Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.
Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.
OCR for page 125
Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings 7 From School to Work About one-half of high school graduates in the United States do not go on to college, and of those who do, less than 25 percent obtain 4-year degrees. Yet the array of programs and services available to college-bound students completely overshadows those available to non-college-bound students. Students planning to attend college receive comprehensive academic offerings that are linked to college requirements; counseling is available to help them make decisions and to see the connection between academic achievement and college acceptance; once accepted into college, financial assistance is often available; and most institutions offer a variety of orientation services to help adolescents adjust to their new life. For the larger number of adolescents who do not attend or finish college, however, assistance is far more limited. While in school, students are often tracked into low-quality classes that provide little stimulus and few academic benefits. In most schools, vocational education is the only specialized program offering for students who do not intend to go to college, and most schools have few services to help these adolescents obtain suitable employment. For example, the job placement function takes less of school counselors' time than any other major job duty (Chapman and Katz, 1981; Grant Foundation, 1988b). After school, there is no institutional bridge or system to help non-college youth make the transition from school to work—unlike most other industrialized countries. As discussed below, the
OCR for page 126
Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings Job Training and Partnership Act (JTPA) constitutes the most organized "system" for school-to-work transitions. Unfortunately, JTPA is quite small relative to the need it addresses, and its contribution is severely limited in terms of financial resources, scope, and program approach. Indeed, from the end of compulsory education at age 16 through the age of 24, the federal government invests less than one-half as much—perhaps as little as one-seventh—in the education and training of each non-college youth as it does for each college youth (U.S. General Accounting Office, 1990b; Grant Foundation, 1988b). After a brief overview of the status of youth after high school, this chapter focuses on the two major government-supported programs for helping adolescents make the transition into the labor market: vocational education in the schools and the employment and training programs funded under JTPA and demonstrations programs supported by foundations. We do not consider other programs that might be included within the "transition system," such as community-based youth organizations, proprietary schools, community colleges, the military, or the juvenile justice system. For most adolescents not moving into college, the primary transitional opportunities lie in vocational education in the secondary school and in employment and training programs.1 THE DIFFICULT TRANSITION TO THE LABOR MARKET: LACK OF A SYSTEM Providing an accurate picture of what happens to young people in the school-to-work transition is enormously difficult because the sorting-out process involves myriad decision paths, and there are no surveys to track those who drop out of school. The most comprehensive analysis of postsecondary experiences is a 1991 RAND study, After High School, Then What? (Haggstrom et al., 1991), which merged a number of survey data bases to construct a comprehensive picture of the high school graduating classes of 1980 and 1982. Overall, the high school graduation rate has consistently run at less than 75 percent of the 17-year-olds since the 1 The Committee on Postsecondary Education and Training for the Workplace at the National Research Council is completing a comprehensive study of federal programs that provide training for individuals beyond high school age who seek jobs that do not require a 4-year college degree. Its report is expected to be published in fall 1993.
OCR for page 127
Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings mid-1970s, although some dropouts subsequently obtain GED (general equivalency diploma) degrees, and many later pursue training in community colleges and vocational-technical schools. Initially, however, a large number flounder and are not employed in the legitimate economy: in 1982, the unemployment rates for recent high school dropouts were 28.1 percent for males and 21.5 percent for females (Haggstrom et al., 1991). Table 7-1 shows the main activity of 1980 high school graduates in the October following their graduation: overall, 14.6 percent are not employed or in education or training programs. Among minority youth, however, a much higher percentage fail to make immediate connections, 28.8 percent for blacks. The sorting-out process continues over the next 5 years as some students drop out of college or training programs, others enter 2- or 4-year colleges, and still others leave the jobs they started immediately following graduation and seek training for specific fields of employment. As the RAND study noted (Haggstrom et al., 1991:52): … many if not most high school seniors have only vague notions as to where they are headed and how they will get there … lacking clear cut objectives and being subject to myriad factors that can deflect them from their pursuits, many will experience numerous diversions and setbacks before they find their niches in the adult world. Left to themselves, then, many high school graduates flounder in the labor market, either jobless or obtaining jobs with low wages and little opportunity for advancement. These difficulties are illustrated by the labor market "inactivity rates" of young people—the percentage of the population that is not employed, serving in the military, or enrolled in school (employment-to-population ratios). High inactivity rates begin immediately after high school: a recent study showed that after graduation, 19.5 percent of blacks, 14.3 percent of Hispanics, and 9.2 percent of whites were not working or in school; 2 years later, 50 percent of blacks, 42 percent of Hispanics, and 32 percent of whites who had been inactive remained inactive (Fernandez, 1990). And for those who do make it into the labor market, a compounding problem is that full-time employment seems harder to obtain. As shown in Table 7-2, 72 percent of all young adult males not enrolled in school were working full time in 1968; by 1988, only about 50 percent of all eligible male workers had full-time employment. Similar declines are witnessed for young women. For young blacks and Hispanics, both male and female, it is even harder to find full-time employment. And for young adults who have failed to graduate from high school, the opportunities for
OCR for page 128
Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings TABLE 7-1 Main Activity of High School Graduates in October: Class of 1980 Main Activity in October Following Graduation (percent) Student Demographic Group Number (in 1,000s) 4-Year College 2-Year College Vocational/Technical School Military Service Civilian Employment Other All 3,021 29.4 11.1 5.3 2.6 37.1 14.6 Male 1,485 28.3 11.0 5.0 4.5 39.4 11.8 Female 1,536 30.4 11.1 5.6 0.7 34.9 17.3 Race/Hispanic origin White 2,466 31.3 11.1 5.6 2.2 37.3 12.4 Black 341 24.0 8.1 3.8 4.6 30.7 28.8 Asian/Pacific Islander 45 37.3 19.2 2.3 3.1 22.9 15.2 Native American 15 13.2 13.9 5.8 3.8 42.2 21.1 Hispanic 154 17.8 12.2 4.9 3.0 43.2 18.7 SOURCE: Adapted from haggstrom et al. (1991:87).
OCR for page 129
Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings TABLE 7-2 Employment-to-Population Ratios of High School Graduates (aged 16-24) Not Enrolled in College, 1968-1986 Year Males Females 1968 72.1 57.0 1974 69.6 47.6 1986 48.9 41.9 1988 52.4 33.8 Black 37.6 20.3 Hispanic 47.5 26.6 White 56.9 38.9 NOTE: Employment is full time. SOURCE: Calculated from data presented in Grant Foundation (1988a); Sum and Fogg (1991). full-time work are extremely limited (Holzer, 1991; see also Chapter 2). Adolescents from low-income families face the most difficulties. They are the least likely to attend college, and they also fare substantially worse on all measures of employment success than do their peers from more affluent families. For those under 20, being raised in a low-income family is the strongest predictor of labor market inactivity (Sum and Fogg, 1991). The United States differs from most other industrialized countries in its reliance on market forces to effect the transition of young people from school to work. This does not mean that the United States does not have a range of programs. For example, vocational education courses are provided in most secondary schools. Nonprofit training organizations under JTPA and Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) offer a range of employment and training programs for students who are performing poorly in school and for dropouts who have not obtained steady employment. Employment and training services are also offered to out-of-school youth through the Carl Perkins Vocational Education Act, the National Community Service Act, and the McKinney Act for homeless families. Some nonprofit community-based programs also provide employment and training. With age, other opportunities become available: many young people, usually older than
OCR for page 130
Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings 24, receive employment-related training through technical institutions, community colleges, and proprietary schools. However, it is difficult to consider this range of programs a ''system," and the various programs are not well tailored to the needs of adolescents and young adults. Youth provisions in the Perkins Act (vocational education) and JTPA (as proposed in current legislative amendments) generally reflect "add-ons" to policies for adults, rather than efforts to target young people for specialized service, as is the case in most European countries (Hahn 1992). There are few structural links among the various programs; in fact, there are strong policy disincentives to such program collaborations (Lerman and Pouncy, 1990; Grubb et al., 1990). And also, in contrast to other industrialized countries, the school-to-work transition system that does exist in the United States currently acts almost exclusively on the supply side of the labor market equation. This has not always been the case: for example, as recently as 1979 an estimated 40 percent of all jobs held by black teenagers were generated by employment and training programs (Betsey et al., 1985). In the absence of federal policy guidance, there have been a number of state and local efforts to create school-to-work transition systems with an integrated array of services for young people. School and work linkages have been established through cooperative education, apprenticeship, and other work-based learning programs (see Chapter 10). However, only an estimated 3 to 8 percent of all high school students are enrolled in such programs (Grant Foundation, 1988a; U.S. General Accounting Office, 1991). There are also a small number of multisite research and demonstration programs—typically funded by foundations—that seek to involve both public and private agencies to provide options for low-achieving students and dropouts to move into the labor market. VOCATIONAL EDUCATION Traditionally, helping adolescents make the transition into the labor market has not been an explicit part of the mission of public schools in the United States (Grant Foundation, 1988b; Bishop, 1989). As a result, vocational education remains isolated from both academic instruction and the labor market, and vocational education is seen as having little value among school administrators and teachers, many of whom argue that vocational education has become a dumping ground. The extent of the stigma is disputed, but there is little disagreement that vocational education
OCR for page 131
Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings and its administrators, teachers, and students have become isolated from the mainstream of secondary education, and that recent reforms have done little to reduce this isolation (Wirt, 1991; Gray, 1991; Rosenstock, 1991). And while private employers have increasingly established ties with schools, formal school-to-work transition programs continue to be the exception (Hamilton, 1990). An estimated 97 percent of all students take at least one vocational class (often typing) during their high school careers (Wirt, 1991). This level of participation is declining, however, and in many comprehensive high schools, vocational offerings have dwindled to typing and other business-oriented classes, home economics, agriculture (in rural schools), and an assortment of courses in industrial arts or technology (Gray, 1991; Strickland et al., 1989). Increasingly, comprehensive high schools are unable to offer a coherent or progressive sequence of courses in many occupational areas. At least one-half of the students who take vocational courses do so unsystematically, whether by choice or lack of opportunity, and consequently fail to acquire vocationally useful training (Grubb et al., 1991; Hamilton, 1990). In contrast, a small number of specialized schools—such as vocational high schools (usually in metropolitan areas) and area vocational centers (usually in rural areas)—provide excellent vocational training and a more varied curriculum (Weisberg, 1983). Within this context, inequalities in program quality exist between poor and affluent schools. Although federal law targets funds to economically depressed areas, such efforts appear insufficient and have shown mixed success. Analyses indicate that programs in schools with high concentrations of low-income and low-achieving students are of significantly poorer quality than programs in other schools (Hayward and Wirt, 1989; Anderson, 1982; Oakes, 1986a,b). Specifically, poor schools (those that ranked in the bottom quartile of average family income and academic ability of the students) were 40 percent less likely than schools in the top quartile to be able to send students to a vocational high school or area vocational center; poor schools offered vocational education in one-third fewer program areas; and poor schools offered less than half the number of advanced courses in a sequence of two or more occupationally specific courses. There has been extensive debate as to whether vocational education serves a class-sorting function. There are some data indicating that students who take more vocational education classes are those who have been perceived historically as being destined for nonprofessional work, particularly women and students from
OCR for page 132
Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings minority families and families of blue-collar workers (those with semi-skilled or unskilled jobs); others point out, however, that high-achieving students also take vocational education courses (Powell et al., 1985; Wirt, 1991; Oakes, 1986a; Crowley et al., 1983). It is clear, however, that the sorting occurs within vocational education programs. Specifically, low-achieving students and students from blue-collar families, as well as women and minorities, are more likely to be placed in vocational programs that are deemed to be of low quality or to have little potential for future employment, and less likely to be placed in those programs that are deemed to be directly applicable to students' successful transition to the labor market. For example, high-achieving males are five times more likely than low-achieving males to earn credits in technical and communication courses, an important finding given the current emphasis on training for high-technology fields. Indeed, the consistent finding that young women are most likely to benefit from vocational training is due in part to their overrepresentation in business and office-oriented training (Bishop, 1989; Wirt, 1991; Hoachlander et al., 1992; Hayward and Wirt, 1989). Effects on Occupational Success If vocational education had benefits comparable to the regular curriculum, concerns over sorting might be lessened. Unfortunately, vocational education has at best mixed effects on occupational success. There is abundant evidence that the vocational education system has been only marginally successful in helping its students make the transition from schooling to work. For example, when vocational education graduates are placed in jobs for which they have related training, their earnings are significantly higher than would otherwise be expected on the basis of compensation for the investment costs (e.g., tuition, foregone wages) of the specialized training. Unfortunately, however, in too many vocational education programs, there is only a tenuous connection between training and placement (Bishop, 1989), and after these programs, there is no increase in earnings to offset the cost of training, and few participants find employment appropriate to their training. Finally, vocational students seldom accrue long-term benefits in comparison with other students, in terms of income, employment, or job status (Meyer, 1981; Campbell and Basinger, 1985; Wirt et al., 1989; Hamilton, 1990; Grubb and Lazerson, 1975; Gray, 1991).
OCR for page 133
Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings There are many reasons for this pattern of findings. First, self-selection contributes to this lack of effectiveness. Many students—perhaps one-half of those enrolled in vocational programs—have no intention of entering the vocation for which they are ostensibly being trained. Others enter vocational classes because they find them more congenial than academic classes or because they believe that the knowledge and skills being taught are more applicable to the "real world" than those taught in their other courses (Claus, 1986). In brief, vocational education provides a comfortable place, and an alternative, for students who do not do well in academic classes; but it is career preparation only for a small minority of them (Berryman, 1982; Hamilton, 1990). Another reason for the lack of payoff is that vocational education is often a haphazard array of courses that are not conceptually or programmatically linked. Yet research suggests that a well-planned vocational program can have positive benefits for participants: students who take a coherent series of courses in a single specialty demonstrated somewhat higher rates of employment and earnings than graduates of the general track, and students who were able to find jobs specifically related to their training had higher labor force participation, lower unemployment, and higher earnings than comparable graduates of the general track (Campbell et al., 1981). Finally, employers often do not want to risk hiring recent graduates in a loose job market, especially given the reputation of vocational education courses (Reisner and Balasubramaniam, 1989). If placing students in related employment is the goal of vocational education, then cooperative education (a model in which students earn academic credit for working with employers) is the most effective means (U.S. General Accounting Office, 1990b). The reason for its success appears to be that employers are more likely to make an employment commitment if they can "try out" students in a training capacity (Hamilton, 1990). Effects on School Achievement and Attainment The notion that vocational education may serve as a mechanism for imparting basic and higher-order academic skills has received little research attention. The most sophisticated study, using longitudinal data from the High School and Beyond project, examined the achievement scores of males during 3 years of high school (Ekstrom et al., 1986). Controlling for individual differences, it found that students in academic courses gained 0.13 of a
OCR for page 134
Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings standard deviation over 3 years, but that those in vocational courses gained 0.03 standard deviation. This small but statistically significant difference indicates that vocational courses, in general, have little effect on academic achievement. In contrast, vocational programs that are specifically designed to enhance achievement may have greater potential. One study, for example, found that vocational students who continue to take demanding academic courses, and whose vocational courses also include substantive academic content, gain in basic skills at a rate comparable to that of academic students (Kang and Bishop, 1988). Similarly, data from the National Assessment of Vocational Education reveal that students who took "mathematics-related" vocational education courses (e.g., electronics, drafting, accounting, agricultural science) showed achievement gains comparable to those of students in traditional mathematics courses, while vocational students in "non-mathematics-related" classes showed no gains (Meyer, 1989). And even this finding is narrow: the effects on student learning were only for work-bound students and not for college-bound students, suggesting that the content of the courses is pitched at a low level or that other factors are at work (Wirt, 1991). Furthermore, "mathematics-related" courses account for less than 20 percent of the vocational curriculum. Vocational education does appear to reduce dropout rates, although vocational students are still more likely to leave school before graduation than are college preparatory or general track students. This finding seems to result from the "dumping ground" phenomenon: potential dropouts often transfer into vocational education as a last resort, and many students who stay in school do so because of their vocational courses (Grant Foundation, 1988b). Yet vocational education does little to motivate students to progress to higher education. Students who concentrate on vocational courses have lower educational aspirations than general students, but, even after controlling for initial differences, they are less likely to enroll in postsecondary education, and when they do, they are more likely to enroll in technical schools than in 4-year colleges (Mertens, 1983). The "tech prep" approach represents a promising new development in bridging high school vocational training and community college education. As defined by Hoerner (1991:2): [Tech prep is an] articulated educational program of two years of high school and two years of postsecondary preparation which includes a common core of math, science, communications, and technologies designed to lead to an associate degree or certification in a specific career field.
OCR for page 135
Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings The distinctive features of tech prep include not only a well-defined or articulated educational program, but a stress on the importance of applied academics (Hull and Parnell, 1991). Math, science, communications, and social studies are stressed as the foundation for study of more technical courses, and competency-based curriculums provide students with skills that support working during school if needed. An important element of tech prep programs is a carefully constructed interface between high schools and community colleges. Although they show promising early results, innovations such as tech prep have not yet been widely implemented or evaluated. For the currently implemented vocational education programs that have been evaluated, the data clearly indicate little impact on students' occupation or academic success. EMPLOYMENT AND TRAINING PROGRAMS There have been four fundamental shifts in employment policy for youth over the past 20 years. In 1973, the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) emphasized the creation of subsidized jobs in the public sector. The assumption was that if youth had supervised employment for a sufficient period of time, they would then be able to gain a foothold in the labor market. By 1977, disillusioned with the administration of CETA and its effectiveness, Congress amended CETA with the Youth Employment Demonstration Program Act (YEDPA). YEDPA had two primary, but occasionally, conflicting objectives: (1) to build service delivery infrastructure to meet the needs of large numbers of youth (the peak of the baby boom swell for teenagers was fast approaching in the early 1980s); and (2) to support a knowledge development process of research and demonstration projects to learn what works for youth. A wide range of initiatives retained the fundamental CETA principles—specifically, that work experience was the most effective "second-chance" opportunity—but also recognized that such work needed to be supplemented or preceded by occupational skills training or labor-market-preparation courses. In 1983, before evaluations of YEDPA were completed, a new Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA) placed special emphasis on placing people into private-sector jobs, containing costs, and assuring program accountability. Programmatically, there was also a significant shift away from serving the most disadvantaged youth: by 1985, less than 30 percent of participants were high school dropouts. The programs became shorter, with a strong emphasis
OCR for page 140
Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings ''convincing evidence that the employment deficit is not of the youths' making. The shortage is jobs, not motivation" (Gueron, 1984). Job Corps was the most comprehensive program offered during the YEDPA years. Job Corps began in the mid-1960s and was continued under YEDPA. Rather than focusing on work experience, Job Corps emphasized basic skills training, supportive services, occupational training, and job placement services for highly disadvantaged youth. Two models were implemented: (1) a residential program for out-of-school youth, reflecting the belief that youth needed a sustained period of time removed from high-risk settings; and (2) a nonresidential program offering similar services to in-school youth. Of all the YEDPA programs, Job Corps showed the most powerful positive effects for one group (Betsey et al., 1985). For those in the residential program, increased earnings and improved social behavior were found in a 4-year follow-up (Mallar et al., 1982). Overall, those who maintained consistent participation in the year-long program showed the most favorable employment outcomes. In contrast, in-school youth (those in the nonresidential program) did not appear to benefit, although for some research questions the data were not reliable (Betsey et al., 1985). These residential-nonresidential differences were generally replicated in a closer examination of different Job Corps models, although the analysis also pointed out that this element represents only one of many factors that ultimately determine the effectiveness of Job Corps Programs (Public/Private Ventures, 1987b). A review by Public/Private Ventures (1987a) concluded that findings from YEDPA offer a somewhat unreliable mixture of assertions and of positive and negative findings. Nevertheless, a number of lessons can be learned by integrating the findings of the impact studies with the insights gained across many YEDPA evaluations, including some that did not meet the methodological standards of the National Research Council study (Hahn and Lerman, 1984): Young women are more likely than young men to benefit from employment and training programs, yet services too often direct women to a limited range of occupations. Comprehensive residential programs appear to have the strongest effects among programs for which reliable data exist. Single-purpose "categorical" programs (e.g., those that offer only subsidized employment or job training) are less effective than programs that offer a range of services. The only exceptions are
OCR for page 141
Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings skills training and directed job search programs, which may also have short-term effects when implemented as categorical programs. In almost all programs, short-term projects have only short-term effects, and short-term effects erode over time. Young people who spend more time in programs or employment settings are more likely to have sustained gains. In short, the data suggest that different combinations of work experience, skills training, academic remediation, and job placement are most likely to produce positive outcomes. Unfortunately, available data do little to identify the most favorable combination of program services, or the services that may work for in-school youth compared with out-of-school youth. JTPA The 18-month results from a Department of Labor commissioned evaluation of JTPA youth and adult programs was recently completed (Bloom et al., 1993). This study used a random assignment design in which youths who were eligible for JTPA were randomly assigned either to a program group to participate or to a control group that did not participate. Young people aged 16-21 were classified into three service strategy subgroups: classroom training, on-the-job training and job search assistance, and other services. This classification was made before random assignment occurred. The program assignees and controls were then followed over time, information was collected on their employment and earnings and other relevant variables. Since the only difference between the two groups is that one participated in the program and one did not, differences in employment and earnings can be reliably attributed to the program's effect. Findings for out-of-school youth (in-school programs were not evaluated) are discouraging 18 months following the point of random assignment. The program was judged to have little or no effect on young women (a statistically insignificant earnings loss of $-182, or -2.9 percent), and a large, statistically significant negative effect on the earnings of male youths. Almost all of the earnings loss for male youths is concentrated among youths who reported having been arrested at some point before assignment into the program. Interestingly, JTPA did have a statistically significant effect on attainment of a GED or a high school diploma—about 12 percentage points among young women, and nearly 10 percentage points among young men. Thus, JTPA did increase the percentage of youths who obtained a credential, but these gains in educational
OCR for page 142
Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings attainment did not translate into increased employment and earnings within the first 18 months of follow-up. This lack of effect may have been because JTPA assignees incurred similar opportunity costs in foregone earnings as the JOBSTART enrollees experienced (see below) while JOBSTART enrollees had immediate earnings. If this is the case, one might expect the JTPA enrollees to catch up to their control counterparts in later follow-up periods. Unfortunately, the quarter-by-quarter trend over the first 18 months does not suggest such a pattern of large initial losses followed by smaller and smaller losses as time proceeds. Instead, the losses remain fairly constant across the quarters. Within the overall pattern, however, results for women are somewhat more encouraging, implying that they have a greater likelihood of faring well in future quarters. This consistent difference for female youths in JTPA and in the JOBSTART demonstration indicates substantial differences in program effectiveness for women over men. This difference can be explained in part by the generally lower employment and earnings among female youths who were in the control group relative to male controls. In short, women are less likely to be in the labor market, so programs can make a difference simply by increasing their participation in the labor market. Men are more likely to work than women, but their employment is less stable and at low-paying jobs. For programs to succeed they must be able to get participants better jobs and more stable jobs than they could have gotten on their own, a task employment and training programs have had a difficult job accomplishing, especially for youth. Post-YEDPA Field Demonstrations Another source of information comes from a series of post-YEDPA demonstrations, initiated by foundations with modest government support. These demonstrations were targeted to specific high-risk populations, such as adolescent mothers, school dropouts who come from poor families, and unmarried males. In contrast to most JTPA-supported programs, the foundation-supported efforts also emphasize long-term interventions of at least 6 months. Furthermore, all of them seek to provide a range of academic and support services to participants. Work experience is used purely as a complement to other services and, in general, skills training is reserved for older participants. Most importantly, the studies used reliable random assignment research designs that follow both program group and control group members longitudinally. Because
OCR for page 143
Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings the research was designed to assess long-term outcomes, except in a few cases, findings are not yet available. We discuss three programs—the Summer Training and Education Program (STEP), Career Beginnings, and JOBSTART—for which evaluation data are available. These demonstrations confirm a basic YEDPA conclusion: most interventions do not have powerful effects on participants' employment and social behavior, especially among young men. Indeed, one of the greatest challenges is to develop more effective strategies for ensuring that young men stay in programs for their duration. Both STEP and Career Beginnings offer a range of services to high school students, aiming first, to keep students in school, and second, to prepare them for a successful transition into the labor market or postsecondary schooling. STEP is designed for 14- and 15-year-olds who are both poor and experiencing severe academic difficulty. Its goals are to reduce dropout rates, summer learning decay, and teenage pregnancy among these youth by offering a program of academic remediation, work experience, and life-skills instruction. Services are offered during two consecutive summers, with limited support during the intervening school year. In 1991, there were 100 STEP sites. Overall, in-program results to date have been moderately encouraging, while postprogram effects have been very discouraging (see Public/Private Ventures, 1987c). Evaluations of nearly 5,000 STEP participants found that they outperformed control group students in reading, math, and "fertility-related attitudes and knowledge" at the end of the first summer of programming, but the academic gains were not sustained during the intervening school year, and learning gains were less impressive during the second summer of participation. But the in-program gains did not translate into lasting postprogram effects. STEP had no significant longer term effect when program-eligible youths who were enrolled in STEP were compared with randomly assigned control group youths. Career Beginnings is a multisite program to serve high school juniors from low-income families with average grades. The 2-year intervention pairs students with adult mentors, who provide emotional support and advice and help the youth prepare for college or career. Students receive other services from college staff, such as career planning, tutoring, financial aid, family planning skills, and exposure to higher education environments. An evaluation using an experimental research design found positive but modest success in raising educational aspirations and increasing college entry rates relative to control groups (Cave and Quint, 1990). Whether
OCR for page 144
Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings these modest increases in college entry rates will translate into increases in college graduation is unknown. From an implementation perspective, STEP (100 sites) and Career Beginnings (17 sites) illustrate that programs can be successfully replicated on a large scale. At the same time, the time and energy needed to replicate a program, even a successful one, cannot be discounted. Both evaluations found unevenness of program implementation from site to site. In the Career Beginnings evaluation, sites rated "well implemented" produced better outcomes that those rated "poorly implemented," suggesting that careful implementation is a critical aspect of overall program effectiveness (Hahn, 1992). JOBSTART provided services to 17- to 21-year-old, low-income adolescents with a history of school failure. Operated in 13 sites, JOBSTART was modeled after Job Corps and provided a range of occupational and academic instruction in nonresidential settings, in addition to job placement assistance and training-related support services, such as transportation and job training. Because JOBSTART involved investments of time and effort in education and training, it also entailed opportunity costs in foregone employment and earnings. While program group members were participating in JOBSTART's education and training initiatives, their control group counterparts were more likely to obtain jobs. Thus, in the first year, earnings by those in the control group exceeded the earnings of those in the program group by about $500 (which was statistically significant). By the second year, the advantage had declined to around $120. Beginning in the third year and continuing through the end of the fourth follow-up year, JOBSTART enrollees were outearning those not enrolled by slightly more than $420 a year (which was not statistically significant, but the earnings trend over time follows a consistent and expected pattern). The opportunity costs for men were substantially higher than those for women, amounting to more than $800 in the first year for men and nearly $400 in the second; for women the first year loss in earnings was around $250, and in the second year JOBSTART women were generally outearning controls. In addition, the earnings of women in the program group began to catch up and move ahead of those of controls. Men, however, continued to lag behind until the third year. Even by the end of the fourth year, while the trend was in the right direction, when cumulative earnings over the 4-year period were compared for both program and control groups, men were modest net losers, while women were generally gainers.
OCR for page 145
Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings Three additional findings are of interest. First, the subgroup of sample members who dropped out of school for school-related reasons (such as academic failure) had statistically significant earnings gains for follow-up years three and four of about $660 per year. Second, males with a prior arrest record appeared to gain substantially as a result of participation in JOBSTART by about $1,100 in earnings in the third year (which was not significant) and by nearly $1,900 in the fourth year (which was statistically significant). Finally, one program site produced significant cumulative earnings gains for the entire 4-year period of around $6,700 per enrollee. These subgroups and site-specific findings add support to the overall conclusion that JOBSTART is helping high school dropouts improve their position. Moreover, although the overall results are not as positive as originally hoped, they indicate that JOBSTART services may work better for some groups than others and when delivered in a particular format and environment. These findings also suggest the importance of limiting the foregone earnings period, possibly by making the training as intensive and short as possible (Cave et al., 1993a). CONCLUSIONS The current transition system for non-college-bound youths does little to help adolescents and young adults enter the job market. It is fragmented, is small relative to need, and does little for those at the highest risk of failure. Furthermore, the foundations of the system—vocational education and employment and training—have only marginal positive effects on those who receive service. Clearly, these systems need fundamental reform. First and foremost, programs need to be reexamined in the light of what is known about labor market needs and about the programs' effects in preparing young people for the modern workforce. Resources should be directed to the types of education and training models that have shown results. Funding for higher education is regarded as a vital national economic investment, while support for labor market transitions, particularly for youths most at risk of failing to make the school-to-work transition, is viewed as a social, rather than an economic, responsibility. This reflects a consistent and continuing belief that employment and training are private matters, best left to individuals and the marketplace. As a result, vocational education and employment and training policies have not been directed to the demand side of the private
OCR for page 146
Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings sector of the labor market. Rather, supply-side policies aimed at changing the clients have dominated youth development policy. Vocational education and employment and training have moved away from their immediate constituencies: vocational education maintains a high degree of isolation from academic schooling and the academic curriculum; employment and training programs have moved away from serving high-risk youth—those out of the labor market. There is also little attention to systematic early intervention. Vocational education programs do not offer a sequenced series of courses throughout high school, and only a minority of local JTPA jurisdictions serve 14and 15-year-olds (U.S. General Accounting Office, 1990a). Both vocational education and employment and training programs currently focus overwhelmingly on "employability." This one-dimensional emphasis tends to slight human development factors in favor of employment-related ones. Only recently has there been renewed recognition that young people in second-chance programs need to build a range of competencies before achieving a consistent degree of occupational success. Job training is not sufficient, especially for the many youths who enter the labor market with a range of needs; but only a very small proportion of JTPA funds are directed towards remedial education or support services (Public/Private Ventures, 1987a). The in-program effects for STEP and YIEP on educational gains and employment increases, respectively, and the moderately positive results from Career Beginnings and JOBSTART suggest some potential merit of more comprehensive programs than are usually offered in either vocational education or JTPA. Findings on differences in performance by site and for potential target groups also suggest the need to undertake additional field demonstrations to refine understanding of both what works best for whom and how to improve program efficacy and thus the magnitude of the program effects. REFERENCES Anderson, J.D. 1982 The historical development of Black vocational education. In H. Kantor and D.B. Tyack, eds., Work, Youth and Schooling. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press. Berryman, S.E. 1982 The equity and effectiveness of secondary vocational education. In H.F. Silberman and K.S. Rehage, eds., Education and Work. 81st Yearbook of the National Society of Education. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
OCR for page 147
Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings Betsey, C.L., R.G. Hollister, Jr., and M.R. Papageorgiou, eds. 1985 Youth Employment and Training Programs: The YEDPA Years. Committee on Youth Employment Programs, Commission on Behavioral and social Sciences and Education, National Research Council. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. Bishop, J. 1989 Occupational training in high school: when does it pay off? Economics of Education Review 8:1-25. Bloom, H.S., L.L. Orr, G. Cave, S.H. Bell, and F. Doolittle 1993 The National JTPA Study: Title II-A Impacts on Earnings and Employment at 18 Moths. Bethesda, Md.: Abt Associates, Inc. Campbell, P., and K. Basinger 1985 Economic and Noneconomic Effects of Alternative Transitions Through School to Work. Columbus: National Center for Research in Vocational Education, Ohio State University. Campbell, P.B., M.N. Orth, and P. Seitz 1981 Patterns of Participation in Secondary Vocational Education: A Report Based on Transcript and Interview Data of the 1979 and 1980 National Longitudinal Survey New Youth Cohort. National Center for Research in Vocational Education, Ohio State University, Columbus. Cave, G., and F. Doolittle 1991 Assessing JOBSTART: Interim Impacts of a Program for School Dropouts. New York: Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation. Cave, G., and J. Quint 1990 Career Beginnings Impact Evaluation: Findings from a Program for Disadvantaged High School Students. Executive Summary. New York: Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation. Cave, G., F. Doolittle, and H. Bos 1993a Evaluating JOBSTART: Four Years Later. New York: Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation. Cave, G., H. Bos, F. Doolittle, and C. Toussaint 1993b JOBSTART: Final Report on a Program for School Dropouts. New York: Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation, forthcoming. Chapman, W., and M. Katz 1981 Survey of Career Information Systems in Secondary Schools. Princeton, N.J.: Educational Testing Service. Claus, J.F. 1986 Opportunity or Inequality in Vocational Education? An Ethnographic Investigation. Dissertation, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. Crowley, J.E., T.K. Pollard, and R. W. Rumberger 1983 Education and training. In M.E. Borus, ed., Tomorrow's Workers . Lexington, Mass.: D.C. Heath. deLone, R.H. 1991 School-To-Work Transition: Failings, Dilemmas, and Policy Options. Issue paper no. 5, Public/Private Ventures and Center for Human Resources, Brandeis University, Philadelphia, Pa. Ekstrom, R.B., M.E. Goertz, J.M. Pollack, and D.A. Rock 1986 Who drops out of high school and why? Findings from a national study. Teachers College Record 87:356-373. Fernandez, R.M. 1990 Structural Factors in Hispanic Youth Employment. Report to the Inter-University
OCR for page 148
Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings Program for Latino Research and the Social Science Research Council Grants Program for Public Policy Research on Contemporary Hispanic Studies, Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill. Grant Foundation (The William T.) 1988a The Forgotten Half: Non-College Youth in America. Washington, D.C.: The William T. Grant Foundation, Commission on Work, Family and Citizenship. 1988b The Forgotten Half: Pathways to Success for America's Youth and Young Families. Washington, D.C.: The William T. Grant Foundation, Commission on Work, Family and Citizenship. Gray, K. 1991 Vocational education in high school: a modern Phoenix? Phi Delta Kappan 72(6):437-445. Grubb, W.N., and M. Lazerson 1975 Rally 'round the workplace: continuities and fallacies in career education. Harvard Educational Review 45(4):451-474. Grubb, W.N., C. Brown, P. Kaufman, and J. Lederer 1990 Order Amidst Complexity: The Status of Coordination Among Vocational Education, Job Training Partnership Act, and Welfare-To-Work Programs . Report to U.S. Congress. Berkeley, Calif.: National Center for Research in Vocational Education. Grubb, W.N., G. Davis, J. Lum, J. Plihal, and C. Morgaine 1991 The Cunning Hand, The Cultured Mind: Models for Integrating Vocational and Academic Education. Berkeley, Calif.: The National Center for Research in Vocational Education. Gueron, J.M. 1984 Lessons from a Job Guarantee: The Youth Incentive Entitlement Pilot Projects. Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation, New York. Haggstrom, G.W., T.J. Blaschke, and R.J. Shavelson 1991 After High School, Then What? A Look at the Postsecondary Sorting Out Process for American Youth. Santa Monica, Calif.: The RAND Corporation. Hahn, A. 1992 Job Training Policy for Core Youth: Where the Field Has Been, Where It Needs To Go. Paper prepared for Panel on High-Risk Youth, Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, National Research Council, Washington, D.C. Hahn, A., and R. Lerman 1984 What Works in Youth Employment Policy? Washington, D.C.: National Planning Association. Hamilton, S.F. 1990 Apprenticeship for Adulthood: Preparing Youth for the Future. New York: The Free Press. Hayward, B.J., and J.G. Wirt 1989 Handicapped and Disadvantaged Students: Access to Quality Vocational Education, Final Report, Vol. 5. Washington, D.C.: National Assessment of Vocational Education, U.S. Department of Education. Hoachlander, E.G., P. Kaufman, K. Levesque, and J. Houser 1992 Vocational Education in the United States: 1969-1990. Washington, D.C.: National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education.
OCR for page 149
Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings Hoerner, J. 1991 Tech Prep and Educational Reform. National Center for Research in Vocational Education. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California. Holzer, H.J. 1991 Youth and the Labor Market in the 1990s. Issue paper no. 10, Public/Private Ventures and Brandeis University, Philadelphia, Pa. Hull, D., and D. Parnell 1991 Tech Prep Associate Degree. Waco, Texas: Center for Occupational Research and Development. Kang, S., and J. Bishop 1988 Vocational and Academic Education in High School: Complements or Substitutes. Working paper 88-10, New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. Lerman, R., and H. Pouncy 1990 The compelling case for youth apprenticeships. The Public Interest 101:62-77. Mallar, C., S. Kerachsky, C. Thornton, M. Donihue, C. Jones, D. Long, E. Noggoh, and J. Schore 1982 Evaluation of the Economic Impact of the Job Corps Program. Second follow-up report, U.S. Department of Labor, Washington, D.C. Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation 1980 Summary and Findings of the National Supported Work Demonstration. Cambridge, Mass.: Ballinger Publishing Company. Mertens, D.M. 1983 The vocational education graduate in the labor market. Phi Delta Kappan 34:360-361. Meyer, R. 1981 An economic analysis of high school education. In The Federal Role in Vocational Education: Sponsored Research. Washington, D.C.: National Commission for Employment Policy. Meyer, R.H. 1989 Beyond Academic Reform: The Contribution of Applied Academics to Mathematical Skills. Unpublished paper, Institute for Research and Poverty, Madison, Wis. Oakes, J. 1986a Keeping Track: How Schools Structure Inequality. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press. 1986b Beyond tinkering: restructuring vocational education. In G. Copa, J. Plihal, and M. Johnson, eds., Re-Visioning Vocational Education in the Secondary School. St. Paul: University of Minnesota. Powell, A.G., E. Farrar, and D.K. Cohen 1985 The Shopping Mall High School. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. Public/Private Ventures 1987a Youth and the Workplace. Philadelphia: Public/Private Ventures. 1987b Youth Conservation and Service Corps: Findings from a National Assessment . Public/Private Ventures, Philadelphia, Pa. 1987c Summer Training and Education Program (STEP): Report on the 1986 Experience. Public/Private Ventures, Philadelphia, Pa. Reisner, E.R., and M. Balasubramaniam 1989 School-to-Work Transition Services for Disadvantaged Youth Enrolled in Vocational Education. Prepared for the National Assessment of Vocational
OCR for page 150
Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings Education, U.S. Department of Education. Washington, D.C.: Policy Studies Associates, Inc. Rosenstock, L. 1991 The walls come down: the overdue reunification of vocational and academic education. Phi Delta Kappan 72(6):434-436. Strickland, D., E. Donald, and N. Frantz 1989 Vocational Enrollment Patterns Study: Preliminary Report. Blacksburg, Va.: National Center for Research in Vocational Education, Virginia Tech Office. Sum, A., and W.N. Fogg 1991 The adolescent poor and the transition to early adulthood. In P. Edelman and J. Ladner, eds., Adolescence and Poverty: Challenge for the 1990s. Washington, D.C.: Center for National Policy Press. U.S. General Accounting Office 1990a Job Training Partnership Act: Youth Participant Characteristics, Services, and Outcomes. GAO Report No. HRD-90-46BR. Washington, D.C.: U.S. General Accounting Office. 1990b Training Strategies: Preparing Noncollege Youth for Employment in the U.S. and Foreign Countries . GAO Report No. HRD-90-88. Washington, D.C.: U.S. General Accounting Office. 1991 Job Training Partnership Act: Racial and Gender Disparities in Services. GAO Report No. HRD-91-148. Washington, D.C.: U.S. General Accounting Office. Weisberg, A. 1983 What research has to say about vocational education and the high schools. Phi Delta Kappan 64:355-359. Wirt, J.G. 1991 A new federal law on vocational education: will reform follow? Phi Delta Kappan 72(6):424-433. Wirt, J.G., L.D. Muraskin, D.A. Goodwin, and R.H. Meyer 1989 Summary of Findings and Recommendations: Final Report, Vol. 1. Washington, D.C.: National Assessment of Vocational Education, U.S. Department of Education.
Representative terms from entire chapter: