florida‘s educational system is preparing students for employability, personal and
economic self-sufficiency, and a life-long appreciation for learning. It‘s about time.

(Elementary Career Awareness Guide: A Resource for Elementary School Counselors
                             and Teachers, (1999).

                       Resources for Elementary Educators

   Biz World, Games and Activities that introduce the unique language of business
    and entrepreneurship. Independent Means, Inc. P.O. Box 987, Santa Barbara, CA
    93102. 805-965-0475.

   Career Planet Launch Pad, an interactive, multimedia career awareness CD-
    ROM. Chicago, IL: Ferguson Publishing Company.

   Children’s Dictionary of Occupations (CDOT) 2nd Edition. William Hopke and
    Barbara Parramore, (CFKR, American Guidance Services, JIST Works), 1992.

   Children’s Occupational Outlook Handbook. Linda Schwartz and Toni Wolfgang
    (CFKR, American Guidance Services), 1996.

   Elementary Career Awareness through Children’s Literature: A K-2 Correlation
    to the National Career Development Guidelines, by Alice K. Flanagan and Helen
    Rosenberg, Chicago, IL: Ferguson Publishing Company, 1999.

   Elementary Career Awareness through Children’s Literature: A 3-5 Correlation
    to the National Career Development Guidelines, by Alice K. Flanagan and Helen
    Rosenberg, Chicago, IL: Ferguson Publishing Company, 1999.

   Launching Connections, A Teacher’s Guide to Career Development, by Kristen
    Garceau & Sherry Brown, Chicago, IL: Ferguson Publishing Company, 2000.

   http://falcon.jmu.edu/~ramselyil/careers.htm
    This site provides links with information on community helpers and careers.

   http://members.bellatlantic.net/~positv/KidsHome.htm
    Kids Career Place with activities for career awareness and self-esteem.

   http://place.scholastic.com/magicschoolbus/index.htm
    Ms. Frizzle takes students on various adventures, which offer opportunities for
    career discussion.

   http://www.bcit.tec.nj.us/childcareer/info.htm
    (Kids and Careers, An Online Manual)

   http://www.EnchantedLearning.com/Dictionary.html
    This site offers a picture dictionary for young elementary or preschool students.
    Students can develop career awareness by clicking on icons for various jobs and
    learning more.

   http://www.family.com/Categories/Education
    An introduction to career awareness activities for children. It includes four ways
    to choose a career including Shadowing, Kids, Inc., Factory Field Trip, and Great

   http://www.ici.coled.umn.edu/all/awardsite6.html
    The Mid-Del Career Connection, Midwest City, Oklahoma.

   http://www.ici.coled.umn.edu/schooltowork/immersion.html
    This is School-to-Work Outreach Project 1997 Exemplary
    Model/Practice/Strategy called, ―Career Immersion‖ from Silver Spring
    Elementary School, Wisconsin.

   http://www.myhero.com/home.asp
    This site offers students the opportunities to research careers and the path various
    heroes took to get there.

   http://www.nationalgeographic.com/kids/
    A site filled with information about jobs from the community and much more.

   http://www.state.tn.us/education/eecatelm.htm
    A catalog of career information for elementary school students from the
    University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

   http://www.stephencarr.com/mathjobs.html
    This site lists jobs that use lots of math. The format is very kid-friendly.

   http://www.utc.edu/~careered/elemgen.htm
    A list of general elementary sites with career awareness activities.


       Angel, N. F. & Mooney, M. (1996). Work-in-progress: career and work
education for elementary students. Cincinnati, OH: Paper presented at the American
Vocational Association Convention, December 5-8, 1996.

        Anatea, E. S. (1976). The yellow brick road: a source book of career guidance
strategies for the elementary counselor and teacher. Tallahassee, FL: Department of
Education, Career Education Center.

       Davis, P.A., Hagan, N. & Strouf, J. (1962). Occupational choice of twelve-year
olds. Personnel and Guidance Journal, (40), 628-629.

       Ediger, Marlow. (1998). The curriculum: academic or utilitarian?

       Elementary career awareness guide: a resource for elementary school counselors
and teachers. (1999). Charlotte, NC: North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.

       Family Involvement Partnership for Learning (1996). America goes back to
school: an initiative of the partnership for family involvement in education and the U.S.
Department of Education. Partners‘ Activity Kit. Washington, DC.

      Gitterman, A. and others. (1995). Outcomes of school career development.
Ottawa, ON: Canadian Guidance and Counseling Foundation.

       Griggs, M. B. and others. (1992). Factors that influence the academic and
vocational development of African-American and Latino youth. Washington, DC:
National Center for research in Vocational Education.

       Holland, R. (February 12, 2000). Speech given on Capitol Hill.

     Hull, D. & Grevelle, J. (1998). Tech Prep: The Next Generation. Waco, TX: Cord
Communications, Inc.

       International Reading Association. (August, 1999). High stakes assessment in
reading. Newark, DE: Position statement.

        Kobylarz, Linda. (October 23, 2000). Forward.

       Miller, M.J. (1989). Career counseling in the elementary school child: Grades
K-5. Journal of Employment Counseling, 26(4), 169-177.

        Missouri LINC. (1989). Infusion of career education into educational programs
for students with special needs. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri-Columbia,
College of Education.

      Posterski, D., & Bibby, R. (1988). Canada’s youth, “Ready for Today”: a
comprehensive survey of 15-24 year olds. Ottawa, ON: Minister of State for Youth.

        School-to-work in elementary schools. (January, 1997). School-to-Work Resource
Bulletin. Washington, DC: National School-to-Work Office.

       Super, D.E. (1957). Career education and the meaning of work. Washington, DC:
Office of Career Education.

       Toepfer, C.F. (1999). Workforce education: issues for the new century. Prakken
Publications, Inc.

        Woal, S. T. & DuVall, P. S. (1995). Career education – the early years [and]
Let’s get serious about career education for elementary students. Hermosa Beach, CA:
American Association for Career Education.

                                     About The Author

Diane W. Culpepper is the Director of Vocational Curriculum, Instruction and
Assessment for Orange County Public Schools, Orlando, Florida. Prior to this position,
she has worked as a program specialist, a technology coordinator, and a business
technology education instructor both on the high school and community college level.
Culpepper is currently working towards a doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction from
the University of South Florida. She has worked as an educational consultant on two high
school textbooks: Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management and Personal and
Business Finance published by Glencoe/McGraw-Hill.

                                        Chapter 5

                  Workforce Education in the Middle Grades
                                    Kimberly Clemons

Clearly, with all of the career exploration models available, there is a realization that
programs of this type are needed at the middle school level. Reasons that justify this are
plentiful. Middle school students do not have a realistic view of the world of work, nor
do they have many solid career goals. Gender stereotypes regarding career choices take
place at this age. At-risk students and minorities often feel a sense of limitation in career
choices beginning in middle school. Based on these examples, career exploration
programs belong in middle schools to broaden student awareness of career options and to
teach students the necessary competencies to become productive workers upon entering
the workforce.

                                  Rationale and Research

Traditionally, school administrators have not been supporters of school-to-work type
programs. This is true partly because of the accountability factor in public schools today.
Administrators feel pressured to place emphasis on academic subjects to produce high-
test scores from students. This has resulted in few curriculum support materials and little
encouragement for teachers to adopt school-to-work techniques. Teachers often feel that
organizing a school-to-work project is too time consuming and that there is no way to
measure the success of the program for accountability reasons. (Gray, 1998).

In the spring of 2000, the legislature acted to reduce concerns educators may have
regarding career exploratory curriculums being taught at all levels. Goals 2000, Educate
America Act is designed to produce a cross curriculum containing academic skills and
occupational skills. The School-to-Work Opportunities Act also overlaps the same two
curricula. The intent of both acts is to produce students who are successful in making the
transition from school to the world of work. With the proper curriculum design,
administrative support, and enthusiastic motivated teachers, this notion of teaching
should develop rapidly in the future. (SCANS 2000).

                                     Program Designs

Technology, program modules, and media services are important tools for the
development of successful career exploration programs. These programs are designed to
assist students in making career decisions. Exploratory type programs fall into the most
general category of workforce education. At the middle school level, an example of this
type of program is the annual school-wide career day. Guest speakers from a variety of
professions are invited to make presentations representing several career fields to

students. Often, a question and answer session will follow the presentation, inviting
interested students to learn more about the career. Another example of a career
exploration activity for middle school students, are interest or personality inventories.
Students respond to a profile of questions and are given career choices based on their
individual answers. It is important to address career choices and the skills necessary to
achieve those choices to middle school students. In doing so, it helps students gain an
understanding of the importance the academic areas they study play in career goals.
(Boynton, 1997).

Middle school level career exploration models focus on either the school-based career
model or the employer-based model. These two models match career education with
career counseling. Careers are individually centered as the career can only exist if the
person pursues it. People base career decisions on their life experiences, successes,
failures, competencies, and ambitions. A career differs from work in that a career is a
chosen occupation that an individual enjoys, while work is a means for a person‘s
monetary livelihood.

School districts must take certain factors into consideration when they develop career
education models. The most successful career exploration programs are those that
realistically prepare students for the adult world of work. Also, these programs should
begin at elementary level and continue through the middle and high school years.
According to National Career Development Guidelines, students at middle school level
should possess knowledge of a positive self-image, interactive skills and awareness of the
importance of growth and change. According to these guidelines, students at middle
school level should be able to relate academic achievements to career opportunities. The
students should have an understanding of work and how it relates to learning. Further,
the students should have necessary skills to find, grasp, and use career information as
well as the skills used in finding and getting a job. Last, middle school aged students,
need an understanding of work as it relates to the national and world economy and to
society. National guidelines for career planning for middle school students requires them
to make decisions effectively and demonstrate knowledge of interrelationships in life
roles. The guidelines also address the student‘s having ability to differentiate gender
roles and occupations as well as a clear understanding of the overall career process.
(Career Awareness Guide, 1999).

 Many school districts offer alternative school-to-work type programs to students who are
expelled from regular schools. These are known as juvenile justice alternative education
programs. In Topeka, Kansas, The Second Chance School was opened to accept students
expelled from school for weapons possession or for assault on a staff member. The
curriculum at this school consisted of academic subjects along with recreational and
community services programs. Students were typically required to spend one semester to
one school year in the program. The program has proven to be successful with 90
percent of the students completing. (JJAEP, 1997-98).

Another alternative education program in Buffalo, New York, The City-as-School
program placed expelled students in actual workplace environments. Customized goals

and activities were done for each student. Students worked on their individualized
packets at their work sites each day. The program was for two years and during that time
65 percent of the students maintained perfect attendance, reached their established goals,
and received diplomas. (JJAEP, 1997-98).

As discussed in chapter three of this publication, these examples indicate a strong need
for alternative, school-to-work programs for at-risk youth. At-risk students are
characterized by factors such as poverty, substance abuse, coming from single parent
homes, learning disabled, abused or neglected, and criminal activity. Programs that
match caring, motivated teachers with at-risk students who need to take control of their
lives should prove to be the most successful. (Ferguson, 2000).

The dual role of career exploration is to provide students with individually developed
career goals and to create successful, harmonious work places. While it appears that the
two desired outcomes for career exploration work as a team, they can at times conflict.
The preference of the individual may not always reflect what is in the best interest of the
economy creating an adversarial relationship. One rational for career development is that
economic prosperity will be the end result of providing students with information and
guidance in choosing a career. Another theory behind career development is that no
amount of preparation and acquired skill will make a person productive in a job that the
person does not value. According to this theory, the most successful workers are those
that have chosen, trained for, and made a commitment to their career. (Pautler, 1999).

                                      Best Practices

The ideals for workforce-based skills were developed by the Secretary of Labor‘s
Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills, otherwise known as SCANS.
Competencies developed by SCANS introduce students to career concepts and skills
early. They expand student‘s knowledge through related activities as the students
themselves develop. Types of activities that promote the SCANS competencies may
include micro-societies, entrepreneurial projects, media publications, construction and
manufacturing enterprises and workplace-based activities. These projects have what is
known as a spiral curriculum, intended to bond academic and occupational skills. If a
spiral curriculum is done correctly the career exploration projects become
interdisciplinary units, which include all academic subjects. The result is that students
develop proper work skills and build academic skills simultaneously. (SCANS, 2000).

A micro society in the classroom turns the learning environment into a real world work
model. Students use skills to perform a job and in turn they earn a salary. The money
earned is then used for necessary goods and services available to the student. Micro-
societies can be developed on a small or large scale. They can be in one classroom or
used as a school-wide curriculum design. The benefit of a micro society curriculum
project is that all academic areas are taught along with interpersonal skills, human
resource skills, systems management, research skills and technology skills. An example
of a successful micro society is found at Desert Sky Middle School, in Glendale, Arizona.

Seventh graders formed a small town with a post office, bank, jobs and all elements of a
functioning town. Students participate by having jobs, expenses, and earning wages.
(Gray, 1998).

Entrepreneurial projects involve students in manufacturing and selling products and
services for profit. A perfect example of a project of this type is a school store that is run
by students. The teacher in charge usually enlists help from the business community as
both consultants and customers. Students must determine if there is a market for their
product or service, develop the product or service and then sell it. Students learn basic
principles of economics doing an entrepreneurial project. (Gray, 1998).

Media publication career models include writing stories, newsletters, newspapers, or the
development of multimedia publications. Usually media publications are a classroom
model with a technology teacher as the leader. In some situations, students videotape the
news and do a broadcast, do written publications such as a newsletter, or create
photographic projects. Again, along with all core academic subjects students learn to use
and maintain various media equipment, how to stay within timelines and how to
effectively present material. An example of a successful media publication is being done
by ISTHMUS BEE, in Avalon, California where students create and sell their own
newspaper to members of the community. (Gray, 1998).

The construction and manufacturing career work model is similar to the
entrepreneurial project but must sell a good and not a service. In this career model
students design and make a product for sale. This model would work well in a
technology lab with machinery for assembling a product. Also, modules in a life
management skills lab could be used to manufacture food products for resale. In this type
of model, students gain an understanding of organization and sequence, resources and
assembly, and marketing and management. (Gray, 1998).

A workplace-based activity takes place in a real work environment. The school and
business coordinate scheduling and communicate openly with one another. Teachers and
employers have established guidelines, procedures and desired outcomes in advance. An
example of this type of program is when students spend part of the academic day in the
classroom environment and the remainder of the day in the work setting. The students
actually do a job at the workplace and learn skills and they are paid for the work that they
do. For example, in Plymouth, Minnesota, sixth grade students took over and ran a local
restaurant successfully for a weekend. (Gray, 1998).

Another effective career exploration program for the middle school student is career job
shadowing and studying the world of work. This may be done through volunteerism,
mentoring, or school based career model programs. In this type of program, students
spend time observing at a workplace. Later the student conducts interviews of personnel
to help them understand the nature of the work involved. This program assists students in
connecting employability as it relates to ambition, personal happiness and success.
(SCANS, 2000).

In the development of any school-to-work program there are several guidelines to model
the program around. First, there needs to be a high level of cooperation among the
educators involved in the program. As always, the educators involved will have to be
creative in finding and using resources. Flexibility needs to be built into the program as
unexpected events will arise. All of the parties involved in the program must value it and
they need to have made a commitment to it. Programs are designed for students and the
students in them should be the most important factor. The skills taught in the program
should be tailored for student readiness and teachers should have high expectations for
the students involved. It is important that the community is involved in school-to-work
projects. Business people can be utilized as consultants and clients and students can get
exposure to the actual workplace through the community. Last, students need to be
afforded time to reflect on what they have learned and where they can further apply the
acquired knowledge. Programs developed using these guidelines are the most probable
to meet student needs and to be successful. (Pautler, 1999).

                                   Workforce Competencies
There are five basic competencies that make up the skills necessary to be an effective
worker. Included is the knowledge of how to disburse resources such as funds,
personnel, and time. Interpersonal skills, (soft skills) enabling the worker to get along
with others, work in teams, negotiate, and be a leader are an important competency for a
new worker. The ability to research and collect data, organize and communicate are
important competencies for the workplace. An understanding of systems management
used to monitor and improve performance and the ability to design such systems is
necessary in the workplace. A strong background in technology is an key factor for
success in a career. A skilled worker in today‘s business world needs to have mastered
all of the five SCANS competencies to be productive. (SCANS, 2000).
In addition to the five competencies, there are three basic foundation skills that all
competent workers need. They need to have basic academic fact skills in reading,
writing, math and speaking and listening. Thinking skills including reasoning ability,
creativity, decision-making ability and effective problem-solving skills are essential
qualities for a good worker. Personal qualities of responsibility, self-esteem, integrity,
and honesty are needed for a productive worker. (SCANS, 2000). One powerful
advantage of the career related instructional examples described earlier is that they not
only teach or reinforce important academic content, but they also reinforce these
important workforce competencies.


A starting point for change may be in the teaching methods used today. Teachers need to
be facilitators of learning. They need to manage students as they actively engage in
hands on learning activities. Students should be allowed to work in cooperative groups in
modules designed with real world opportunities. Teachers should promote self-
awareness in students and allow them to take responsibility for their own learning. This
will encourage students to become critical thinkers and problem solvers.

With new curriculum development, the facilities must also be updated. A learning center
should contain tabletop computer modules that include making and doing centers with
state of the art equipment. In family and consumer science classrooms, computerized
embroidery machines capable of digitizing allow students to scan a picture and the
machine will embroider the picture on fabric. Other modules offer cooking lessons, job
readiness skills and self-esteem building for students. With the advancement of
equipment and curriculum, choosing the right teacher is a crucial factor in the success of
the program.        The teacher in charge of the workplace program may be the most
important component therefore, an exemplary, well-trained teacher should be chosen to
lead the program. This teacher should possess the four ethical obligations of the
profession of workforce education. The teacher should promote learning in students,
provide for health and safety of students, ensure the public and private trust, and promote
the transfer of learning.

One of the key elements of change for career education in middle schools includes an
integrated curriculum, which helps students connect school and life. Another approach
known as constructivism allows learners to actively ask questions and search for answers.
This approach encourages critical thinking and increases interest and achievement levels
among students. Mentoring programs are increasing in popularity due to fostering of
appropriate attitudes toward career education. Community service is an excellent way to
build student‘s self-esteem while they explore the work world. Nothing is better than
hands-on learning for students. Contextualized learning provides students with real
world experiences in actual settings. For example, middle school students participating
in the personnel process by filling out applications, giving references and going on job
interviews. Perhaps the field of technology is one of the most important elements in
changing how educators view the integrating the academic curriculum with a career
exploratory curriculum. Multimedia instructional programs such as EnviroQuest and
ROC-CD are used to motivate middle school students in career exploration. Computer
assisted guidance programs are beneficial to students by increasing their maturity levels.
Programs such as Discover make students more age appropriate therefore, helping them
to set realistic career goals. (Kerka, 2000).


The SCANS 2000 center is focusing on a career transcript system with four systems
included. Those systems are school-to-work, welfare-to-work, incumbent workers, and
education reform. The overall theme of this work is to create a workforce development
system that will prepare workers for the international economy of the coming century.
Education reform is essential to this goal. This country needs to produce students that are
work ready, placing increased emphasis on school-to-work programs. If the education
reform and school-to-work issues were properly addressed the welfare-to-work, and
incumbent worker systems would significantly decrease. The desired result would be a
highly productive workforce for the twenty-first century. (SCANS, 2000).

Schools today have a varied population of students that requires programs designed to
help all students be achievers. These programs should begin as early as elementary
school and continue throughout the high school years. This may be best accomplished
by beginning in the elementary schools with career awareness programs. In the middle
schools, students need to be exposed to hands-on career exploratory programs. High
schools should provide real world work experiences to ready teenagers for a career. The
development of school-to-work programs at all levels will benefit the quality of life and
the economy in this country. With early exposure to career options, students will mature
into well-adjusted, productive and skilled workers who will keep the country‘s workforce
world class. (Fraser, 1999).


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[On-line] http://ericacve.org/fultext.asp..

       Pautler, A. (1999). Workforce Education: Issues for the New Century. Ann
Arbor, MI: Prakken Publications, Inc.

        SCANS 2000 The Workforce Skills Website. Available [On-line]

                                  About The Author

Kimberly J. Clemons is a graduate of Saint Leo University with a Bachelor‘s Degree in
elementary education. She holds a Master‘s Degree in Educational Leadership from the
   University of South Florida. Currently, Ms. Clemons is enrolled in the Educational
  Leadership doctoral program at USF. Ms. Clemons was a classroom teacher in Lake
 County, Florida for five years. She has been a school administrator in the same county
for the last five years. Presently, she is assistant principal at Windy Hill Middle School
in Clermont, Florida. Future plans for Ms. Clemons include completion of the Ed.D. at
USF and becoming a school principal. Personal interests include the welfare and care of
  animals and concerns for a healthy environment. Ms. Clemons is a happy, optimistic
          person, who looks for the best in every situation and in every person.

                                      Chapter 6

               Workforce Education At The High School Level
                                     William Blank

           The Rationale For Workforce Education for High School Students

Some argue that the primary purpose of high school in America should be for students to
master academic skills, concepts and knowledge that are important for ―good citizenship‖
in our democratic society and for the transmission of our culture to the next generation.
Others suggest that the purpose of high school should be primarily preparing students for
college or university admission. As primary missions of the contemporary high school in
the United States, both views ignore reality. This chapter suggests a broader mission for
the high school and describes how such a mission might play out in the high school of the

Academics for Citizenship—Not Enough

This first purpose—mastering academics as preparation for democratic citizenship--
appears to be a relic of times past. Two hundred years ago, the only citizens who
benefited from an education comparable to an academically based high school education
of today were the sons of the landed gentry. Their education focused on traditional
academics, foreign language and the arts. This was adequate preparation for ―good
citizenship‖ for them because their families were well off financially and they were often
the chosen few who went on to college to join the professions.

In the early years of the twentieth century when the American high school took on its
present form, many hung on to the notion that mastery of academics for democratizing
youth should continue to be the major purpose of high school. After all, students who
mastered the academic disciplines to a reasonable degree and graduated could enter the
workplace (usually the factory, the mill, the farm or the store) and could secure a good
job. As recently as 25 years ago, a high school graduate who completed a general
education track focusing on the traditional academic disciplines and who went to work in
a factory or similar employment could marry, purchase a modest home, raise a family and
enjoy a comfortable standard of living. At the time, the U.S. had the highest number of
low-skill/high-wage manufacturing jobs in the world. Our secondary schools could
continue to focus on the Jeffersonian ideal of providing a ―liberal‖ education and high
school graduates could support themselves and their families—often with their hands and

Today, however, a high school education dominated by academics is simply not enough
to prepare students to thrive in the world. Changes around the globe during the past
thirty years have rendered this ―academic primacy‖ mission of high school obsolete.
Gone are the days when a high school graduate with only academic skills and knowledge

can secure high wage employment and launch a career with a future. The following data
underscore how a high school education today ill-prepares young people for productive
employment (Packer and Pines, 1996):

       Between 1973 and 1993, the entry-level wages for male high-school
       graduates fell 30 per cent while that for women fell 18 per cent...Among
       young workers, the share of low-wage workers increased from 23 per cent
       to 47 per cent in the same years. Among African-American men with 12
       years of schooling, the proportion with low earnings grew from 20 per
       cent in 1969 to 43 per cent in 1989; among Hispanic men from 16 per cent
       to 36 per cent; and among white men from 8 per cent to 23 per cent...Too
       many youngsters with a high school diploma proceed into a decade of
       short-time dead-end jobs before finally settling down as they approach
       30...over 35 per cent of 30 year-old men have held their current jobs for
       less than 1 year, a pattern correlated with significantly lower wages.‖ (pg.
       7, 8).

The past few decades have seen the transformation of the world‘s economy from one
dominated by natural resources and mineral wealth to one dominated for a brief time by
industrial might to an economy today driven by information and the technology needed to
profit from that information. The mineral and industrial economies spawned jobs for
which a strong back and willingness to work were the key ingredients for good wages.
The information-based economy, on the other hand, has changed the rules dramatically.
Today workers must be able to generate, retrieve, manage, and synthesize information for
productive purposes and—most importantly—make decisions and solve problems based
on that information. They must also be adept at the use of tools, instruments, devices,
processes, materials and other technologies of the particular industry.

Mastery of the content associated with English, mathematics, science and social studies is
not sufficient to prepare students for such realities. High school graduates must learn
these technical and information based, problem solving, technologically dependent skills
while in school if they are to compete for high wage jobs after graduation--particularly
that large percentage who do not continue on and complete a college degree
(approximately 75per cent). Based on this notion, some suggest that one of the primary
purposes (if not the major purpose) of high school should be to acquire sufficient
technical skills to provide students with some degree of initial labor market

Imel (1999) writes, ―The economy is booming and jobs are easy to find, but,
unfortunately, nearly one-half of recent high school graduates do not have an education
that will allow them to earn a middle-class wage because the skills essential for such jobs
are not being taught in many schools.‖ (pg. 1). John Bishop (1995) states it nicely:
―...wages are determined by the interaction of supply and demand...skills that are new and
in demand are the most highly compensated. The key to labor market advantage is to
have a set of unique skills that are related to occupations that are high paying and in
demand...It is unwise to devote one‘s entire education to learning things that everyone

else already knows (such as basic academic skills).‖ A brief story underscores the need
for high school graduates to leave school with skills valued in the labor market:

A recent general track high school graduate who made good grades showed up at his first
day on the job at a high tech firm. When he asked his supervisor what his first big project
would be, he was shaken when told, ―First I want you to sweep the floor with this
broom‖. Indignantly, the graduate retorted, ―Sweep the floor? Why I‘m a high school
graduate.‖ Not missing a beat, the supervisor quickly added, ―Well in that case, I‘ll show
you how to do it.‖

University Admission—Too Narrow

The second commonly cited major purpose of high school mentioned above—university
admission—seems laudable on the surface but ignores many sobering realities. The
following facts render preparation for university admission as the primary purpose of
high school misguided at best and educational malpractice at worst (Gray and Herr,

•      A third of the high school graduates who go on to college aren‘t prepared. The
       percentage of college freshmen taking remedial courses has been reported to be as
       high as 75per cent! And, the cost to taxpayers for remediation is enormous.

•      Of those who begin college, most don‘t finish; up to half or more drop out the
       first year. The ―dirty little secret‖ about the dominant university admissions
       purpose of the American high school curriculum is that the focus is only on
       ―admissions‖–getting in–not graduation. Less than half of those who begin a
       college education ever finish.

•      Serious self-esteem issues arise from not completing. Many of those who drop
       out of college carry a burden of inadequacy and guilt (not mention a hefty loan)
       for the rest of their lives. They often suffer the scorn of their parents, friends, co-
       workers and often themselves for dropping out the first year.

•      Some sources indicate that there are half as many job openings requiring a college
       degree in the U. S. economy each year (about 850,000) as there are college
       graduates (1.2 million). America‘s colleges and universities currently produce
       about twice as many college graduates as the economy can absorb leading to
       unemployment, underemployment and dashed career hopes for many graduates.
       One college graduate in three will be underemployed—many joining the swelling
       ranks of the ―well educated poor‖.

•      Most jobs in our economy don‘t require a college degree. Only about 20per cent
       of jobs in the U.S. economy require a bachelor‘s degree and that percentage is not
       expected to rise appreciably in the foreseeable future, yet that is the major reason
       young people go to college. In a recent survey of 200,000 college freshmen the

       principal reason they reported for enrolling in college was ―to get a better job‖.
       ―To make more money‖ tied for second (American Council on Education, 1994).

•      It is expensive. The average cost of going to a public institution is almost $5,000
       per year; the cost at a private college is almost $25,000 per year! In the U.S. we
       spend over $150 billion on higher education annually. Much of the cost of
       scholarships and basic support for institutions is borne by the taxpayers. One
       thing the college graduate and the dropout often have in common is a sizeable
       student loan to pay off! In 1993 in Pennsylvania, the average student debt was
       over $11,000.

Pauly (1995) sums up the problem with so much emphasis placed on college admission in
our high schools: ―In the United States, approximately three-fourths of our young people
do not receive a four-year college degree, yet often they leave high schools inadequately
prepared either for postsecondary education or training programs, or for direct entry into
the workforce. These students are rarely taught the skills that are valued in the labor
market, they have few opportunities to explore potentially rewarding careers, and they are
frequently unaware of the postsecondary training programs that are available.‖ (pg 1).

Further evidence of the misguided assumption regarding the economic payoff of a college
degree held by most high school students, their teachers, guidance counselors, their
principal and their parents is the following data: ―The U.S.D.O.L. concluded that the
lifetime earnings of individuals who work in such occupations as precision metals, the
crafts, specialized repair, and other nonprofessional technical occupations... will exceed
the earning of all college graduates... save for those who are successful in finding work in
the professional or managerial ranks.‖ (Kenneth Gray, 1995)

So, if acquisition of academics alone is not enough and if focusing on university
admission fails to meet the needs of the great majority of students, what should be the
primary mission of the high school?

This author suggests that the primary purpose of the American high school in the 21st
century should be to...

...assist students in acquiring the self-knowledge and career-related information needed to
make informed career decisions, acquire an initial level of technical competence
necessary for immediate employment in a broad career field and to acquire the broad
workplace competencies, habits of mind and academic skills and concepts that are
important for long term career success and fulfillment.

An important but clearly secondary purpose of high school, this author further suggests,
should be broad exposure to the arts, the sciences, literature and the humanities in a
manner that will encourage positive, continued such experiences as an adult and that will
enhance postsecondary educational opportunities.

The reader should make no mistake about the ordering of these two major purposes of
high school. Career development first; traditional academics and college admission
second—in that order of priority. Why? Virtually all students will spend the next 50, 60
or 70 years of their lives actively engaged in their careers. Only about a quarter of them
will complete a bachelor‘s degree! And even those who do could benefit greatly from
knowing more about the world of work and about their own strengths and abilities and
career interests. So, whom should the high school mission and curriculum focus on? The
100 percent who will have careers or the 25-30 per cent who will complete college
degrees? Not a difficult choice really!

In short, this author proposes a primary purpose of high school that touches every single
high school student directly and for the rest of their lives: career fulfillment. The public
seems to agree. Vo (1997) reported on a nationwide survey of 1,000 people, of which 83
percent agreed that ―schools should focus on career preparation‖ (p. 20). A similar
survey in Washington state (Washington State Workforce Training and Education Board,
1997) yielded similar results: Nine out of ten respondents agreed that high schools should
provide some kind of career preparation to every student before graduation.

After all, as Norton Grubb relates, ―The high school is now an inescapably vocational
institution. When pressed, most students will admit that they are there to get a
job…Although the high school is crucial to the vocational futures of its students, it
appears to be an entirely academic enterprise, with a veneer of social life and
extracurricular activities to keep students just interested enough to keep coming.‖
(Grubb, 1995, pg 1, 2).

Importance Of Preparing High School Graduates For Competent Adulthood.

Some readers may be a bit uneasy about elevating career development as the primary
mission of the modern high school. Perhaps a look at the major roles of adulthood in
contemporary society will help convince the skeptic. Researchers in the field of adult
education and development have recently refined earlier research that identified the
distinct roles that adults assume throughout their lives in society. These are:

•   Friend             •   Parent                            • Citizen
•   Spouse             •   Home Services Manager             • Worker
•   Relative           •   Leisure Time Consumer             • Grandparent
•   Learner            •   Religious Affiliate
•   Daughter/Son       •   Association/Club Member

This author strongly suggests that there should be much more congruence between the
mission, purpose and curriculum of the high school and the realities of adulthood. It is
not too fanciful a notion to expect that high school should help students prepare for
adulthood and not just for the next level of schooling as it currently does. So, if we buy
into the notion that the realities of adulthood should drive the high school experience,
which roles of adulthood should high school focus on? While there is certainly no one
right answer to that question (other than we certainly can‘t cover them all), it is

reasonable to focus primarily on the more dominant roles in terms of how critically they
impact graduates and their lives. Among the roles that most would pick (perhaps, citizen,
learner, parent, and spouse) is that most dominant role of all--worker.

The Most Dominant Adult Social Role: Worker

One role stands out as extremely dominant in students‘ futures (and in many cases,
current) lives—that of worker. Please don‘t misunderstand that we are saying that the
role of worker is the most important or the most lofty—its just the most dominant. If we
look at the impact that success in one of these roles contributes to the degree to which
someone is successful in most of the other roles, we can see that the role of worker is,
perhaps, the role with the most impact of them all. We simply can‘t ignore the fact that
the level of economic self-sufficiency someone achieves determines their standard of
living, the kinds of friends and associates they will have, their general level of health and
well being, how much time they may have to spend with their family, to a great degree
how long they will live, the degree of stress they face everyday, their participation in
leisure activities and the arts, much of their self-esteem and many other factors. Worker
is the dominant role of adulthood in Western society whether we agree with that or not!

To those who reject this notion and suggest that the primary purpose of high school
should be preparation for citizenship and transmission of our culture through arts and
literature, this author suggests that they look at who is generally most successful as active
citizen and consumer or participant of the arts. It is those who enjoy a good standard of
living! It is those who have achieved economic self-sufficiency; in short, it is those who
can afford to do so.

An example is to look at those who run for public office and really make a difference in
their communities. The great majority of such individuals are those who have achieved a
degree of economic freedom that allows the opportunity to become so actively involved
as citizens. Also, you don‘t often see the minimum wage worker or the poor individual
working two jobs to make ends meet at the performing arts center enjoying the opera!
Here‘s the message: marketable skills that are in demand lead to a well-compensated
career, a good career leads to a higher standard of living. A higher standard of living
allows one the time, the freedom and the economic means to become the self-actualized
person we all strive to be! High school students must acquire marketable skills while in
high school because some do not go on to any form of postsecondary education at all and
many of those who do, fail to acquire such skills either.

The message is clear: Since most high students do not complete a college degree and
since many of those who do are underemployed, the high school absolutely must provide
more and better opportunities for every student to acquire technical skills necessary for
them to begin earning a living wage immediately after leaving high school. More
academics, more credits, more testing and more accountability as much of the school
reform movement in this country has focused on, are clearly not the answer!

Need for Career Development at the High School Level

Before we look at the need for career development in high school, we need to define the
term. Career development can be defined as ―...the total constellation of psychological,
sociological, education, physical, economic, and chance factors that combine to influence
the nature and significance of work in the lifespan of any given individual.‖ (Maddy-
Bernstein, 2000) One can see from this definition, that the high school can play an
important, yet limited role in an individual‘s career development since the process is
virtually lifelong.

Traditionally, the guidance counselor has been charged with career development efforts
at the high school level. This monograph chapter, however, takes the position that in the
contemporary high school, everyone must be far more heavily committed to and
involved in the career development of students. This includes academic and vocational
teachers (particularly academic teachers), administrators, and support personnel. A
Gallup poll (Hoyt and Lester, 1995) showed that many Americans believe that high
schools should help students plan careers, develop skills to get jobs, and learn to use
occupational information. The survey also revealed that 64 per cent of the respondents
believed that the high school should place graduates and dropouts in jobs, compared to
only 33 per cent who believed that high schools should do more to prepare students for

We truly have a crisis in this country in terms of the poor job we do of guiding our youth
toward appropriate, informed career and postsecondary education choices. At look at the
results of the over-emphasis placed on university admission is revealing. Although
almost three fourths of high school graduates go on to a college or university sometime
after graduation, only about half of them are academically prepared to do college level
work.. ―…while college enrollments grow, so do college remedial education and dropout
rates. By the late 1990‘s, college dropout rates were at record levels. Two thirds of all
college students now withdraw at least once before finishing, and 91per cent of these
never earn a degree.‖ (Gray, 2000, pg. 2)

Reporting on a study of the career aspirations of high school graduates, Gray and Herr
(1995) report ―Being a professional was the top-ranked preference; no other career choice
was even close...only 8.4 per cent of males and 3.7 per cent of females expected to work
as technicians; even fewer expected to work in the skilled crafts. If technicians prepared
with strong technical skills will be the new worker elite and will, as predicted by labor
market data, be very well paid for their skills, then an important inconsistency seems to
exist because very few of today‘s youth aspire to these occupations. They all want a
four-year degree that they hope will lead to a job in the professional ranks.‖ (pg. 8)

The number one reason college freshmen report as their reason for attending college is to
get a good job. This often does not happen. ―…by the mid-1990‘s at least one in three
university graduates was underemployed.‖ (Gray, 2000, pg. 2). During this same period
when increasing numbers of high school graduates entered college and an increasing
number of college graduates were ending up in low-wage jobs, the economy was
generating record number of high-wage/high-tech technical jobs. To meet the demand,

Congress has had on several occasions to increase the number of foreign workers allowed
into the U.S. While this was occurring, another troubling trend was developing. A
growing number of students enrolling in one and two-year technical programs in
community and technical colleges were college graduates (some with Masters Degrees!).
They were seeking what their university degrees could not provide: a labor market
advantage in the increasing technical labor market.

Concern about career development of high school youth is not a recent phenomenon. A
landmark study begun in the 1950‘s is telling (Hogg, 1999). The 21-year long Career
Pattern Study conducted by Super and colleagues began by looking at ninth grade boys
(about 15 years old) and focused on their ―career maturity‖. These boys were studied
again as seniors and followed until they were about 36 years old. Only 10 per cent of
ninth graders and 20 per cent of seniors had decided on an occupation. Their vocational
preferences continued to be ―unstable, uncertain, and unrealistic.‖ (pg. 107) Two thirds
of the twelfth graders and an even higher percentage of 9th graders had little or no
confidence in their goals. Most knew little about the occupation they thought they might
like to enter. ―Fewer than five percent [of twelfth graders] had well-thought-out plans for
actually getting the needed training, education, or beginning job, or for entering the
occupation once they had completed their training..‖ One of the conclusions of the study
was that the vocational preferences of the high school seniors was no more appropriate
than those of the 9th graders. (pg. 107)

Herr and Cramer (1996) took a more contemporary look at high school student career
maturity and concluded that high schoolers experience uncertainty and instability and
may have unrealistic expectations concerning their career choices (p. 427). They went on
to conclude that ―Many young people flounder for several years before entering an adult
lifestyle.‖ Data indicate that ―high schools vary widely in the status of their career
planning services, including planning for postsecondary and collegiate education,‖ and
studies ―echo‖ an unevenness of guidance services in high schools across the country‖.
(pg. 414).

Kenneth Gray (2000) suggests that our high schools must do a much better job or
promoting career maturity among our youth. He defines ―career maturity‖ using the
following four criteria:

•      Understand the importance of narrowing career interests as a basis for
       postsecondary planning.

•      Have, by the 10th grade, identified one or more career interests after an objective
       evaluation of their likes and dislikes, their aptitudes, and labor market projections.

•      Have, by the end of the 12th grade, engaged in activities to verify these choices.

•      Used these choices to make post-high-school decisions. (pg. 8-9)

He goes on to say that career maturity suggests that high school seniors should exhibit
four characteristics upon graduation:

•      They should understand that career direction, even a tentative one, is as important
       to developing postsecondary success as good grades.

•      They should have made tentative choices by the 10th grade.

•      They should have taken actions that would verify these choices during the final
       two years of high school.

•      They should use these decisions as one focus for postsecondary planning. (pg. 8)

The need for comprehensive career development services at the high school level is
summed up by Maddy-Bernstein (2000): ―Today, secondary schools must prepared
students for postsecondary education, work with students with special needs, abate
violence, prepare students for an ambiguous future work force, and much more.
Evidence is mounting that an effective means of addressing all these issues may be a
comprehensive guidance program that includes a strong career development component.‖
(pg. 6).

The next section shifts from the need for broad career development such as knowledge of
self and occupational information to the actual preparation of students for productive
employment after high school–career preparation.

                 Evolution Of High School Career Preparation Programs

Brief Historical Perspective

By the early 1960‘s policy makers in this country realized there was serious need for
more effective policies regarding career preparation of the nation‘ youth. Out of the
Kennedy administration came several initiatives including the Youth Employment Act,
the Manpower Development and Training Act and the Economic Opportunity Act. These
acts all addressed the job training of youth—particularly disadvantaged youth. In 1963,
major federal legislation was passed that placed increased emphasis on vocational
education for youth. This increased vocational education programming at the high school
level and at the community college and area vocational-technical center levels as well.
While expanding the capacity to provide vocational education programs to youth and
adults, the federal legislation in 1963, 1968 and 1976 put increased attention on special
populations. Emphasis was being placed on meeting the needs of the potential and actual
drop out, the disadvantaged and minority youth. Perhaps hurting the public perception of
vocational education was the remedial focus of these programs and their close ties with
programs such as the war on poverty, the Job Corps, Neighborhood Youth Corp, and
Urban League programs.

The emergence of the ―career education‖ movement in the 1970‘s held great promise for
impacting the high school—as well as the earlier grades. Then commissioner of
education, Sydney Marland is considered by some to be founder of the career education
movement. His view was that the education system had a responsibility to help all
students with achieving ―useful and satisfying‖ employment, parallel to ―intellectual and
academic effectiveness.‖ (Barton, 1994). Repeal of the Career Education Act in 1981
signaled a general neglecting of the career development needs of this country‘s young

The school reform movement beginning in the early 1980‘s and continuing today has
again placed the spotlight on the career preparation needs of our youth once again,
although with mixed results. Schools began building relationships with businesses and
many ―compacts‖ and school-business alliances have been created.            One of the
unfortunate effects of the reform movement has been, in many locations in the U.S., a
crowding out of vocational-technical course taking by students as academic requirements
have gone up in the name of ―reform‖, ―improvement‖ or ―back to basics‖.

The most often cited school reform report to date, A Nation At Risk, is illustrative. Its
most famous claim was that our educational foundations were begin eroded by a ―rising
tide of mediocrity‖ that ―threatens our very future as a nation.‖       ―Secure gainful
employment‖ is mentioned in an introductory paragraph as one of the two major goals of
education, however, it only mentions ―attain the mature and informed judgment‖ to
secure employment–it does not address the appropriate education or training needed.
Norton Grubb (1996) points out the misguided focus of the report: ―A Nation At Risk
recommended the ―New Basics‖: English, math, science, social studies and (the only
novelty) half a year of computer science...the dominant response was ‗more of the same‘:
the same academic curriculum that has dominated the high school since the 19th century,
taught in roughly the same ways, though with a new sense or urgency.‖ (pg.535)

Breaking Ranks: Changing An American Institution was a much-heralded report jointly
of NASSP and the Carnegie Foundation. It appeared in 1996 and was billed as a major
report that would lead to the reform of the American high school. This major, two year
effort examined the high school from top to bottom and included a series of
recommendations for bringing the American high school into the 21st century. Chapter
one of the report focuses on eight major recommendations for revamping the high school
curriculum. One is stunned as they read these recommendations. Throughout these eight
recommendations there is absolutely no mention whatsoever of career, occupation,
livelihood, adulthood, workplace, self-sufficiency, work or anything related. But
recommendation number one (you guessed it) was that the high school curriculum will
include ―essential learnings‖ in literature, language, mathematics, social studies, science
and the arts. The Carnegie Foundation could have saved itself a lot of money by just
dusting off the high school curriculum from the 1950's!

While A Nation At Risk and Breaking Ranks have sent us down the path of ―more
academics‖, thankfully, later reform reports helped to redirect our focus on the career
preparation needs of high school age youth. These included Workforce 2000 in 1987

which focused on how important human resources are in business and The Forgotten
Half in 1988 calling attention to the dismal prospects awaiting more than half of those
completing high school. The 1990 report, America’s Choice: High Skills or Low Wages!
focused attention on the two clear choices our education system was forcing us to make
that the title implied. In 1991 the Secretary‘s Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills
(SCANS) published their extensively quoted document, What Work Requires of Schools.
In 1989, the National Conference of Governors led by then Governor Bill Clinton
adopted six broad educational goals for the education system in the U.S. (expanded to
eight goals in 2000). Elements of goals number three and five addressed career

From Goal No. 3:

...every school in American will ensure that all students learn to use their minds well, so
that they may be prepared for responsible citizenship, further learning and productive
employment in our modern economy.

From Goal No. 5:

Every adult American will...possess the knowledge and skills necessary to compete in a
global economy.

These and other commissions, reports and initiatives helped redirect attention to the
occupational preparation needs of this nation‘s youth which resulted in several funded
programs including Tech-Prep and School-To-Work which will be discussed later.

             Current Status of High School Vocational Education in the U.S.

Before looking at emerging and possible future models and approaches to vocational-
technical education at the high school level, we should examine current data on programs
and enrollment. The Association for Career and Technical Education (n.d.) released the
following data during the year 2000:

•      In 1994, 97 percent of public high school graduates completed at least one
       vocational course and 25per cent finished three or more courses in a single
       occupational program (dubbed vocational concentrators).

•      The percentage of vocational concentrators who completed the New Basics core
       of four years of English and three years each of math, science and social studies
       increased almost nine fold between 1982 and 1998 (an increase from 5per cent to
       45per cent).

•      Between 1982 and 1992 the percentage of vocational concentrators who enrolled
       in postsecondary institutions within two years after leaving high school increased

       from 42per cent to 55per cent with 50per cent percent of those who went on to
       college enrolling in community colleges.

The following information is from a National Center for Educational Statistics Stats in
Brief Report titled Changes in High School Vocational Coursetaking in a Larger
Perspective (NCES, 2000).

•      From the mid 1980's to the mid 1990's, high school vocational education
       coursetaking declined while academic coursetaking increased.

•      This decline, however, has been modest; the increase in academic coursetaking
       has not been at the expense of vocational enrollment but, rather, has resulted in a
       higher overall number of credits completed by high school students.

•      The drop in vocational coursetaking represented a .7 high school credit per year
       decrease from 1982 (4.7 credits) to 1998 (4.0 credits).

•      The percentage of high school students who pursued a vocational concentration
       dropped from 33.7per cent in 1982 to 25.0 percent in 1998 while the percentage
       pursuing a college preparatory curriculum rose from 8.7per cent to 38.9per cent–
       an increase of 30.2per cent!

•      Most of the decline in high school vocational enrollment was in Trade and
       Industrial and Business Education programs.

•      While the actual numbers are modest, there was an increase in enrollment in
       health care, technology and communications, food service and hospitality and
       child care/education.

•      Enrollments in agriculture and marketing remained about the same.

•      There was general congruence between these enrollment changes and changes in
       opportunities in the job market.

While declining enrollments in high school vocational programs have begun to rebound,
the debate over the benefits of participation continue. A recent ERIC brief reports the
following benefits of vocational education (Wonacott, 2000):

•      Of 39 states surveyed recently, 70per cent reported an increase in high school
       vocational education enrollment.

•      One in eight academic students actually take more vocational courses than
       vocational students do.

•      Vocational education students enter postsecondary education at about the same
       rate as all high school graduates.

•      Vocational students who took applied academics in high school such as applied
       math and reading are just as proficient as their college-prep counterparts.

•      A range of studies show that vocational graduates are more likely to be employed
       and earn more than their nonvocational counterparts, particularly vocational
       graduates who worked part time during high school.

•      There is strong evidence that the generic technical skills and occupationally
       specific skills provided in vocational education increase worker productivity,
       skills transfer, job access, and job stability when vocational graduates find
       training-related jobs.

One of the often-overlooked purposes of vocational education programs at the high
school level is to increase retention and graduation rates among high-risk students.
Recent data indicate that the benefits of participating in vocational programming go
beyond retention and graduation. Brown (1998) reports:

•      Data from 12 evaluated vocational demonstration projects focusing on at-risk
       learners, showed that in four, there was a significant reduction in the number of

•      Of these 12, 10 showed an increase in students‘ grade point averages.

•      Seven of the 12 resulted in a reduction in the number of courses failed.

•      Vocational program targeted at special needs students are more successful when
       aimed at a specific segment of the at-risk population or to a specific area of need.

While the economic benefits of high school vocational education are debatable there are
other powerful reasons that recent research suggest make high school vocational
education attractive such as retaining high-risk kids in school, providing the only
opportunity many students have to actually apply the academic skills and concepts they
are asked to learn and the positive impact it has on students‘ career development and
attitudes toward work. Now, we look at how vocational-technical education has
transformed itself to no longer fit the image of the dumping ground for those high school
youth who can‘t cut it academically.

                   Emerging High School Career Preparation Models

This section briefly describes some of the current and emerging models and approaches
for career preparation at the high school level. Since space is limited, only those
approaches that appear to have significant potential for reforming the American high
school so that students‘ career development is given the same kind of emphasis that
preparation for college currently enjoys are included. A victim of space limitations is

also any discussion of ―traditional‖ vocational education programs that operate
independently of the other major school wide reform movements discussed in this section
and that focus on immediate employment in a narrow occupation. Such programs have
been offered for many years and serve a useful purpose, however, such programs
continue to come under heavy criticism for the following reasons:

•      They prepare students for jobs that are often low wage.

•      They prepare students for a very limited number of job openings.

•      They focus on skills and neglect academics.

•      They continue to attract lower socio-economic students and students of color.

•      They segregate vocational students from those in college preparatory classes.

•      The economic benefits of completing such narrow programs are difficult to verify.

Such traditional, narrowly focused vocational programs, fortunately, are being replaced
by more academically rigorous, broader focused, articulated programs aimed at students
of all ability levels and future aspirations.

The Integration Of Academic And Vocational Education

The integration of academic and vocational education has helped reduce the tension
between two competing purposes of the high school: occupational preparation on one
hand and university preparation on the other. Integration is an attempt to address the
major criticisms of both areas of study. Vocational education programs have long been
criticized for offering training in very narrow jobs and focusing too heavily on
psychomotor skills. Academic instruction has been criticized for its abstractness and lack
of relevance to the real world. Integration attempts to bring the two closer together.
Grubb (1995) sites several significant factors making integration necessary:

       The lack of focus in the ―shopping mall high school‖…the disconnection
       between the world of school and life after and outside the school, the
       domination of ―academic‖ instruction without any context or purpose from
       outside the school, the motivational problems that come from students
       being unable to see what the purpose of schooling is, the emphasis on the
       college-bound and the neglect of the ―forgotten half‖ not bound for
       college…the weakness of career-oriented guidance and counseling—all
       these issues…are due in part to the way in which academic and vocational
       purposes have separated. ( pg. 3)

Although public schools in the U.S. were originally founded to provide a ―common‖
education for all learners, the vocational and academic purposes began to bifurcate. The
manual training movement in the late 1800‘s provided students (primarily males) with

experiences in which they could master the processes and materials of industry.
Although not a narrow, job specific approach, the manual training movement eventually
became such. The debate between the ―vocationalists‖ and the ―academics‖ over the
purpose of schooling began and continues today. Grubb (1995) describes John Dewey‘s
       Much of Dewey‘s writing criticized the dualisms that dominated
       education, in his time as now—the separation of individual and society, of
       body (or activity or experience) and mind, of ―learning‖ and ―doing‖, of
       play and work, of academic education versus vocational education. He
       argued that academic and vocational education should not be separated,
       and in fact that vocations and broadly occupational themes are the most
       appropriate ways of focusing instruction: ―Education through occupations
       [not for occupations] consequently combines within itself more of the
       factors conducive to learning than any other method‖. (pg. 12, 13).

Ascher and Flaxman (1993) offer a comprehensive definition of integration:

       ―…the renewed interest in integration has been spurred by new cognitive
       science research, as well as by a recognition that neither vocational nor
       academic education as currently practiced provides students with the
       problem-solving and interactive learning skills required by further
       education, the economy, and social life. Thus, curricular integration
       reforms job-specific vocational education by bringing out the intellectual
       and moral content of a range of occupations, providing students with
       employability skills and the knowledge to direct their own futures in any
       one of related careers. At the same time, it transforms academic
       education, making the teaching of traditional academic subject more
       active, more directly meaningful, and more connected with out of school
       experience.‖ (pg. 7)


The Tech-Prep (technical preparation) movement has been one of the most significant
school reform initiatives to impact the American high school. Tech-Prep originally grew
out of the need to improve vocational education at the high school level. By the early
1980‘s high school vocational education had the widely perceived image of being a
dumping ground for those students who could not perform well academically. Many
students completed vocational programs prepared for narrow and soon to be obsolete
jobs, with poor academic skills and a limited ability to enter postsecondary education
institutions. Tech-Prep was originally conceived for the neglected majority of students
who would not go on to complete a college degree, although, the movement has now
broadened to include all learners.

Four basic goals under gird the Tech-Prep movement (Hull, D. & Grevelle, J., 1998):

•      Secondary and post-secondary educators work closely together to develop a
       ―seamless‖ and fully articulated system of education leading smoothly from high
       school to postsecondary education.

Emphasis is placed on reducing gaps and duplication between the two levels with high
school students gaining advanced standing when they enroll in a community college or
technical center and continue their advanced preparation in the career field. Almost a
thousand school district/community college/business partnerships or consortia have been
formed throughout the U.S. to facilitate this process .

•      Strengthen academics for all students and use academics as the foundation for
       vocational-technical programs.

The focus is on raising the academic achievement of all students—particularly the
vocational student. Common approaches to reforming academics that are a part of Tech-
Prep programs is through the use of ―applied academic‖ learning strategies and
integrating the vocational and academic instruction so that students can apply academics
in their technical studies.

•      Prepare students for world-class careers.

This goal focuses on students‘ preparation for high wage, high skill employment in
careers with a future rather than narrowly focusing on specific jobs that may not even
exist in a few years. It recognizes that automation and globalization have made most low
skilled jobs disappear.

•      Keep education and career options open.

A key philosophy of Tech-Prep is the elimination of tracking of high school students.
Tech-Prep students are exposed to a wide variety of careers. The broad workplace
competencies and academics stressed in Tech-Prep prove useful to graduates in any
career field.

School-To-Work Transition

One of the most recent school reform initiatives in the U.S. aimed at addressing the
career development needs of high school youth is the School-To-Work Transition
(STWT) initiative, sometimes referred to as School-To-Careers. Launched officially in
1994 with the passage of the School-To-Work Opportunities Act (STWOA), the
movement has had some success in reforming the K-12 system of education to include
the career development of students. The act was envisioned as ―a systematic,
comprehensive effort to help all young people (1) prepare for high-skill and high-wage
careers, (2) receive top quality academic instruction, and (3) gain the foundation skills to
pursue postsecondary education and lifelong learning (Halperin, 1994, pg. 4). One of the
struggles associated with the STW movement is convincing stakeholders that school-to-

work embraces all students–both the college and the career bound–and is not just another
vocational program.

The act called for three broad components in STW programs: (1) school-based learning
consisting primarily of integrated academic and technical courses that focus on broad
career areas and that emphasize links to postsecondary education, (2) work-based
learning in which partnerships are created between schools and businesses to facilitate
students‘ engaging in meaningful worksite based learning opportunities and (3)
connecting activities aimed at integrating and coordinating the two. Benefits of school-
to-work programs include:

•      It is student centered.

•      Provides opportunities for authentic learning.

•      Is based on principles that benefit all students by using active learning strategies,
       exploration of career possibilities and interests and experiences outside the

•      Can help college bound students in a number of ways including reinforcing
       academic instruction, helping in clarifying their personal goals, broaden and
       inform their choices through the exploration of broad career clusters, and increase
       their earning power through employment opportunities while attending college.

While the STW movement has had some documented positive results (higher academic
achievement, lower dropout rates, better attendance, better college preparation, better
results for African Americans, positive impacts on businesses), it has not been widely
embraced for several reasons (Imel, 1999):

•      Some view the close involvement of businesses as diverting education away from
       its ―real‖ purpose of preparing youth for participation in a democratic society.

•      Some view it as just another vocational initiative aimed a narrow job training.

•      Some perceive it as a more sophisticated tracking mechanism.

•      Some view it as dumbing down the traditional academic curriculum.

•      STW has failed to adequately link itself with the standards and assessment
       movements currently sweeping the country.

Imel (1999) is pessimistic about the prospects of school-to-work programs and practices
being widely incorporated into the educational mainstream after federal STWOA funding
ends in October 2001. This is largely because STW has ―failed to make broad inroads
into the educational reform movement despite serving as the basis for some school
restructuring efforts.‖ (pg. 2).

The Career Academy

Special attention will be given in this chapter on high school workforce preparation
programs to the ―career academy‖. This is because the career academy holds great
promise of substantive reform of both the mission and the curriculum of the high school
and it addresses many of the career development shortcomings addressed in this chapter.
Very importantly, the career academy model addresses both the workforce development
and the postsecondary education needs of all high school students.

Stern, et al. (1992) write,

        The academies offer solutions to some all-too-familiar problems in high
        schools, where students are chronically apathetic and sometimes hostile,
        test scores remain low, and employers and colleges alike complain about
        the poor preparation of graduates". (Pg xi). They go on to define the
        career academy: "Career academies are schools-within-schools. Most of
        them span the last two or three years of high school, but some cover all
        four years. The curriculum simultaneously trains students in an
        occupational field and prepares them for college. This appeals to students'
        practical interests but does not limit their future careers, as vocational
        programs in high schools often have done. Among the more frequent
        curricular themes are business, computers, electronics, finance, health
        occupations, public service, and travel and tourism. These themes
        encompass a set of career options ranging from jobs that require no
        postsecondary education to professions that require advanced degrees.
        The curriculum keeps students' options open by providing courses
        required for college admission while demonstrating the immediate
        relevance of academic subject matter to an occupational field. (pg. xii)

Kemple and Snipes (2000) indicate that ―The Career Academy approach is one of the
oldest and most widely established high school reforms in the United States. Career
Academies have existed for more that 30 years and have been implemented in more than
1,500 high schools across the country...its core features offer direct responses to a
number of problems that have been identified in large comprehensive high schools...The
original Academies were designed primarily to prevent dropping out of high school and
to increase preparation for work among students who began high school at high risk of
school failure. There is now widespread agreement that Career Academies should seek to
prepare students for both work and college, and that they should include a broad coss-
section of students, including those who are highly engaged in school.‖ (Pg 2)

Stern et al (1992)address the appeal of the career academy model for enhancing the
learning of both the college and the career bound student. "Differentiating the high
school curriculum into classes for the college-bound and the presumed non-college bound
is harmful not only because it helps perpetuate racial and ethnic differences in social
status but also because it creates a false dichotomy between rigor and relevance...All

students could stand to gain by abandoning this traditional division. Students in classes
that are already relatively rigorous could understand and retain more if they had more
opportunities to relate what they are taught to real-world applications. Students in less
rigorous classes could benefit from additional academic skill and knowledge." (pg 11)

The Career Academy typically has the following characteristics:

1.     Is a school within a school for grades 11 through 12, 10-12, or 9-12 run by a small
team of teachers from various disciplines.
2.     Recruits students who volunteer for the program and who must apply.
3.     Focuses on a career theme in a field in which demand is growing and good
employment opportunities exist. The curriculum combines technical and academic
content, usually through one technical and three academic classes each semester. Generic
employability skills are also included. An academy keeps open students' option to attend
4.     Students are employed during the summer and (in some cases) part time during
the school year in jobs related to their field of study.
5.     Employer representatives from the academy career field help plan and guide the
program and are involved as speakers, field trip host, job supervisors and mentors.
6.     Classes are smaller than is typical in the high school; regular contacts with parents
contribute to a sense of membership in a caring community.
7. A mixture of outside funding, district backing and employer contributions supports the

As part of a 10-year evaluation of career academies in the U.S. the Manpower
Demonstration Research Corporation (Kemple and Snipes, 2000) recently conducted a
unique study of academy effectiveness. This major study involved over 1,700 students
who had applied to one of nine academies across the U.S. Students in the study were
identified while in the 8th or 9th grade and they were followed through the end of the 12th
grade. A highly unique feature of this research is that some of these students who applied
to the academies were randomly picked to enroll in the academy to which they applied.
The 1,764 students who applied to these academies was twice the number that could be
served, thus, providing a rare opportunity to randomly select students to participate. This
randomization of assignment to the academy model vs. the traditional high school model
of two comparable groups of students makes the results of this study very powerful
indeed. A summary of the findings included:

•      The academies in this study increased both the level of interpersonal support
       students experienced during high school and their participation in career
       awareness and work-based learning activities.

•      The academies substantially improved high school outcomes among students at
       high risk of dropping out. For this group, the academies reduced dropout rates,
       improved attendance, increased academic coursetaking, and increased the
       likelihood of earning enough credits to graduate on time.

•      Among students least likely to drop out of high school, the academies increased
       the likelihood of graduating on time.

•      The academies increased vocational course taking for these same students without
       reducing their likelihood of completing a basic core academic curriculum.

•      In academies where interpersonal support students received from teachers and
       peers was enhanced, the academies reduced dropout rates and improved school
       engagement for both high-risk and medium-risk students. (Kemple and Snipes,


The school-based enterprise (SBE) is another promising approach. In an enterprise,
students actually set up and operate fully functioning businesses. Stern, et al (1994)
describes the school-based enterprise:

       ...should be considered as a possible means to accomplish the two main
       missions of American high schools: preparing students for work and for
       further education. Students in thousands of high schools every year
       perform substantial productive activities that add to their academic and
       vocational preparation. They build or rehabilitate houses, staff child-care
       centers, publish books or magazines, run restaurants, raise crops or
       livestock, fix cars, operate retail outlets and provide other services as part
       of their school programs...School-based enterprises can be defined as any
       school-sponsored activity that engages a group of students in producing
       goods or services for sale to or use by people other than the students
       involved...because the potential advantages of school-based enterprise
       transcend preparation for specific kinds of work. These advantages
       include deeper understanding of academic subject matter through
       application in a practical context, motivation that comes from solving
       problems with immediate consequences, and generic work skills...With
       recent research in cognitive science creating renewed interest in methods
       of active and cooperative learning, there should be greater appreciation for
       the particular advantages of school-based enterprise. (Pgs.xi-xii)

Stern, et al. speak to the impact of enterprises on both the college bound and the career
bound high school student. ―In a house-building project, for example, students could
acquire construction skills and also work out the mathematics of structural forces.
Students in a school restaurant could make soups and sauces as well as analyze their
nutritional content. Students running a child-care center cold learn how to organize
games for three-year-olds in addition to theories of child development." (Pg. 5)

The SBE idea has a long history. John Locke in his 1696 Plan for Working-Schools for
Poor Children, described an institution that would train and care for indigent children,
supported by the work of the children themselves. At the Gorky Colony in Russia during

the 1920's and 1930's, students operated successful enterprises including the farming of
grain, vegetables, fruit, and livestock and eventually the manufacture of clothing,
furniture, and cameras. French philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau was one the first to
assert the pedagogical benefits of ―productive‖ education. His ideas were refined by the
Swiss-German educator Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi, who began a school in 1774 in
which education was organized around productive labor. John Dewey brought this idea
into the twentieth century, arguing that students learn best when productive experience is
an integral part of their education.

Work-Based Learning

Most high school students work while in school. For many of these teens, their job has
no connection whatsoever with schooling. The Work-Based Learning (WBL) movement
is an attempt to link the two. Packer and Pines (1996) talk about the lack of connections
between learning and earning for most working teens: ― Classroom learning has little to
do with performing these jobs. The disconnect also works in reverse. The jobs offer
little or nothing in the way of leaning experiences that can improve academic
performance...The situation prompts a creative search for latent learning possibilities in
these jobs–and activating those possibilities to give young earners a more meaningful,
fulfilling workplace experience.‖ (Pg 41)

Although an integral part of many of high reform efforts mentioned previously, work-
based learning should be mentioned because of its potential positive impact and the fact
that it does not necessarily have to be part of a major systemic school reform initiative
such as Tech-Prep or School-To-Work (although it is an integral part of these
approaches). The kind of work-based learning that can serve as a vehicle for positively
impacting the career development of high school students should not be confused with
more traditional form of ―work experience‖ that has been a part of the high school
experience since the 1950's. Simply working while also attending high school does not
necessarily contribute positively to the long-term career development of students. This
section distinguishes between work experience for the sake of earning money and work
experience linked to the school experience for academic and career development

During the past 30 years or so, the results of working on high school students has been
mixed. While working gave them some work experience and allowed them to earn
money, work experience has been associated with several serious negative effects. After
reviewing a series of studies on working high school students in California, Greenberger
and Steinberg, (1986) concluded that work experience ―may make them economically
rich, but may also make them psychologically poor‖ (pg. 238). Their findings included:

•      Working teens spent most of their pay on luxury consumption for themselves.

•      Teen workers were more likely than nonworking teens to drink alcohol and smoke

•      The more teens worked, the more cynical they were toward work.

It appears that the kind and amount of work performed by high school youth matters.
Some studies have reported that jobs that provide teens with greater opportunity to use
and develop their skills have more positive effects on teen workers, including
development of intrinsic orientation toward work. Research has also firmly linked
excessive hours of working (over 15-20 hours per week) to high school students‘ lower
grades, doing less homework and more likelihood of dropping out. Although the results
are mixed, some studies have indicated that students who work less than 15-20 hours per
week actually perform better academically in school and are more likely to pursue
postsecondary education than those who do not work at all.

Work-based experiences support the academic and career development purposes of
schooling when they are connected to school-based learning. A major study conducted
by the National Center for Research in Vocational Education (NCRVE)collected data
from 2,000 high school and 1,000 community college students. Some were working in
jobs linked to their school experience and some were not. Stone, et al. (1990) found that
among the high school students, those whose jobs were linked to school had consistently
more positive perceptions of their jobs and of the relationship between work and school.
Stern, et al. (1997) also found that the negative relationship between working longer
hours and poor grades among working high school students was less strong when the jobs
were linked to school-based learning experiences.

After reviewing the literature on work-based learning, the NCRVE concluded (NCRVE,
1997) that the positive outcomes of work experience for students includes:

•      Acquisition of knowledge or skill related to employment in particular occupations
       or industries.

•      Career exploration and planning.

•      Learning all aspects of an industry.

•      Increasing personal and social competence related to work in general.

•      Enhancing students‘ motivation and academic achievement. (pg. 2)

The evidence suggests, however, that to benefit positively from work-based learning,
great care must be taken to link work site experience to the classroom, which is not
always easy to do. One study reported that only 16per cent of seniors involved in work-
based learning who responded to a survey indicated that they had completed a classroom
assignment using information or skills gained from an intensive work-based activity, and
had their performance in that activity count toward a grade at school (Hershey, et al.,

The NCRVE (1997) concluded:

       To insure that WBL becomes an integral part of the curriculum, teachers
       of academic subjects have to be involved. Traditionally, cooperative
       education has linked structured work experience with instruction in
       vocational subjects, and has been supervised by vocation teachers. If WBL
       is to serve broader educational purposes and a broader cross-section of
       students, it will have to be linked to instruction in the core academic
       subjects of English, math, science, foreign language, and social studies.
       (pg. 5)

The following are several different forms of work-based learning that can be linked to
school-based learning for mutual reinforcement:

   1. Paid employment in after-school, weekend and summer jobs with increasing
      levels of responsibilities, complexity and decision making on the part of the
      student worker. The challenge in paid employment is to find placements for
      students that truly allow them to grow and apply higher-level academic, technical
      and problem solving skills. An oft-cited example is the student who works in a
      fast food restaurant who uses a cash register with pictures of products rather than
      numbers–hardly a job placement in which to apply mathematics skills. This
      becomes even more of a challenge when students find the job rather than a teacher
      or cooperative education coordinator.

   2. Job shadowing is gaining in use as a vehicle to give students demanding
      experiences beyond fast food, retail, etc. Since it is non-paid, more employers are
      willing to participate. A key element is shadowing incumbent workers in the
      student‘s area of career interest so they can see, first hand, what working in that
      segment of the economy is all about.

   3. Youth apprenticeship in which students formally enroll in an apprenticeship
      program and attend school part of the day and work on the job part of the day,
      supervised by an apprenticeship trainer who attempts to help the student link what
      they learn in the classroom with what they are doing on the job. While fairly
      successful in Germany and Japan, the apprenticeship model has been embraced
      very slowly in the U.S. Many industries where attractive apprenticeships are
      located (e.g., manufacturing) have gone through downsizing and are under intense
      pressure to keep labor costs low to remain competitive.

   4. School-Based Enterprises (SBE) are growing rapidly in use at the high school
      level. SBE‘s are an excellent way to give high schoolers bona fide work
      experience without having to find placements in the private sector. Such
      experiences can be especially attractive for younger students. In SBE‘s student
      set up and operate fully functioning businesses, usually with the sponsorship and
      support of local business people.

                                     Best Practices

Although certainly not comprehensive or exhaustive, the following are some examples of
exemplary programs and practices in which the concepts, models and practices described
earlier have been put into actual practice in high school across the United States. Also
included are examples of innovative high school practices which space limitations in the
previous section did not permit a description of.
School-Based Enterprise

Students in St. Helens High School 20 miles north of Portland, Oregon operate nine
different businesses from their school. These include a bank, coffee cart, day care,
catering company, banner-making company, a J.C. Penney catalog store, an art gallery, a
computer company and construction firm building a five-bedroom house. About a
quarter of the student body is involved in the businesses. ―...I‘ve learned more in that
class than any other class,‖ says Jason Harper, 17, who works with the construction
company. ―If you make a mistake, it‘s more serious out there...on a $230,000 house.‖

Community-Based Enterprise

Students at Fosston High School in Fosston, Minnesota opened and operate a Radio
Shack franchise. The store is owned by the town‘s economic development authority and
is operated by a ten-member, 9th-12th grade student board of directors. The city was
exploring ways of keeping the downtown area viable and the idea of a student run store
emerged. Students researched available retail space, wrote the business plan and
financial projections and arranged for the necessary loans. Senior Dominic Hand was
CEO and said, ―It gives students a great head start, providing real-world experience.‖

Senior Project

As part of his senior project required for high school graduation from Spring Valley High
School in Wayne County West Virginia, senior Drew Smith went skydiving even though
he had never flown before. His project focused on why people take risks. These senior
projects require a research report, at least 20 hours of work with a mentor and a formal
presentation, which is judged by teachers and community members. Brandon McCoy
wrote, directed and starred in a one-act play. ―It was something that really appealed to
me because I love acting and the arts.‖

Students Actively Involved in Operating Their School

Elementary, middle and high school students in San Diego County, California run cable,
build computers, build school Web sites and perform many other technologically
challenging duties as they become full partners in their schools‘ quest to join the
information highway. Rock Springs Elementary students Mandy Windsor and Brooke
Snyder made a video on how to fix basic computer problems for other faculty, staff and
students to use.

Simulation of Authentic Events and Processes

Students from Wharton High School in Tampa, Florida joined 3,000 teens worldwide at
the Hague‘s annual model United Nations Conference. Delegates will have the
opportunity to write policy papers on issues ranging from nuclear disarmament to human
rights. Their positions will be published in a booklet to be given to U.N. delegates for
consideration. ―This really is a once in a lifetime opportunity, the chance that something
you might do might influence policy in the new century,‖ said Anthony Donatelli, 16.

Invention-Based Learning

Four students at Cold Spring Harbor Junior High School in Long Island, New York
turned their community into a laboratory in efforts to bring a measure of relief to arthritis
sufferers and others with limited use of their hands. They designed and field-tested the
Eazy-Zap-Cap which allows the user to apply body weight to open a container without
bending joints. They are in the process of applying for a patent. ―It feels good doing
something that can help‖, says team member Greg Musso

Competition-Based Learning

Four Hyde Park Middle School students in Las Vega, Nevada won first prize in the
Bayer/NSF Award for Community Innovation contest with the Black Belt, made from
indoor-outdoor carpeting, a durable strap and two clips which helps keeps a child in a
swing. This might help prevent some of the 85,000 swing related emergency room trips
each year in the U.S. ―We are talking with manufacturers about marketing it to schools,
local recreation departments and parents,‖ said team member Derek Smoot.

Problem-Based Learning

Middle schoolers at Sunny Hill School in Carpersville, Illinois are presented with open-
ended problems to solve that are real or potentially real. One project required them to
design a mass transit system to run from Chicago to Michigan City, Indiana over, under,
or through 57 miles of Lake Michigan. They were challenged by the fact that it hadn‘t
yet been done. The working models they constructed were creative and scientifically
accurate. One solution involved a ―bank teller‖ like pneumatic tube system that would
transport 50 passengers in less than seven minutes with a force of less than 1/3 g.

Service Learning

In Manatee County, Florida, over 10,000 teens donate over one million of volunteer
hours each year as part of the ManaTEEN Club, one of the nation‘s largest youth
volunteer organizations. They sling oatmeal and pour coffee at soup kitchens before
going to school, tutor younger kids after class and fix up elderly folks‘ homes. ―All I
hear is how teens are lazy or scary,‖ says Jay Perez, 18, armed with an array of brushes

and working on the window trim. ―But we‘re proof that teenagers are still good–that not
all of us are lazy, that we can get stuff done.‖

Community Service Required For Graduation

To satisfy the 24 hours of community service required to graduate from Carl Sandburg
High School in Orland Park, Illinois, students have completed a wide range of
community service projects including remodeling homes of indigent homeowners,
working at a pet shelter, teaching children, serving as guides at the zoo, repairing school
property, building a Japanese garden, and many others.

Community-Based School

Picture one large, high-ceilinged room filled with clusters of desks and animated by the
hum of kids at work–peering into computer screens, making phone calls, huddling in
small, impromptu meetings. This is the look at Minnesota New Country School, a 135-
student charter school serving grades 7-12. Students learn their academics through the
process of running an embroidery business, designing Web sites for local businesses and
helping the state of Minnesota analyze pollutants in local waters. ―I‘ve done so much
more stuff here I wouldn‘t have gotten close to at a traditional school, ―says 11 th grader
Jack Bovee.

Educators at Tawa School in Wellington, New Zealand have developed a ―City Site‖
program for 11-13 year olds that builds strong relationships between students and
business and arts organizations in the city as they work on projects that are concrete and
mutually beneficial. In one project, students got involved in assisting a company make
its corporate boardroom more attractive. Students gathered specifications, company
information and budgetary guidelines from company representatives. They then
interviewed design companies and collected a portfolio of ideas for artwork. The
company accepted many of the student‘s ideas. Today, five large panels of artwork hang
in the boardroom and stairwell.

―Free‖ School

At Sudbury Valley School near Boston, Massachusetts there are no classes, no
requirements, no grades, no teachers, yet it is a school and its graduates go on to top
colleges and successful careers. The students, who range from 4 to 19 face almost no
restrictions other than rules on safety, use of equipment, respect for others and
attendance. They wander around the grounds as they please and are engaged in activities
such as drawing, reading, photography, card games, dance, karate and fishing. When
students decide they‘d like to learn algebra or history, they‘ll ask a staff member to lead a
―class‖. No effort is made to teach children to read. Some don‘t read until they are 8 or 9
but they all eventually do. The school claims it has never had a dyslexic student,
perhaps, because they have never forced student to learn to read. ―At public school, I
wasn‘t motivated to do anything, but I still passed with high grades,‖ says Mike

Grenhaigh, 16, who writes novels, studies languages and meditates. ―It seemed like a big

Career Pathways

Roosevelt High School in Portland, Oregon which serves a working class diverse area,
was a school in distress with the city‘s highest absentee, suspension, expulsion and drop
out rates. With heavy involvement of the community, the school was totally restructured
around major career pathways. All academics are tied directly to one of six pathways:
arts and communication, business and management, manufacturing and engineering,
health services, human resources and natural resource systems. Ninth graders are
exposed to all career clusters and they select the one they are most interested in.
Extensive use of project based learning and job shadowing are two key elements of
Roosevelt‘s curriculum.

Applied Academics

As part of the Juniors to Seniors: Hillsborough Remembers project, students from several
high schools interviewed 23 senior citizens about life in World War II. Their transcribed
interviews will become part of the history and genealogy department at the John German
Public Library. ―You can read as much as you want, but until you hear it from the people
who lived it, it‘s not as real‖, said junior Holly Tipton.

Authentic Projects

Tom Furrer‘s students at Casa Grande High School in Petaluma, California undertook the
daunting task of restoring the Adobe Creek. The Adobe had once been a crystal clear
creek populated by steelheads and other fish. It had become a badly polluted eyesore
littered with old tires and refrigerators, its banks denuded and eroded. The students, who
called themselves The United Anglers, cleared the creek of trash and recruited volunteers
who planted thousands of willow and Douglas fir saplings along the banks. They spent
several years successfully lobbying local officials to remove a dam upstream which was
depriving the creek of water. Teacher Furrer spent the summer in Alaska learning how to
operate a fish hatchery. They raised $6,000 for a hatchery and when their plans for the
hatchery were denied by officials because it did not meet the earthquake code, they
proposed an even bigger facility to provide thousands of fingerlings for all the threatened
streams in the area. The California Dept. of Fish and Game offered to kick in $50,000
but only if the students scaled back their plans. They not only refused but convinced
officials to double their contribution! Graduate Anna Kastner became Asst. Dir. of the
Feather River Fish Hatchery; Julie Lambert who was only interested in cheerleading until
getting involved in the project went on to study for an advanced degree in biology. The
United Anglers now teach students in other schools how to restore streams. Their
original hatchery was dedicated in 1993 at which time the students unfurled their banner
which read: ―Together we will change the world.‖ Within a year of opening, the hatchery
was no longer needed to support the steelhead population so its production was switched

to Chinook salmon, which were also threatened. (Reader‘s Digest, April, 1999, pg. 78-

                      What The High School Of The Future With
                     A Career Development Focus Might Look Like

While it is difficult to predict what the high school of future might look like, this
monograph provides the opportunity for the author to do a bit of ―futuring‖ and even
some fantasizing. The author has taken many of the elements that the literature indicates
works well in facilitating high levels of performance and engagement in school and in
preparing high school students for productive adulthood and suggested that they be
included as key components of the high school of the future. Such a high school might
look something like this:

A Mission Focusing on Competent Adulthood

The ideal high school of the future would have a mission statement something like: ―Our
mission is to provide a setting in which students can mature and grow and develop a solid
foundation from which to launch the next major steps of their lives including post high
school and lifelong education, beginning a career that will lead to economic self-
sufficiency and assuming the other important roles of competent adulthood.‖ One would
not see meaningless, fuzzy statements like ―academic excellence‖, ―fullest potential‖ or
―world-class performance‖. This high school would be driven by a vision and mission
that directly addresses the link between the school and students immediate and long range
futures as adults.

Organization Around Career Clusters

This ideal high school would have as its central organizational structure, a wide range of
broad, constantly evolving career clusters. There would be no separate academic and
vocational divisions, no disconnected math, foreign language, social studies, science and
English departments. One of the key qualifications sought in all teachers, leaders and
support personnel would the widest range of previous work and life experience possible.
Hiring teachers with limited life experience right out of teacher training institutions
would be avoided. During the ninth or tenth grades, students would have as many
experiences as possible in as many of the career cluster areas as possible. This would
include virtual and actual tours of worksites, meaningful dialogue with younger and
experience workers in the field, extensive research and reading about what working in a
career field is like. During, perhaps, the 11th and 12th grades, students would begin
selecting one or two broad career fields on which to focus. Their academic instruction
would be unmistakably linked to one or more career field. Each career cluster would be
staffed by a team of academic and occupational faculty and support personnel with
blurred lines of assignment in terms of subject matter.

Comprehensive Self-Assessment

Students in this high school of the future would pay almost as much attention to self-
knowledge as academic and workplace knowledge. They would undergo extensive self-
examination and self-evaluation to better understand their motivations, their strengths,
interests, limitations and aspirations.

Intensive Career Exploration

The proposed high school of the future would be committed to broadening every
student‘s exposure to the world of work. Structured and unstructured, formal and
informal experiences would be provided so that every student had some exposure to all of
the broad career clusters around which the school is organized. Most likely this would
take place in the ninth and early 10th grades, however, such exposure (and re-exposure)
would be easily accessible to any student if they have second thoughts about a tentative
or final career choice.

Development of Technical Competencies

In the eleventh and early twelfth grades, students would engage in school-based and
work-based learning experiences designed to help them acquire broad technical skills
utilized within a range of occupations in their chose career field. For example, students
interested in the health sciences area (whether their aspirations are to become a nurse
assistant, a respiratory therapist or a cardiologist) might develop skill in taking and
recording vital signs, administering medications and assessing a patient. Such technical
skills would be of value in almost any occupation within the health sciences cluster.
Such skills would be learned in school-based laboratories, through applied projects, while
engaged in service learning activities and while on the job as a part of paid and/or unpaid
work-based learning experiences.

Extensive and Varied Work-Based Learning Experiences

Students in this high school of the future would spend a great deal of time off the school
campus out in the community visiting and working in a variety of workplaces. During
their early years, students would participate in structured work site visits to workplaces in
every broad career cluster included in the curriculum. As their particular career interests
are refined, students would more focused and structured worksite visits including job
shadowing, paid work assignments and volunteering in related agencies. Students would
be assisted in securing high wage summer employment between their junior and senior
year in their career cluster of choice. There would be extensive planning and
coordination between teachers in the school and the adults that students interact with in
the workplace to mutually reinforce the expectations and experiences in each setting.

A Service Learning Component

Every student (and administrator, teacher and support person) would engage in a series of
increasingly complex service learning experiences. Later such experiences would be tied

directly to their career field. Efforts would be made to render service both to agencies
and organizations (e.g., the Red Cross for students interested in health related careers and
Habitat for Humanity for those in the Architectural and Construction Cluster) and to
individuals and families. The service activity would be an integral part of the curriculum
through research and reading in preparation for the service and writing, reflection and
sharing during and after the service is rendered.

Broad Business and Community Involvement

One aspect that would distinguish this high school from more contemporary schools
would be the extensive involvement of other adults in the education of students.
Throughout their high school experience, students would have substantive interaction
with significant adults beyond their teachers. They would have workplace advisors and
mentors and they would interact with workers in their career clusters of interest.
Business people and professionals in community-based organizations would serve on
panels and juries to review students‘ performance, judge their portfolios and react to their
sophomore, junior and senior project presentations.

Project-Based and Similar Forms of Authentic Learning

To model what happens in the world beyond schooling and to capitalize on how the brain
learns best, the primary vehicle for delivering instruction will be ―project-based‖
learning. Most instructional effort will be devoted to completing authentic projects that
integrate academic and technical content, skills and concepts. Individually, in small
groups and as entire classes, high school students might write and publish a history of the
local community, design and construct a gazebo for the school, evaluate their building for
ADA compliance and a host of other authentic, meaningful projects that are of value
beyond the classroom and the test. Other similar forms of authentic learning would also
be used extensively such as problem-based learning, applied learning, independent
research, self-directed learning (all students would complete at least one on-line course)
and other strategies.

Sophomore, Junior and Senior Projects/Exhibitions

A unique aspect of the proposed high school would be an emphasis on what students can
do rather than on what they know. One or more times during each year of high school,
each student will conceptualize, plan, execute and then formally present a major
culminating project. Early culminating projects would be fairly narrow in scope and
complexity with the final senior project approaching the complexity of a scholarly
presentation of a major research project at a professional conference. These culminating
projects would be ―juried‖ by teachers, administrators, school support staff, parents, and
practicing or retired professionals representing the particular area of expertise underlying
the project.

Increasing Levels of Responsibility for the Students‘ Own Learning

Another highly unique aspect of this school would be the underlying philosophy that ―we
can‘t teach students anything; they have to learn it themselves‖. From the 9th through the
12th grades, students would gradually assume more and more responsibility for their own
learning. This might range from doing several independent study projects in the latter
part of the ninth grade to each rising senior presenting his or her ―yearly learning plan‖ to
their advisor which would map out their proposed in-school and out-of-school learning
events that they have selected from a menu of possibilities with the assistance of their
parents, teachers and workplace mentors.

Portfolio Development

As students progressed through their high school experience, they would build a
comprehensive portfolio. It would contain examples of their best work including original
writing, involvement in the arts, performance reviews from worksites, self-assessment
data, future plans, etc.

Seamless Transition to Next Level of Learning and/or Employment

Finally, a very unique aspect of this ideal high school of the future would be a
mechanism that would insure the smooth transition for every student to smoothly and
seamlessly transition from the high school into their next major endeavor. The high
school counselor, the student‘s advisor, their workplace mentors, their parents and the
student themselves would focus on a smooth transition of the student to the workplace,
the community college, the university the military or other destination. This would
include ongoing contact with the student the four or five years after they have left the
high school with structured opportunities to provide feedback on ways of improving the
high school experience.


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Barton, P. E. (1994). ―Odyssey of the Transition from School-To-Work‖ in Ann Arbor,
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Populations? Myths and Realities. Columbus, OH: Center on Education and Training
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Gray, K. Getting Real—Helping Teens Find Their Future (2000). Thousand Oaks, CA:
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Halperin, S. School to Work: A Larger Vision. Washington, DC: American Youth
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Early steps in creating school-to-work systems. MPR 8292-650. Princeton, NJ:
Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.

Hoyt, K.B. and Lester, J. N. Learning to Work: The NCDA Gallup Survey. Alexandria,
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Hull. D & Grevelle, J. (1998). Tech Prep The Next Generation. Waco, TX: CORD

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Education and Training for Employment, The Ohio State University.

Kemple, J. J. & Snipes, J. C. (2000) Career Academies–Impacts on Students‘
Engagement and Performance in High School. Location: Manpower Demonstration
Research Corporation.

Kobylarz. L., Ed. National Career Development Guidelines: K-Adult Handbook 1996.
Stillwater, OK: National Occupational Information Coordinating Committee, 1996.

Maddy-Bernstein, Carolyn. (2000). Career Development Issues Affecting Secondary
Schools. Columbus, OH: National Dissemination Center for Career and Technical
Education, The Ohio State University.

National Association of Secondary School Principals (1996). Breaking Ranks: Changing
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National Center for Educational Statistics. (2000). Changes in High School Vocational
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National Center for Research in Vocational Education. (1997). The Continuing Promise
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make if school and work are connected? Evidence on cooperative education in the
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Reconstructing American High Schools, , San Francisco , CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

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Enterprise-Productive Learning In American High Schools. San Francisco , CA: Jossey-
Bass Publishers.

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perception of their work: School supervised and non-supervised. Journal of Vocational
Education Research, 15(2), 31-53.

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                                  About The Author

William E. Blank is a Professor in the Department of Leadership Development at the
University of South Florida, Tampa, FL. He is involved in the department‘s
undergraduate, masters and doctoral programs in workforce education. Blank has been
heavily involved in school reform (particularly high school reform) for the past 10 years
and has spoken and provided staff development services on this and related topics across
the U.S. and Canada and in other countries around the world. Recent publications
include ―Future Perspectives in Vocational Education‖ in Vocational Education: Issues
for the New Century (Pautler, A., Ed.), American Technical Publishers, Chicago, 1999;
Promising Practices for Connecting Schools With The Real World, (Co-Ed. with S.
Harwell), U. S. Department of Education 1997; Integrating Academic and Vocational
Education: An Implementation Guide, (with J. Scaglione) Division of Vocational, Adult
& Community Education, 1992, Tallahassee, FL.

                                          Chapter 7

                  Career Preparation at The Post-Secondary Level
                                          Tom Loveland

High school students nearing the end of their secondary education face many choices
about career preparation. Although the choice they make at this point can affect their
entire lives, many teenagers are unprepared and ill informed about how to prepare for
their futures. Lack of guidance in high school, blithe ignorance, and parental and peer
pressures combine to send teenagers along unproductive pathways that lead to wasted
resources and frustration.

       Context and Rationale for Post-Secondary Workforce Education

Post-secondary options may be summarized into four categories: entering the workforce,
military service, college education, or technical education. Some high school students
choose to enter the job market immediately upon graduation. Despite the strong
American economy, these young people find low-paying jobs with low career mobility.
Some students choose to enter military service.

Students considering college education have several options. If their Scholastic Aptitude
Test (SAT) or American College Testing (ACT) scores are high enough, they may apply
to a four-year university with the intention of earning a baccalaureate degree.
Unfortunately, about half of the students who enter four-year universities drop out within
their first year. That coupled with the fact that only 20 percent of jobs in the United
States require a baccalaureate degree requires a different choice in college education for
many high school graduates: entering a two-year community or junior college. The
student‘s goal may either be to earn a two-year Associate of Science (AS) technical
degree and enter the workforce or earn an AA degree and then subsequently enroll at a
four-year university.

Another option for high school graduates is to enroll in a public post-secondary technical
institute. These schools offer a plethora of technical certification programs of study.
They may offer apprenticeships, work site education and job preparation to adults and
high school age students.     According to The National Research Council (1994) there
are four types of work-related post-secondary training that modern economies usually
believe it necessary to provide: (1) qualifying training--initially preparing people for
work; (2) skills improvement training, for employed individuals who want further
education and training to upgrade their skills and increase their job mobility; (3)
retraining, for those who have been or are about to be displaced from their jobs and so
need to prepare for a new line of work; and (4) ―second-chance‖ training, for individuals
who need a combination of basic education and job skills... to reach economic self-
sufficiency through employment. (p. 2)

Graduating high school and college students fall into the first category. A discussion of
the rationale for post-secondary education must include adults who are interested in
furthering their education or improving their career options. Adults that fall into the last
three categories are filling colleges and post-secondary technical center classrooms.

As stated earlier in this monograph, the American economy is rapidly changing. The
number of jobs requiring college degrees is starting to increase while the need for
technicians with certifications has been strong for years. Again and again in the late
1990s and early 2000, the United States Congress has been forced to waive sections of
the immigration laws to allow more technical workers into the country to fill the needs of
industry. This mismatch of labor supply and demand can be alleviated with technical
training and education. This chapter will focus on two of the career options: post-
secondary technical centers or institutes and community colleges.

                            Post-Secondary Technical Center History

According to Cammick (1999), vocational technical schools emerged in the post-Civil
War era as manual training schools. Students were instructed in tailoring, shoemaking,
blacksmithing and woodworking. In 1876, a workshop at the Philadelphia Centennial
Exposition showcased a Russian manual arts training system. This exposition led to the
development of manual arts schools in the United States. The Smith-Hughes Act of 1917
provided funds for vocational training programs in industry, trade, agriculture and home
economics. Florida used these funds to establish vocational-technical schools throughout
the state. The Depression, World War II and Sputnik all spurred on industrial arts and
vocational education.

There are about 1,400 post-secondary technical centers in the United States, 93 of which
are in Florida. The original intent of establishing post-secondary technical centers was to
provide low-cost technical career preparation for adults returning to the workforce or
changing careers. Courses are designed to be short term, certification-directed education
leading to high paying jobs. Only 4/10ths of one percent of graduates in Florida go
directly to vocational-technical schools. Post-secondary technical centers primarily serve
adult students. There has been a precipitous drop in enrollments in the 1990s because of
the strong American economy. Vocational technical schools are adapting by marketing
directly to high school students.


Vocational -technical schools offer career-based courses that lead to certification and
direct employment. The National Center for Education Statistics in August 1999 issued a
brief with nine vocational-technical program areas with percentage of students:

       • technology and communications (43 percent)

               • business (27 percent)
               • health care (25 percent)
               • childcare and education (16 percent)
               • marketing and distribution (15 percent)
               • agriculture and renewable resources (12 percent)
               • trade and industry (11 percent)
               • personal and other services (ten percent)
               • food service and hospitality (three percent).

Examples of health care courses include dental assisting, health technician, massage
therapy, medical assisting, medical laboratory technician, practical nursing, respiratory
care technician and surgical technology.

Due to the high cost of equipment in post-secondary technical center courses, districts
carefully monitor enrollments and business trends in order to ensure they are supporting
classes that will benefit the community. In addition to the certification courses, post-
secondary technical centers offer general education development (GED) degree
preparation and adult literacy classes.

Typical students at post-secondary technical centers include reverse transfers, high school
graduates, and adults. The reverse transfer students are university graduates with
bachelor degrees in the humanities who cannot find jobs. After the reality hits, these
people enroll in post-secondary technical centers in order to get real job skills and to pay
off their student loans. Orange County public school technical centers in Florida report
approximately 30 percent of their students already have BA degrees from four-year
universities. High school graduates include students in the latter stages of a Tech Prep
sequence and those deciding to pursue a technical certification immediately following
high school. These students want to go to work for more than minimum wage. A typical
sequence is to get a two-year certificate and then a tradesmen job. Examples include
certified public accountant, electrician, and auto technician. Adult learners include recent
immigrants, and people wanting to increase their job skills and employability.

                                       Community Colleges


The founding of Joliet Junior College in 1901 is credited with being the start of the
community college system. This college was formed for the purpose of providing an
associate degree to students who completed a two-year program of studies. The first
national surge in enrollments occurred during the Great Depression. It was during this
period that junior colleges developed a two-track system: one for the students who would
transfer on to an university and one for the students choosing an occupational track. In
the late 1940s, President Truman appointed a commission to study the need for fourteen
years of schooling. At the time, only 16 percent of young Americans began college
classes. The commission‘s recommendation was to change the name of junior colleges to

community colleges and to make their primary mission to serve local community needs
(Davis and Wessel, 1998).

The next flood of enrollment occurred in the decade after Russia launched Sputnik.
Enrollments at community colleges went from 450,000 in 1960 to 1,630,000 in 1970
(Brint and Karabel, 1989). This is partially due to the baby boomers and the Nixon
administration‘s emphasis on vocationalism to counteract the country‘s critical
manpower shortages in skilled occupational fields.

According to the American Association of Community Colleges (2000), there were 1,132
community colleges in the United States serving 10.5 million students in 1998. Statistics
from National Research Council (1994) show the number of institutions (520) has
doubled since 1963 and the number of students (4.9 million) has doubled since 1990.
During this upswing community colleges de-emphasized their traditional role as conduits
to four-year universities and engaged in a directed push for occupational programs.


Community colleges offer many programs reflected in the variety of students they serve.
These populations include reverse transfers, high school graduates with undeclared
majors, and adults. Two-thirds of students are part-time reflecting a trend towards skills
improvement and retraining by working adults. Programs of study at community
colleges comprise one-year certificate, two-year associate degrees and continuing
education. The degrees offered are Associate of Arts (AA), Associate of Science (AS),
Associate of Applied Science (AAS), and Applied Technology Diploma (ATD). The
AA degree is a two-year course of study of general education classes that is transferable
to universities. This lower cost degree is appropriate for high school graduates who want
to go to college but are undecided what their final major or career direction will be.
Many of these students will enroll in remedial math and English courses as part of their
course of study.

The AS, AAS and ATD degrees are two-year, 60 credit terminal occupational degrees
that generally lead to high-skills, high wages employment. Community colleges also
offer occupational skills certificates geared specifically to the job retraining needs of
adults. Vocational programs fall into three categories: occupational (cosmetology, dental
hygienists, chef), technical (electrician, electronics technician), and technology
(mechanical engineering, emergency medical, drafting design).

The ATD diploma was implemented in 2000 in Florida. These specific diplomas include
certificate programs in medical lab technician, respiratory care technician, coder
specialist, medical records transcribing, aircraft airframe mechanic and aircraft power
plant mechanic. The ATD diploma is set up to articulate into four-year universities from
either the community college direct or from post-secondary technical centers to
community colleges.

According to Davis and Wessel (1998), ―the success of community colleges is their

sensitivity to the local labor market. The best schools constantly revamp their curricula
in response to, and even in anticipation of, employer demands‖ (p. 160-161). In the
1970s, 43 percent of associate degrees were in occupational fields. In response to
changes in local markets, 70 percent of community college associate degrees in 1998 are
now in occupational fields (p. 162).

Pasco Hernando Community College

Pasco Hernando Community College (PHCC), one of 28 community colleges in Florida,
serves 5,707 students on six campuses located just north of the Tampa/St. Petersburg
metropolitan area. The national trends and statistics referred to in this chapter are
occurring at PHCC. Enrollment has been declining throughout the late 1990s. In 1995,
PHCC served 7.056 students. In 1998, 65.3 percent of the students are female and 75.9
percent of all students attend part-time. The average age of students has been declining
since 1995. In the 1998 school year, the average age of males was 24.6 and females 27.2.
During this same year, the average class load increased from previous years to 8.5 credits
(Pasco Hernando Community College, 2000).

PHCC offers four programs: AA degree, AS degree, technical certificate and post-
secondary adult vocational. In the school year 1998-1999, the AA program had 4,310
students enrolled and 363 AA degrees awarded. There were 1,058 students enrolled in an
AS program and 204 AS degrees were awarded. One hundred seventy-nine students
were enrolled in technical certificate program and 120 students received this certification
that year. Finally, there were 668 students enrolled in the post-secondary adult
vocational (PSAV) program with 244 students completing (Pasco Hernando Community
College, 2000).

Placement rates at PHCC for career/technical completers average 89.3 percent in 1997-
1998. The larger programs reflected in this placement rate are coder specialist,
emergency medical technician, law enforcement-basic recruit, nursing (R.N.), paramedic,
and practical nursing. In the AS degree program, the larger programs are business
administration, computer applications, human services, legal assisting, and office
technology. In the AA degree program, the two most common majors were business and
education with 52.4 percent of PHCC students transferring to the University of South
Florida after their AA degree.


According to the Pinellas County Tech Prep Consortium (1992), articulation is a planned
process linking two or more educational systems within a community to help students
make a smooth transition from one level of instruction to another without experiencing
delays or loss of credit. Articulation agreements may be between high schools and
community colleges; high schools and post-secondary technical centers; and community
colleges and universities.

Successful articulation depends upon educational institutions understanding how their
specific programs complement programs in other institutions. Pirozzoli and Guay (1995)
state that ―articulation can take a number of different forms, including sharing entry-level
competencies, sharing program and course information, sharing curriculum and sharing
career guidance and planning information‖ (p. 83). The benefit to students is a well-
designed seamless transition from high school student to a high wage career. The
benefits to the institutions are improved program offerings, reduced costs, decreased
curriculum duplication, and meeting the needs of the local community, business, industry
and students.

Tech Prep

One high profile articulation model is Tech Prep. Tech Prep is a 2+2 (junior and senior
year of high school articulating into two years at a post-secondary technical center or two
year community college) or 2+2+2 (high school to community college AA degree to
university BA degree). Hull and Parnell (1991) describe Tech Prep:

Two-plus-two programs are articulated, competency-based, technical-vocational
curricula jointly designed by business, secondary, and post-secondary institutions
linking the last two years of secondary education with the first two years of post-
secondary education to produce a strong curriculum containing competencies not
possible to achieve in only two years. (p. 44)

An example of a Tech Prep articulation agreement is one initiated between two Pinellas
County high schools with Pinellas County Technical Education Center and St Petersburg
Junior College in Florida. Students were directed which algebra, business education and
technology education classes to take in high school. The advanced classes would be
considered dual enrollment, eligible for both high school and post-secondary credit. The
student then enrolls at either St Petersburg Junior College or Pinellas Technical
Education Center in the following programs: architectural drafting, civil/structural
drafting, electrical drafting, mechanical drafting, architectural design & construction
technology, building construction technology, electronic engineering technology, or
manufacturing technology.


Gray and Herr (1998) looked closely at enrollment figures and trends for post-secondary
education. They report that of the one million students who took the Scholastic Aptitude
Test, fewer than 10,000 (one percent) indicated they would be going into a technical
field. In 1992, only 11 percent of high school seniors planned on pursuing a technical
degree (p. 264). Twenty percent of Pell Grants and ten percent of Guaranteed Student
Loans go to community college students. Unfortunately, the dropout rate for community
college students is very high: only 23 percent of students return for their second year (p.

In 1991, the difference in mean earnings between individuals with associate degrees and
those with high school diplomas were substantial. Between the ages of 25 - 34, the
average yearly wage was $4,576 more. By age 35 - 44, the difference increased to
$9,007 (National Research Council, 1994, p. 78). Davis and Wessel (1998) cite larger
differences in 1996. A male community college graduate was earning $35,201 compared
to a high school graduate earning $28,000. Female community college graduates earned
$27,311 or thirty-three percent more than high school graduates (p. 153). There appeared
to be no advantage in earnings between an AA and an AS degree.

In a different study of earnings, the American Association of Community Colleges
(2000) report that the median earnings of persons 18 years or older with an associate
degree earned $29,457 in 1996. Individuals with a BA earned $36,525 in the same year.
The National Longitudinal Surveys of Labor Market Experience found that students who
take skills improvement classes instead of degree-seeking programs have a positive
impact of ten percent to 30 percent in earnings over a 14-year period.

Best Practices

Public post-secondary technical centers and community colleges that are successful at
preparing their students for the real world share common features. Courses are designed
with projects that include hands-on applied work, cooperative learning, authentic
learning, academic-vocational integration; and an emphasis on employability,
communication and teamwork skills. The following examples share these attributes and
an additional wow factor that ensures high student motivation and success.

George Stone Center

The George Stone Area Vocational-Technical Center in Pensacola, Florida has a well-
regarded electrical class that places its graduates into high paying jobs within the local
community. The apprenticeship students, under close supervision of qualified electrical
instructors, learn to perform exacting electrical work that meets the standards and laws of
the National Electrical Code. The students work on two continuing applied projects:
maintenance and upgrading of local school district buildings and participation in Habitat
for Humanity.

Pensacola‘s community schools have an constant need for electrical upgrades due to new
technologies and computers. New circuits, lighting fixtures, and fixture repair are
projects the students work on resulting in considerable savings to the local school board.

Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit international housing organization that is dedicated to
providing simple, low cost housing to the poor. These homes require a large amount of
skilled and specialized labors. Electrical apprenticeship students from George Stone have
built over twenty homes from 1995 - 2000 in the Pensacola area. The class completes
entire electrical wiring systems including the main power panel, and installs receptacles,
smoke alarms, cable TV, heating, and air conditioning wiring. Completed projects give
students a strong feeling of pride, personal satisfaction and reinforced concepts of

personal ethics (Cotton, 2000).

Ozarks Technical Community College

The Ozarks Technical Community College (OTC) in Springfield, Missouri has a
manufacturing technology program that participated in the NASA Fourth Annual Moon
Buggy Competition in 1998. This competition brings together teams of students from
community colleges, university engineering departments and vocational technical schools
to design and construct a lunar roving vehicle to specific tolerances.

The students designed the parts with the use of computer-aided design (CAD) software
and then imported the geometry files into computer-aided manufacturing (CAM)
software to generate lathe tool paths to machine elements of the vehicle. Under a three-
week deadline from receiving the specs to delivering a finished vehicle, these students
learned important skills in teamwork and meeting deadlines. In the actual competition at
Huntsville Space Center, Alabama, the student team took 18th place overall out of a field
of 22 schools.

Orange Technical Education Center

O-TEC Westside Tech is a vocational technical school in Orlando, Florida that has a
program geared towards disabled students. The teachers saw a need for creating real
employability skills within their students. They created Students Working and Training
(SWAT) to bring the work world into the classroom. They opened a cafe, office,
cleaning service, bank and store to simulate job seeking and training skills.

Valencia Community College

Valencia Community College in Orange County, Florida runs a model dental hygiene
training program. This was developed in cooperation with the Osceola County Health
Department, the Senior Resource Alliance and the college. Dental hygienist students are
organized into a dental hygiene rotation that serves medically underserved elderly
patients. Low-income elderly in a medically impoverished rural community receive
comprehensive dental care by the students. The student‘s training is authentic, hands-on
and has an ethical element that is designed to develop the value of selfless public service.

                                           Future Ideas

Authentic Skills

Performance management and standards setting techniques that produce information that
is used for continuous improvement and curriculum coherence are a way of ensuring
educational quality. Standards are educational outcomes expected of students upon
completion of their studies. These standards can provide clearer guidance and direction
to institutions, help focus curriculum on local needs, encourage coordination between

education institutions, and improve evaluation. Standards should be designed that are
process oriented and focus on best practices. The guiding principle of all educational
institutions should be continuous improvement (Albrecht, 1995).

Apprenticeship programs use specific skill standards. The best programs identify, teach,
and certify portable work competencies. A electrician graduate at one school should be
able to be hired anywhere in the United States with skill standard certification.
Employers need to assist in identifying the set of skills required. Schools need to include
vigorous academic and technical skills within their curriculum. This system of school-to-
work programs that include industry-recognized skill standards will benefit graduates of
post-secondary schools and the businesses that hire them.

Work-based training like that offered at George Stone Center and apprenticeship
programs teach students applied skills under optimum learning conditions.
Employability skills that can be learned in these situations include proper work social
skills, teamwork, communication, flexibility, knowledge development, and the value of
doing good work. Satisfying customer, employer and self-expectations can be highly
motivating factors in moving students successfully from post-secondary education into

Virtual Schools

Post-secondary educational institutions at all levels are moving closer to virtual
education. In this paradigm, individuals decide when and how they get their training and
educational services. The explosion of distance learning services, greater bandwidth,
web-based streaming video, virtual reality, and faster computers have made this possible.
Individuals in the near future will be able to decide that they need specific training or
skills. They log into a real time learning course and get the training they need in their
home at their convenience. This releases the student from being hostage to when a
semester starts at a particular location.

There are benefits of this type of education delivery method. Schools with satellite
offices can offer full classes by combining small groups of students from many locations.
Institutions can offer their classes outside the local attendance zone, including nationally
and overseas. The cost of four walls drops tremendously for the institutions. Schools can
be more responsive, flexible and adaptable to change. Curriculum changes and course
offerings can be changed within 24 hours through continuing education departments.
This helps local businesses with their need for trained workers.

Global Education and International Collaboration

The increasing vitality of the global economy has meant change for countries, businesses,
and workers. Countries find that they no longer have control over information and their
local economies. Businesses find that they have to adapt to the new business world and
workers discover that they need new skills to compete globally.

These changes and new realities have been described as a new age of interdependence.
The new global culture is placing new demands on the people of the world. Production is
no longer restricted to geographical location so workers need to be more globally astute.
People need to be more aware of and more effective participants in the global economy.

Global education is the means to teach the world‘s citizens about the globalization trends.
Post-secondary schools can use distance learning tools and research to create a
curriculum that teaches students about international culture, values, and understanding.
This program is accomplished by creating a collaborative program for the students to
unite with partners in other countries. The goals of this collaborative effort are to teach
students in both countries to be more respectful of each other‘s cultures; to be more
aware of the cultural differences; to create long-term friendships between students,
families, schools, communities and countries; and to see the relevance of studying global
issues and perspectives.


Despite countless studies showing the futility of sending waves of unprepared high
school graduates to universities, the parent-supported collegiate surge continues. Another
viable option exists: public post-secondary technical centers and community colleges.
Students that choose these options can save themselves the burden of heavy student loan
debt, start work at high paying jobs earlier and lead a satisfying life.

Post-secondary institutions are rapidly changing. Degree and program choices are
growing exponentially. The public post-secondary technical centers and community
colleges that are successful at preparing their students for the real world have coursework
that reflects the real world of work. Courses are designed to include hands-on applied
work, cooperative learning, authentic learning, academic-vocational integration; and an
emphasis on employability, communication and teamwork skills. These are the skills that
twenty-first century workers need.


        Albrecht, B. (1995). Using skill standards and skill certificates. In N.
Theirs (Ed.), Successful strategies: Building a school-to-careers system (pp. 83-
95). Alexandria, VA: American Vocational Association.

     American Association of Community Colleges. (2000). All about
community colleges. <http://www.aacc.nche.edu/allaboutcc/allabout.htm>

       Brint, S., & Karabel, J. (1989). The diverted dream: Community colleges
and the promise of educational opportunity in America, 1900-1985. New York:
Oxford University Press.

      Cammick, E. (1999). Public vocational-technical education centers. In E.
Cammick (Ed.), Work force educational opportunities: An overview (pp.35-43).
Tampa, FL: The University of South Florida.

      Cotton, A. (2000). Model school programs under construction: The
George stone area vocational-technical center. tech directions, 60(3), 35-37.

      Culpepper, D. (2000). Local control of workforce development.
Unpublished paper.

      Davis, B., & Wessel, D. (1998). Prosperity: The coming 20-year boom
and what it means to you. New York: Random House.

       Florida Department of Education. (1999). The guide to career &
educational planning. Tallahassee, FL: State of Florida.

       Gray, K., & Herr, E. (1998). Workforce education: The basics. Needham
Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

        Grubb, W. (1996). Working in the middle: Strengthening education and
training for the mid-skilled labor force. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

        Hesselberg, B. (1999). Community college. In E. Cammick (Ed.), Work
force educational opportunities: An overview (pp.50-63). Tampa, FL: The
University of South Florida.

       Hull, D., & Parnell, D. (1991). Tech prep associate degree: A win/win
experience. Waco, TX: Center for Occupational Research and Development.

        Moore, P. (1998). The Toledo technology academy. tech directions
58(2), 40-43.

       National Center for Education Statistics. (1999). Students who prepare for
college and a vocation. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education.

       National Research Council. (1994). Preparing for the workplace:
Charting a course for federal post-secondary training policy. Washington, DC:
National Academy Press.

        Parker, C. (1997). Community colleges challenge: Recruiting and
retaining minority students. tech directions, 56(10), 14-16.

      Pasco Hernando Community College. (2000). Student characteristic data.
New Port Richey, FL: Author.

        Pinellas County Tech Prep Consortium. (1992). State of Florida tech prep
articulation manual. St. Petersburg, FL: St. Petersburg Junior College.

         Pirozzoli, D., & Guay, C. (1995). Linking secondary and post-secondary
institutions. In N. Theirs (Ed.), Successful strategies: Building a school-to-
careers system (pp. 83-95). Alexandria, VA: American Vocational Association.

        Seccurro, W., & Thomas, D. (1998). School improvement through tech
prep: How one vocational school changed its program and image. tech directions,
57(8), 22-23.

                            About The Author

Tom Loveland teaches technology education and TV production at Ridgewood
High School in Pasco County, Florida. He is co-founder of the Japan-Florida
Teens Meet Project (JFTMP), an international collaboration between Ridgewood
High School and Mie-Yume-Gakuen High School in Tsu City, Japan. He is a
1998 Fulbright Memorial Fund Scholar and the 2001 Technology Education
Teacher Excellence recipient from the International Technology Education
Association. Tom is currently a doctoral student in Vocational Education-
Curriculum and Instruction at The University of South Florida.

                                           Chapter 8

                     Workforce Education In Alternative Settings
                                      Jeanette Phipps

Workforce education in alternative settings offers students more than a traditional
education. Alternative educational settings provide academic instruction, incorporate
vocational education, and include concepts such as self-esteem, decision-making, and
career exploration. ―Alternative education offers students who have been labeled ‗at-
risk‘ the opportunity to belong and succeed in school and in the next steps of their lives.
The best programs provide a caring and nurturing environment while at the same time
setting clear limits that honor and respect student individuality and capability‖ (Denti and
Guerin, 1999, p. 71). Education provides the opportunity for advancement and
vocational programs are an essential part of the alternative education curriculum. The
most effective alternative education programs provide "hands-on" experiences while
emphasizing employability skills.

This section explores the various aspects of alternative education and the need to reach
this diverse population. Areas such as corrections, rehabilitation, Work and Gain
Economic Self-Sufficiency (WAGES) program, and issues of crime are discussed. A
goal of alternative education is to empower students with the necessary tools to make
positive choices while taking responsibility for their own behaviors. Alternative
education is making great strides in curriculum innovation, while instilling marketable
skills in students. The approach of alternative education is one of retention and providing
students with the tools to master academic and vocational skills to become successful
citizens. This is accomplished by stressing attributes such as social competence, self-
esteem, problem solving skills, autonomy, and instilling a sense of purpose.

Correctional Facilities

The first area discussed is education in correctional facilities and the ability to
pursue an education while incarcerated. This is based on a program, which offers either a
High School Diploma or General Education Diploma (GED). Also, vocational education
offered within these institutions teaches job skills which allows one a means to make a
living by instilling a strong work ethic and providing alternatives to crime. Types of
correctional facilities that offer education include prisons, boot camps, and juvenile
justice facilities. This type of education allows ex-offenders the opportunity to overcome
adversity and become productive citizens in our society.

The Florida Department of Corrections provides academic and vocational education
programs to inmates. Education programs for inmates include literacy, adult basic
education, and GED preparation. The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ)
advocates that prevention programs are more effective in steering juveniles away from
crime than residential programs. ―A recently published study by the RAND Institute

found that programs encouraging high-risk youths to finish school prevent five times as
many crimes as those imposing stiffer penalties‖ (Strategic Plan, 1999, p. 1). The
Department of Juvenile Justice also indicates that illiteracy is a contributing factor of

One form of corrections for juveniles is boot camps. In 1989, the Florida legislature
authorized the creation of juvenile boot camps. Section 39.057(1), F.S., describes a boot
camp as an "...intensive educational and physical training and rehabilitative program for
appropriate children" which requires juveniles to "...participate in educational, vocational,
and substance abuse programs, and to receive additional training in techniques of
appropriate decision-making, as well as in life skills and job skills" (§. 39.057(4), F.S.).
Students may be placed in boot camps in lieu of suspension, expulsion, or being placed in
a residential juvenile facility. Boot camps are designed to instill discipline by using
military type exercise regimens while incorporating educational components. Drill
Instructors put the juveniles through tough, demanding physical workouts and handle
most of the discipline problems. The goal is to deter the student from exhibiting
disruptive and unacceptable behavior. Boot camps may be operated as a Day Treatment
Program or a short-term residential program, which is operated under contract with the
local School Board.

Juvenile residential facilities extend programs on academic and vocational education
along with related services to adjudicated delinquent students. The residential facilities
are staffed with qualified personnel. Certified teachers are responsible for the supervision
of instructional activities and must certify mastery of student performance objectives of
courses for credit toward a standard high school diploma or GED. In this type of facility
the goal of the educational program is for the student to progress toward a High School
Diploma, GED, High School Certificate of Completion, or a Special Diploma for those
with severe learning disabilities.

Some residential facilities incorporate vocational education with academic requirements
to provide the student with employable job skills. ―Affective education through service
learning and social skill building attend to the core reasons for incarceration, and
transition activities are essential to successful re-entry to the community‖ (Guerin &
Denti, 1999, p. 76). The goal of the residential program is to prepare the student to return
to society as a functional citizen.

Rehabilitation Programs

Employee rehabilitation and assistance programs provide employee training, promote
retention, and aid employees in returning to work after a physical or mental incident.
These intervention programs are designed with the employee‘s best interest in mind. The
ultimate goal is to improve the employees‘ health status and have them return to their
rightful place within the working community. The challenge of assisting employees in
need of rehabilitation/assistance services is difficult to accomplish. The services required
are based on personal accommodation. ―These can include wellness and safety programs,
formal employee assistance programs and other counseling support systems‖ (Gottlieb,

1991, p. 27). Other components include prevention activities, skills training, and
interventions which emphasize individual accommodations to optimize productivity.
These types of intervention programs can control costs and promote retention of
employees. ―Many are being convinced that simply allowing people to drop out of the
workforce is no solution because retirement, medical benefits and disability benefits are
major costs that eventually must be borne‖ (Gottlieb, 1991, p. 27). The frustration is felt
by all when employees are on extended leave. It affects overall productivity and becomes
a financial burden to the company.

               Employers have come to realize that it is beneficial to try to retain
               employees. The primary goal of rehabilitation programs is to get the
               employee well and back to a functional capacity as soon as possible. Some
               changes in job duties, according to the injury, may be necessary. It is vital
               that the employer accommodates the employee and maintains compliance
               with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Americans with Disabilities
               Act of 1990 (ADA), references "reasonable accommodations,‖ this
               requirement has placed greater impetus on employers to make job site
               modifications for their employees.
               ―There is an underlying assumption of a disability management program
               that the employee who participates in prevention or intervention activities
               offered by the company will benefit from the program, which turns back
               into an advantage for the employer. In short, this support structure is
               believed to be mutually beneficial to the employer and employee‖
               (Gottlieb, 1991, p. 31). Vocational rehabilitation programs focus on
               retraining employees for suitable positions or assist with treatment needed
               to return to a productive status. Helping employees rehabilitate and return
               to work, in turn decreases the number of absences, increases company
               productivity and promotes retention of competent, experienced employees.

WAGES Program/Welfare-to-Work

In 1996 the federal government passed welfare reform legislation. Consequently, since
that time national welfare rolls have declined around 37 percent resulting in 5.2 million
fewer recipients on welfare (Temporary Assistance, 1998). States were given guidelines
to reform their public assistance program. While there are variations across states, some
of the agencies that have been involved in workforce development systems are the
Employment Agency, community colleges, other vocational and adult education
providers, and vocational rehabilitation providers.

The Florida the Legislature enacted the Work and Gain Economic Self-Sufficiency or
simply WAGES Program in 1996. The local Jobs and Education Regional Workforce
Development Board is the same entity that serves as the WAGES Coalition. WAGES
replaced the state‘s entitlement-based welfare system with a new endeavor to help
welfare recipients successfully re-enter the workforce. ―WAGES is a cooperative effort
of the Florida Department of Labor & Employment Security, Department of Children &
Families, and local WAGES coalitions, in partnership with the Department of Health,

Department of Education, Department of Community Affairs, and Enterprise Florida‖
(About WAGES, 1999, p.1).

The Welfare-to-Work program is an addendum to the WAGES program. One eligibility
requirement is the person must be a WAGES recipient. The Welfare-to-Work program is
offered in coordination with the WAGES program under the Workforce Development
Board. The intent is to assist the hard-to-employ and long-term welfare recipients into
employment and self-sufficiency.

               Educational agencies are linked to the Workforce Board/WAGES
               Coalition through formal membership. The Workforce Boards are
               mandated to have representation from various community agencies such
               as public educational institutions, Vocational Rehabilitation, Economic
               Development, public assistance, and Jobs and Benefits. Also, to promote
               coordination, the Workforce Board districts are aligned to match the
               community college districts.
               Clients qualify for services based on the following: welfare recipient,
               income level, teen parent, or displaced single parent. Most importantly,
               this legislation places time limits in which one can receive welfare
               benefits. Depending on the circumstance, welfare recipients have either
               24 or 36 months to find work and leave the welfare rolls, with a maximum
               of four years for cash assistance (WAGES, 1998, p. 1). Program
               requirements include:
                Provide targeted Welfare-to-Work funds to high poverty areas with
                   large numbers of hard-to-employ welfare recipients.
                Facilitate the placement of hard-to-employ welfare recipients into
                   transitional employment opportunities, which will lead to lasting
                   unsubsidized employment and self-sufficiency.
                Provide a variety of activities, grounded in the WAGES ―work first‖
                   philosophy, to prepare individuals for, and to place them in, lasting
                   unsubsidized employment.
                Provide for a variety of post-employment and job retention services,
                   which will assist the hard-to-employ welfare recipient to secure lasting
                   unsubsidized employment. (Welfare-to-Work, 1998, p. 4)

The types of alternative education services that community colleges provide for
WAGES/Welfare-to-Work clients include:

Classroom instructional programs including General Education Diploma (GED), Adult
Basic Education (ABE), Adult Secondary Education, English as a Second Language
(ESOL), Associate in Arts (AA), Associate in Science (AS), and Vocational Certificate
programs, incumbent worker training, as well as specialized courses and programs.
Instruction is provided in classroom settings, as well as through broadcast television and
on-line media. Counseling, financial aid, specialized intake, processing, support services,
training and employment services, job placement assistance and follow-up. (Heartland,

Opportunities through WAGES/Welfare-to-Work program include payment for tuition,
books, transportation, childcare for single parent, and other support services. WAGES
Coalitions have linkages with local Technical Preparation/School-To-Work programs.
The emphasis is to support these programs. Participants may be assigned to GED, ABE,
On-the-Job Training, vocational certificate, AA, AS, Bachelor of Arts (BA), or Bachelor
of Science (BS) degree programs. ―Vocational education or training is designed to
provide the participant with the basic skills and certification necessary for employment in
an occupational area. Vocational education or training may be used as a primary work
activity for participants when successful completion is likely to result in employment at a
higher wage than the participant would have been likely to attain without completion of
the vocational education or training‖ (About WAGES, 1999, p. 5). The educational
component is an integral part in the success of WAGES/Welfare-to-Work participants in
continuing employment and becoming self-sufficient.

                           Rationale for Alternative Education
Economic Gains

Change is possible only when the disadvantaged become more involved in their own
lives. Through education a person begins to realize their true worth, not only to
themselves, but also to society. Sagor makes the argument …that the two social ends
sought through public educational policy are the following:

       1. Preparation for democratic citizenship for the sake of the individual citizen
          and the health of the society of which he or she is a part, and

       2. Providing each individual with the opportunity to take advantage of the widest
          possible range of vocational and avocational options. (1999, p. 72)

Receiving an education can change the way a person views themselves, thus improving
their self-esteem and giving them the courage to believe in themselves and realize their
true potential. ―In modern America, economic imperatives, as well as popular opinion
(Rose and Gallup 1968-98), have made it abundantly clear that one‘s educational
experience correlates directly with an entire range of future opportunities, including one‘s
potential and adult life status‖ (Sagor, 1999, p. 72). Career and technical education
prepares both youth and adults for a wide range of career opportunities and to assume
socially constructive and productive roles in society. Finally, Sagor states, ―schooling
rightfully positions one for participation in a competitive economy‖ (1999, p. 72).
Alternative education programs are a means to provide relevant academic and vocational
education to the ―at-risk‖ population.


Recidivism Rates

Recidivism rates indicate those experiencing a relapse into criminal behavior, and these
rates are used to evaluate program effectiveness. ―The Florida Department of Corrections
defines the standard recidivism rate as the percentage of inmates who, within two years
of release from prison, commit any crime that leads to another term of incarceration or
community supervision with this agency‖ (Recidivism Report, 1999, p. 1). Florida
Department of Corrections indicates the latest calculated recidivism rate is 32.4 percent.
Recidivism rates for the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice utilizes a time frame of
one year instead of two. The definition of recidivism for DJJ is, "The percentage of
juveniles adjudicated or had adjudication withheld in juvenile court or convicted in adult
court, for a crime which occurred within one year of release from a DJJ commitment
program, and within one year of release from aftercare‖ (Strategic Plan, 1999, p. 1). The
rate of recidivism in moderate risk programs is 46.6 percent (Strategic Plan, 1999).

Economics of Crime

Crime rates are a concern of society at large. Crime places a financial, as well as
emotional burden on those adversely affected. Findings indicate that the cost of crime in
the United States approaches $450 billion per year (Strategic Plan, 1999, p. 3). The
following information gives an approximate breakdown of the cost of various crimes.
―They estimate that the 1992 dollar cost for the average crime was $17,000 for murder,
$1,800 for assault, $2,900 for robbery, $1,200 for burglary, $200 for larceny, and $4,000
for auto theft. Estimates of quality-of-life costs were $2.7 million for murder, $10,200 for
assault, $14,900 for robbery, and $400 for burglary‖ (Becsi, 1999, p.38). This
information substantiates the necessity to promote interventions to crime. Alternative
education is a powerful intervention to prevent such inappropriate behavior.

Return on Investment

It is difficult to substantiate cost-effectiveness and accurately disclose a return on
investment for preventive interventions. ―It is estimated that for every $1 spent on
prevention, $10 is saved from the cost of future incarceration‖ (Strategic Plan, 1999, p.
3). Also, it is proposed that correctional education has a return rate of $1.66 for every
$1.00 invested in one year of academic study and after two years of education instruction
the rate increases to $3.20 returned per $1.00 invested (Return on Investment, 1999).
Clearly, education is a cost-effective measure to steer ‗at-risk‘ individuals away from a
life of crime.

Enterprises for Corrections
Prisoner Rehabilitative Industries and Diversified Enterprises, Inc. (PRIDE) is a not-for-
profit correctional work program. ―PRIDE has experience and expertise in working in a
secure prison environment providing for on-the-job training, job placement and support
for ex-offenders to help them successfully transition back into society after a period of
incarceration‖ (Annual Report, 1999, p. 1). ―PRIDE operates a variety of industries
including Furniture Manufacturing, Agriculture, Digital Print Technologies, Textiles, and

other General Manufacturing (Annual, 1999, p. 2). PRIDE prepares inmates with the
ability to acquire a job skill and the opportunity for on-the-job training. PRIDE strives to
instill a work ethic and sense of self-pride that employers are constantly searching for.
―These initiatives help improve and expand job training opportunities for people in prison
and others with extreme barriers to employment, such as welfare recipients and ex-
offenders who have limited or no job skills‖ (Annual Report, 1999, p. 2).
―Approximately 84 percent of Pride‘s former workers do not return to crime, an indicator
that ―real world‖ job training is a positive contributor to public safety. In fact, PRIDE‘s
average recommitment rate over the past five years has hovered at less than half the
national average, 16 percent vs. 40 percent‖ (Annual Report, 1999, p. 2). The primary
goal of PRIDE is to prepare the participants to become successful employees in today‘s
workforce. Through increased self esteem and vocational education some participants
even have the dream and desire to start their own business. Either way, the majority of
those participating return to society and become gainfully employed members of the

APYA Program Description

The Avon Park Youth Academy (APYA) is a residential, educational, and treatment
program designed to serve juvenile offenders placed by the Florida Department of
Juvenile Justice. The Academy is designed to address the educational, vocational, social,
and emotional needs of its residents with the goal of preparing them for a successful
return to the community as students or, more often, trained graduates who are ready to
join the workforce. All youth assigned to the Avon Park Youth Academy are between
the ages of 16 to 18 years and the average length of stay is nine months. Recidivism rates
for youth released from APYA is 10.9 percent after one year. Youth are assigned to
vocational trade groups which offer their services for hire within the community.
Students are trained in areas such as, auto detail, landscaping and lawn maintenance,
horticulture, and catering.

Educational Component

Avon Park Youth Academy operates a ―Second Chance‖ school under contract with the
Polk County School Board. Goals of the ―Second Chance Schools‖ are to assess and
provide students with services that meet their unique needs. APYA addresses topics such
as: vocational education, academic remediation, social skills, workplace skills and
competencies, career exploration, and development of self-esteem (DJJ). Upon
placement at APYA, each student‘s transcript is evaluated to determine progress toward
graduation. A student entering with the appropriate amount of credit for his age will be
given the opportunity of continuing with his education according to the Polk County
Pupil Progression Plan. Those students who are continuing their accumulation of credits
in pursuit of a high school diploma will be assigned courses consistent with their current
standing. All students in this track will meet required hours of instruction and will meet
Sunshine State Standards for individual course credit. However, it is anticipated that the
majority of the students will enter with a grade placement well below age expectancy.

These students will be placed at their last documented grade level and will pursue a
curriculum designed to prepare them for taking and passing the GED.

All students receive instruction in the language arts, mathematics, and GED preparation.
The instruction is individually prescribed based on diagnostic tests administered before
instruction begins. Instruction is facilitated by a teacher and a classroom aide. Science
and social studies are taught using an integrated, thematic approach in a regular
classroom setting and supplemented by computer software. Also, each student
participates in behavioral/emotional treatment programs. Students attend academic
classes for two hours during the day and five hours are spent in vocational instruction.

Vocational Component

Avon Park Youth Academy offers vocational education and direct hands-on experience
in the areas of auto detailing, building arts, landscaping and lawn maintenance,
horticulture, and culinary arts. These entities are operated as separate businesses. An
instructor is assigned to oversee and train the students in the skills appropriate for each
area. The students work in the assigned vocational area, performing duties such as
ordering supplies, designing, preparing products, construction, maintenance, repairing,
and troubleshooting. Money generated through sales of goods and services is returned to
the vocational budget to purchase supplies and equipment. The students gain an overview
of the requirements of running a successful business. When students are released from
APYA they possess the skills needed to procure employment or explore the possibility of
starting their own business.

              Future Trends of Workforce Education in Alternative Settings

The number of students attending nontraditional schools is increasing. ―Many of these
students exhibit learning difficulties and behavioral problems, and many have suffered
neglect or abuse. Although these students are not unlike a sizable portion of youth on
any campus, they have been identified and clustered together at separate sites such as
alternative high school programs, children‘s shelters, community schools for suspended
students, court schools, and ranches, and state detention facilities‖ (Guerin & Denti,
1999, p. 76). Like all forms of education, in order to be effective, educators must adapt
and constantly change methods and the way in which students are instructed, especially
those students in alternative education settings. They are exceptional students and need
to be dealt with differently. ―However, defining and legitimizing alternative education
has been a formidable challenge. In recent years, programs have grown in size and
maturity, evolving with unique characteristics and specialized instructional approaches‖
(Denti & Guerin, 1999, p. 71).

Alternative education programs must represent a meaningful, proactive choice for
students that are unsuccessful in traditional school settings. ―Many at-risk persons lack
even the most basic academic skills, not to mention the higher order thinking, reasoning,
and problem-solving skills required in today‘s workplace‖ (Brown, 1998, p. 3). The

workforce depends on the educational system to supply competent, self-directed
employees; alternative educational programs can assist students in developing the
necessary skills to succeed in the workplace. Alternative education programs can be the
determining factor in whether a student succeeds or fails. Alternative education
curriculum must continue to stress educational benefits while emphasizing vocational
development. Alternative workforce education is a viable option for recruiting and
retaining ‗at-risk‘, hard to reach students while providing direction for their future.
Alternative workforce educational entities can serve as the coordinating agency to
strengthen services to ‗at-risk‘ youth, incarcerated individuals, working women, single
parents, and unwed teen parents. By offering services in the community in various
formats affords every individual the opportunity to realize their vocational goals.
―Vocational programs that contain formal, ongoing coordination of academic and
vocational content are more likely to prepare students with these skills, which is why the
integration of academic and vocational education is increasingly recognized as a critical
component of model programs for at-risk populations‖ (Brown, 1998, p. 3). It is
obviously a combination of many components that assist students in overcoming
obstacles. As educators in general, we must strive to foster a nurturing and safe
environment where students are encouraged to learn and achieve both academic and
vocational success and advancement. Alternative workforce education programs are
offering such an environment.


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                                About the Author
Jeanette Phipps is the Vocational Business Manager at Avon Park Youth Academy. She
holds a BS in Animal Science from Florida A & M University, a MPH in Public Health
Administration from University of South Florida, and pursuing a PhD in Educational
Leadership from University of South Florida. Prior to joining APYA, she was an
Operations and Management Consultant with Highlands County Health Department.


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