Saturday, July 26, 2008

Career Programs Stress College, Too, and Give Students a Leg Up, Study Says

Published: June 26, 2008

Forget the old-fashioned “vocational ed” classes that sent students on a decidedly noncollege track. Over the last quarter-century, a new kind of high school program known as a career academy has proliferated, especially in low-income districts, that combines job placement, college preparation and classes beyond the vocational trades, from accounting to health care.

Now, a long-term and rigorous evaluation of nine career academies across the country, to be released in Washington on Friday, has found that eight years after graduation, participants had significantly higher employment and earnings than similar students in a control group.

Poverty experts called the findings encouraging because few interventions with low-income teenagers, especially blacks and Hispanics, have shown significant and lasting effects, and they come at a time when young minority men, especially, are losing ground disastrously in the job market.

Career academies offer students experience in the workplace, and help them get paying jobs while they pursue standard academic coursework. When the study, by the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation, began 15 years ago, there were fewer than 500 career academies in the United States. Today there are more than 2,500, and the new findings are likely to spur more growth, several experts said.

The participants were mainly Hispanic and black, and the schools had emphases including business, tourism, health care and electronics, with students enrolled for three or four years.

Read more HERE

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