undemanding academically, providing no advantage in subsequent employment. The better vocational programs emphasize preparation for both employment and post-secondary education. This emphasis, often under the banner of "tech prep" (parallel to college prep), has been supported by the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Education Act (20 U.S.C. §2301 et seq.), which is the conduit for federal funding of vocational education. High Schools That Work, one of the most ambitious and successful school reform networks, combines high academic standards with effective vocational education (Bottoms and Sharpe, no date; see especially Chapters 6–7). Both tech prep and the integration of vocational education with high academic standards are envisioned as components of a comprehensive school-to-work system.

Cooperative education is one well-established practice in vocational education, and it is identified as a type of work-based learning in the School-to-Work Opportunities Act. Like youth apprenticeship, it uses work experience to teach employment-related knowledge and skills in connection with relevant school classes. Unlike a formal apprenticeship, it does not teach a common set of competencies and, as a result, does not yield a portable credential. Vocational graduates who have had cooperative education and subsequently work for their training employer achieve higher earnings than their classmates, but that advantage does not carry over to other work-places (Stern and Stevens, 1992), presumably because they receive no credentials. One intriguing result of research on cooperative education is that it appears to provide all of the benefits of work experience discussed in Chapter 4 with fewer negative consequences (Stern et al., 1997).

The effects of the School-to-Work Opportunities Act cannot yet be assessed with any certainty. First, the initiative is too young to have generated activities that are well enough established to warrant formal evaluation. Second, generalization is impeded by the legislation's encouragement of variety in state and local implementation (see U.S. Department of Labor, 1997). Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., is conducting a national study of School-to-Work implementation, but its report has not been released. The best indication of future effects comes from evaluations of pre-1994 demonstration projects. For example, several youth apprenticeship demonstration projects reported that large proportions of participants enrolled in post-secondary education (Kopp et al., no date), a surprising result

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