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2 Education and Training for Employment Vocational education is defined in the Education Amendments of 1976 (P.L. 94-482) as "organized educational programs which are directly re- lated to the preparation of individuals for paid or unpaid employment, or for additional preparation for a career requiring other than a baccalaureate or advanced degree" (20 U.S.C. 2461, Section 1951. That is what we mean in this report when we use the phrase vocational education. In some sense, however, all education can be viewed as having a vocational component: the skills most essential to working in the majority of jobs are also the most fundamental skills that all students should learn- being able to read, write, speak, reason, and compute. As Ginzberg (1982:75) notes, "An increasingly white-collar economy has no place for functional illiterates." This is not to say that vocational education should be limited to teaching basic skills. Quite the contrary, vocational education courses or programs can help students acquire occupational skills which virtually all will need, at least in the most general sense. Most people will work at some time during their lives, even if they do not plan to do so immediately after high school. They should at school age be introduced to the variety of employment options available in the American economy and receive guidance on how to find appropriate jobs, how to apply for jobs, how to behave in a work setting, and how to upgrade their skills if they need to. In this chapter we describe vocational education as it exists in the early 1980s-its programs, students, schools, and the administrative arrange- ments supporting it. We then review evaluations of vocational education 22
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Education and Training for Employment 23 programs at the secondary and postsecondary levels, paying particular attention to their effects on the employability of graduates. We also briefly consider evaluations of the Job Corps, a federal program for disadvantaged people that includes a large training component; the Youth Incentive Entitlement Pilot Projects, which combine education and employment to help disadvantaged young people; and 70001 Ltd., a largely private effort to train and place disadvantaged young people in private-sector jobs. We identify characteristics that are associated with program success and effec- tiveness. Finally, we discuss the question of access to vocational education in order to determine whether those people who might otherwise have difficulty getting good education and training, and subsequently getting good jobs, can enroll and participate in beneficial vocational education programs. VOCATIONAL EDUCATION IN THE 1980S Vocational education provides occupational training to millions of people in many different types of educational institutions across the United States. In 1980-1981 (the most recent period for which data are available), the National Center for Education Statistics estimated that 16.9 millions people were enrolled in vocational education programs supported in part by the Vocational Education Act of 1963 as amended (Table 64. About 10.5 million students were enrolled in high-school courses or programs and about 6.4 million were in postsecondary or adult education courses or programs. (As the terms are defined by the Vocational Education Data System, postsecondary programs lead to an associate degree and adult education programs may lead to a certificate, a credential, or simply completion. ~ It is generally agreed that the figures cited above give an inflated estimate of vocational enrollments, since they count people enrolled in just one or two vocational education courses as well as those enrolled in programs comprising of a systematic set of courses and possibly work experience. Of the 16.9 million vocational students, about 5.8 million were enrolled in programs designed to train individuals for specific occupations. Occupa- tionally specific programs are offered in grades 11 and 12 as well as in postsecondary and adult education schools. ~ This figure does not include students enrolled in the many institutions that are privately controlled. Including those students raises the total to nearly 19 million. However, informa- tion on students in programs not supported by the Vocational Education Act is sparse and is not included in our discussion.
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24 EDUCATION FOR TOMORROW'S JOBS TABLE 6 Enrollments in Vocational Education Programs and Occupationally Specific Vocational Education Programs, by Program Area and Level, 1980-1981 (Numbers in Thousands) Postsecondary Program AreaTotalSecondaryand Adult All programs16,86110,4666,396 Agriculture883664179 Distribution930378551 Health occupations950192757 Nonoccupational home economics3,1892,550640 Occupational home economics574377197 Industrial arts1,9001,8945 Office occupations3,6152,0811,534 Technical50634472 Trade and industrial3,2221,3441,877 Other1,134952182 All occupationally specific programs5,7932,8582,935 Agriculture37630473 Distribution560287273 Health occupations45596359 Occupational home economics25616789 Office occupations1,9691,043925 Technical38920369 Trade and industrial1,728904825 Other603723 NOTE: Occupationally specific enrollments include students above grade 10 enrolled in programs designed to train individuals for specific occupations. SOURCE: National Center for Education Statistics, Vocational Education Data System, unpublished data. Programs The vocational education programs supported with federal funds cover education in the following categories identified by the U. S. Department of Education's National Occupational Information Coordinating Committee: agriculture/agribusiness and natural resources, business and office occupa- tions, health occupations, home economics (both occupational and nonoc- cupational), marketing and distribution, technical occupations, and trade and industrial occupations. Typical areas of study in these programs are listed opposite. Industrial arts, which is not included in the list, is not an
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Education and Training for Employment 25 Typical Areas of Study Under Eight Vocational Education Program Areas AgriculturelAgribusiness and Natural Resources Education Agricultural production, supplies and services, mechanics, products; horticulture; conserva- tion and regulation; fishing and fisheries; forestry production and processing. Business and Office Education Accounting, bookkeeping; banking; business data processing; office supervision and man- agement; personnel and training; secretarial; typing. Health Occupations Education Dental services; diagnostic and treatment services; medical laboratory technologies; mental health/human services; allied health services; nursing-related services; ophthalmic services; rehabilitation services. Home Economics Education Interior design; consumer and homemaking home economics (nonoccupational); child care and guidance management, and services; clothing, apparel, textiles management and produc- tion; food production, management, and services; home furnishings and equipment manage- ment, and production; institutional, home management, and supporting services. Marketing and Distributive Education Institutional management; marketing management and research; real estate; small business management and ownership; entrepreneurship; marketing of apparel and accessories, busi- ness and personal services, financial services, floristry, farm and garden supplies, food, home and office products, hospitality and recreation, insurance, transportation and travel, vehicles and petroleum, advertising. Technical Education Communication technologies; computer and information sciences; architectural, civil, elec- trical and electronic, environmental control, industrial production, quality control and safety, mechanical, and mining and petroleum technologies; biological, nuclear, and physical science technologies; fire protection; air and water transportation; graphic arts technology. Trade and Industrial Education Drycleaning and laundering services; brickmasonry, stonemasonry; carpentry; plumbing, pipefitting, and steamfitting; electrical and electronics equipment repair; heating, aircondi- tioning, and refrigeration mechanics; industrial equipment maintenance; drafting; graphic and printing communications; leatherworking and upholstering; precision food production; precision metal work; woodworking; vehicle and equipment operation. SOURCE: National Occupational Information Coordinating Committee (1982). occupationally specific program but includes courses surveying occupa- tions as well as metalworking and woodworking shop. On the basis of enrollments in occupationally specific programs, the two most popular programs are business and office programs and trade and industrial programs, in which a total of more than 60 percent of all vocation- al education students are enrolled (Table 64. This pair of programs domi- nates enrollments at all levels. At the secondary level the largest programs overall are nonoccupational home economics and trade and industrial programs. Young women in high
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26 EDUCATION FOR TOMORROW'S JOBS school enroll predominantly in health, nonoccupational and occupational home economics, and business and office programs. Young men in high school enroll predominantly in agriculture, industrial arts, technical, and trade and industrial programs. At the postsecondary and adult levels, the programs with the largest enrollments are business and office and trade and industrial programs. Members of minority groups enroll mainly in nonoccupational and occu- pational home economics and business and office programs areas tradi- tionally dominated by women. They also enroll, in moderately high num- bers relative to their proportion in the population, in trade and industrial programs, an area traditionally dominated by men. Vocational education programs generally start at the high-school level. However, career education, introduced 10-15 years ago, begins in kinder- garten (see Bell and Hoyt, 19741. Where such programs are offered, elementary-school children are exposed to information about different sorts of jobs and careers with the intention that they begin early to think about them. Presumably with the help of guidance counselors, they can start to see the relationship between their school studies and jobs they might later take. Students who are not academically inclined might become interested in schoolwork in this way, becoming convinced of its importance and rel- evance; they then may be motivated to learn the basic skills they will later need. Worthington (1981, 1982) notes that emphasis on prevocational guidance and career exploration is important at the elementary-school level to provide both vocational and nonvocational students with the information necessary to make realistic career and education choices. Work Experience Another aspect of vocational education involves work experience. Two types of work experience programs are supported in part by federal funds: work-study and cooperative education programs. Another type of work experience is participation in apprenticeship programs, which are generally jointly sponsored by industries and unions. Work-study opportunities are provided by local education agencies to full-time vocational education students who need money in order to begin or to continue their vocational education study. Students in these programs work for the local education agency or for another public or nonprofit private organization, not for private-sector, profit-making employers. Stu- dents are paid with vocational education funds, not funds from the employ- ers. The intent of the program seems to be much more to provide students the opportunity to work for pay than to increase their work experience or work skills. The second of the federal programs providing work experience and the
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Education and Training for Employment 27 much larger of the two is cooperative vocational education, which is intended to provide supervised work experience that is related to a student's school program. In the 1979-1980 school year, over 520,000 high-school students were enrolled in cooperative education programs (U.S. Depart- ment of Education, 19811. Cooperative education is not a program in the sense that agriculture or marketing and distribution is, but rather an arrange- ment, plan, or a method of instruction that can be applied in any occupation- ally specific program. In cooperative education, written agreements are made between the school and the employer regarding planned and school- supervised employment of vocational education students. The students hold paying jobs at the employer's place of business and also participate in classroom instruction relating to their occupational experience. Compensa- tion is scaled either to the minimum-wage laws or to a student-learner rate established by the U.S. Department of Labor. These students are typically in school part of the day and at work 3-4 hours a day outside school in any of a wide variety of occupations. In the 1976 Education Amendments, priority was given to funding cooperative education programs in geographical areas with large numbers of school dropouts or high rates of youth unemploy- ment. Cooperative education is designed to offer considerable benefits to par- ticipating students in addition to the wages that they earn on the job (U.S. Department of Education, 1981~. The intended benefits include an oppor- tunity to try working in an occupation before taking a full-time job, facilitat- ing the transition from school to work, fulfilling personal needs and goals, acquiring appropriate work habits and job skills, and establishing an em- ployment record. Employers benefit from cooperative arrangements be- cause they gain access to a pool of potential employees who can be trained at relatively low cost and who can be observed at work before a job offer is made. Schools may save money they would otherwise have to spend on equipment with which to train students, and by careful scheduling they may be able to enroll more students than they could if all students were in school full time. Apprenticeship training is one of the oldest, and many say one of the best, methods of providing training for many skilled occupations. Apprentice- ship programs provide specialized training in a skilled trade, craft, or occupation and on-thejob training. They are generally run jointly by employers and unions. Apprentices are taught a variety of skills so that they can move with relative ease within a set of related occupations. Apprentice- ship offers several advantages for the young people who are able to enroll- they earn money while in training, they learn by doing, and they have direct contact with employers and regular workers at the work site while they are learning. The Smith-Hughes Act of 1917, which commenced the federal role in
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28 EDUCATION FOR TOMORROW'S JOBS vocational education, also provided partial reimbursement from federal funds for teachers of related training in apprenticeship programs. The Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training in the U.S. Department of Labor registers apprenticeship programs that meet certain standards, which, for example, set the minimum age of apprentices at 16 years; prohibit dis- crimination in selection, employment, or training; require a schedule of work and training; and require related studies of a minimum length, an increasing schedule of wages, proper supervision and evaluation of appren- tices, and recognition of successful completion (Grover, 19821. Vocational education schools sometimes provide some of the basic training but do not become involved in the on-thejob training in apprentice- ship programs. Currently the most common arrangement requires that people work and train as apprentices for a specified period of time, after which they become journeymen. Since the 1960s, apprenticeship programs have been criticized for dis- criminating against women and members of minority groups. Federal regulations to promote equal opportunity in the programs have reportedly resulted in gains for blacks in the construction trades (Grover, 1982), but membership in the construction unions has changed more slowly and the representation of minority group members in apprenticeship programs varies considerably by trade. The situation regarding women is different because, with the exception of cosmetology, apprenticeship training is generally available only in jobs traditionally held by men. Glover reports that some progress has been made in the enrollment of women in appren- ticeship programs across the trades but that data on their retention and completion are not yet sufficient to judge the success of the affirmative action efforts. There is also criticism that apprenticeship programs are too long and that too few have the flexibility to give apprentices credit for previous work or education. Some unions are working to modify apprenticeship systems so that completion of these programs should be determined on the basis of competency rather than time; progress toward this goal is slowed by competing demands for the personnel and financial resources necessary to make the required changes. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that almost 324,000 people were enrolled in apprenticeship programs at the end of 1979. An Office of Technology Assessment report (1983) cited unpublished BLS figures showing a steady decline in enrollments to a level of 287,000 in 1982. The report attributes the decline to reductions in public and private funding rather than to declining interest in apprenticeship programs. They also note that economic conditions in the industries that cosponsor the programs may also have contributed to the decline.
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Education and Training for Employment Students 29 How do high-school vocational students compare with students enrolled in general or academic (college preparatory) high-school programs? Accord- ing to the National Center for Education Statistics ~ 1981), they are more like the students in general programs than those in academic programs. Their fathers tend to have lower educational attainment than the fathers of aca- demic students. They tend to score lower on standardized achievement tests than do academic students. They also tend to work more outside school during their school years than do academic students. Their work is related to their studies more often than is the after-school work of academic students. As an explanation of the comparatively low scholastic abilities and socioeconomic status of vocational education students in secondary schools, Evans (1981) notes that high-school vocational education attracts those students who are not interested in or who are rejected by college preparatory programs. If vocational education is serving the populations identified by Congress, its students would indeed be expected to have lower scores on standardized ability tests and lower socioeconomic status than those high-school students planning to go to college. Meyer (198 la, 198 lb) found that blacks and Hispanics, on the average, take more vocational education in high school than do whites. However, among individuals with comparable scores on standardized achievement tests and with comparable levels of parental income and education, blacks and Hispanics in high school take far less vocational education than whites. This finding is consistent with the finding that among people with compara- ble scores on standardized achievement tests, blacks are more likely than whites to go to college (Meyer, 1981c; Meyer and Wise, 1982a, 1982b). Vocational programs at the postsecondary level tend to serve a more heterogeneous clientele than at the high-school level. In public and private noncollegiate postsecondary schools, about 20 percent of the students are over 30 years of age. Proportionately more female than male students are under 20 years of age, and slightly more are between ages 35 and 39. Nearly all vocational students (91.7 percent) who are enrolled in postsecondary noncollegiate schools have completed high school, and some (27.7 percent) have some postsecondary education or even an associate or baccalaureate degree (National Center for Education Statistics, 19814. Schools According to the National Center for Education Statistics, almost 28,000 public and private institutions across the country offer vocational educa- tion. These include public comprehensive and vocational high schools,
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30 EDUCATION FOR TOMORROW'S JOBS public area vocational centers at the high-school level, private high schools, public and private noncollegiate postsecondary schools, correspondence schools, two- and four-year colleges and universities, and state correctional facilities. Nearly two-thirds of the schools are at the secondary level, most of them public high schools. Nearly a quarter of the institutions were private noncollegiate postsecondary schools-often called proprietary schools, even though many are nonprofit institutions (National Center for Education Statistics, 1981~. Comprehensive is a label attached to what most of us think of as regular high schools; this term was used in the Smith-Hughes Act of 1917. The National Center for Education Statistics (1981:3) defines a comprehensive high school as "a general high school offering programs in both vocational and general academic subjects, but in which the majority of the students are not enrolled in programs of vocational education." A vocational high school is defined as "a specialized secondary school that offers a full-time program of study in both academic and vocational subjects and in which all or a majority of the students are enrolled in vocational education programs." An area vocational center is a secondary-level "shared-time facility that provides instruction only in vocational education to students from through- out a school system or region. Students attending an area vocational center receive the academic portion of their education program in regular high schools or other institutions." In site visits to seven large cities, Benson and Hoachlander (1981) found that specialized schools such as vocational high schools and area vocational centers are popular with students and offer programs of generally higher quality than comprehensive high schools. They note that this may be caused in part by the decay of and violence in inner-city comprehensive high schools, which these students would otherwise attend. They also note that the specialized schools attract highly qualified students, many of whom go on to college. Admission to some specialized schools is highly competitive, and some of them require admission tests. In some cities there is rivalry between the shared-time vocational schools and the comprehensive high schools (Benson and Hoachlander, 19811. Administrators of comprehensive schools are sometimes reluctant to let students take their vocational courses in shared-time facilities because they fear the loss of revenue. They may lose support directly, if resources are allocated by the numbers of students in a school (capitation funding), or indirectly by reductions of staff no longer needed to teach vocational courses. Benson and Hoachlander also observed in inner cities what is true of vocational programs across the country: Some programs have kept pace with technological advances and benefited thereby, while others are ill- equipped, understaffed, and poorly matched to the labor market. They
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Education arid Training for Employment 31 concluded that the local economy is a determining factor in the success of vocational programs in placing students in jobs, suggesting that placement rates are not always the best measure of success of vocational programs. Where are the institutions that offer vocational education? About 60 percent of the secondary schools offering five or more vocational programs were located in areas with populations under 100,000 (U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, 19781; only about 27 percent of the population lives in such areas. The distribution of postsecondary institu- tions is more even with respect to population density. From this information it is not safe to conclude, however, that small towns and rural areas are oversupplied with vocational schools and centers. Evans (1981) states that residents of rural areas seldom have access to vocational education for a large variety of occupations. Their high schools most often offer programs only in agriculture, business, and nonoccupational home economics. Rosenfeld (1981) notes that rural schools also cannot afford to offer pro- grams that require expensive equipment. With cautions about economies of scale and lower pay scales in rural areas, he notes that on the average rural school districts spend less per pupil than urban school districts. He con- cludes that vocational education, because of its demands for relatively high expenditures and for flexibility to adapt to the changing labor market, is extremely limited in rural settings. Similarly, community colleges in sparsely populated areas do not offer as great a diversity of programs as do those in urban areas. Obviously, sparsely populated areas cannot take advantage of economies of scale in providing educational opportunities to their residents in the same way as large metro- politan areas. Rural areas need to have more schools to serve fewer people and cannot support a large diversity of programs. Area or regional vocation- al schools or centers are often found in sparsely populated areas, serving several towns or communities in a relatively large geographical area. Teachers In 1978 there were more than 354,000 vocational education teachers at the secondary, postsecondary, and adult levels (National Center for Education Statistics, 19811. This figure represents an increase of more than 50 percent since 1972, reflecting the growth of vocational education programs and enrollments in that period. In 1978 nearly half these teachers (47 percent) taught at the secondary level, almost 20 percent taught at the postsecondary level, and about 32 percent taught at the adult level. At the postsecondary and adult levels a larger portion of the teachers teach only part time, compared with those in high schools. The National Center for Education Statistics (1981) estimates full-time-equivalent posi
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32 EDUCATION FOR TOMORROW'S JOBS lions by assigning a value of one-third to part-time teachers. At the second- ary level, using full-time equivalents reduces the estimate of teaching staff to 84 percent of the total number of full- and part-time teachers for the 1978-1979 school year. At the postsecondary level the percentage is about 70 percent, and at the adult level it is about 43 percent. On the basis of these figures, one can compute the percentages of the part-time teaching staff at each level: secondary, 24 percent; postsecondary, 45 percent; and adult, 85 percent. Many of the part-time teachers hold regular positions in private industry (U. S. Department of Education, 19811. Part-time teachers usually have contracts to teach certain courses, and most often these contracts are renewed yearly. By contrast, full-time teachers at all levels derive job security by attaining tenure. Regardless of the benefits of the tenure system, the fact that most high-school vocational education teachers are full-time employees, many of whom have tenure, reduces the flexibility of the secondary schools. In order to adapt vocational education programs and staff to changing occupations, high schools must rely much more on retraining their currently employed teachers than on getting rid of teachers with obsolete or unneeded skills and hiring teachers with the needed skills. Administration The public schools that provide vocational education are governed and operated by states and localities, but they are affected by federal as well as state and local policies. The final report of a study of vocational education by the National Institute of Education ( 1981 ) gives a detailed description of administrative arrangements, funding patterns, and federal priorities. Several points from that report that are particularly relevant to our study are outlined in this section. The federal role in vocational education is defined largely by the Voca- tional Education Act of 1963 as amended. The amendments of 1976 contain explicit expressions of federal priorities for vocational education programs. They emphasize overcoming sex-role stereotyping in education and em- ployment and serving certain groups better American Indians, dis- advantaged students in areas with high youth unemployment and school dropout rates, and bilingual students. The legislation authorized funds for remodeling or renovating facilities as well as constructing residential schools in urban and rural areas that are unable to undertake such projects on their own. The planning of programs receives increased emphasis and the importance of state and local advisory councils is stressed. Work-study and cooperative education programs also receive increased emphasis in the 1976 legislation. Provision is made for collecting data on programs and
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36 EDUCATION FOR TOMORROW'S JOBS counseling for students and in-service training of teachers, for example) is used for improvement, and states generally provide more money for supportive services than for program improvement. Overall federal funds account for about 10 percent of the total expended for vocational education throughout the country; the remaining 90 percent is supplied by state and local sources. However, the ratio of federal to state and local funds varies considerably by the purposes or uses of the funds. As noted above, although procedures vary somewhat across states, funds are allocated to secondary schools or programs generally on the basis of school enrollment or attendance. Such funding formulas, called capitation fund- ing, at the secondary level generally do not accommodate factors such as program costs, the costs of modifying programs to meet the demands of the labor market or changing occupations, the costs of providing remediation to educationally disadvantaged students, and the like. Vocational program funding at the postsecondary level is most often more flexible and can take into account factors that affect program costs. EVALUATIONS OF VOCATIONAL EDUCATION How effective has vocational education been? A number of studies, some of them quite ambitious, have addressed this question and are reviewed in this section. But before we look in any detail at those results, there is a larger question to consider: How effective is American secondary education? The decline in the scores on college entrance examinations since the mid- 1960s has been well documented and publicized (College Entrance Examination Board, 19771. Only in the last two years has the decline slowed or perhaps begun to reverse itself (Washington Post, September 22, 1982, A34. Data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress deepen the worries about the quality of the high-school education this country's young people receive. Gadway and Wilson ~ 1976) reported that 8 percent of white high-school students and an astonishing 42 percent of black students could be considered functionally illiterate. Martin ~ 1981 ~ summarized the results for the 1970s: While some gains were made by 9-year-olds, the results for 17-year-olds showed declines in mathematical skills, reading comprehen- sion, and knowledge about science and social studies over the decade of the 1970s. These data support complaints by employers and college teachers about the lack of basic skills of America's high-school graduates in recent years. It seems that while the nation's elementary schools are doing as well as or even slightly better than in the recent past, the high schools are not preparing young people adequately for further schooling or for work. It is little wonder, then, that vocational education at the high-school level has become involved in concerns over teaching basic skills. There continues to
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Education and Training for Employment 37 be some tension between teachers of vocational education and teachers of general education over who should be responsible for providing remedia- tion in the basic skills for vocational education students. All agree, how- ever, that all high-school graduates need to have mastered the basic skills. Vocational Education Programs Most detailed studies of the effects of secondary vocational education show wide variation in the effectiveness of programs. Meyer (1981d) found no net increase in lifetime economic benefits across all programs. He did find, however, that some programs seem to give participants some advantage the first eight years after high-school graduation. Participation in business or of fice courses tends to raise the income of women during the first eight years after graduation but does not seem to have similar positive effects on the income of men. Enrollment in trade and industrial programs tends to generate initial gains in income for men following high-school graduation. The positive effects of office programs for women and of trade and in- dustrial programs for men decline after the first few years. Course work in nonoccupational home economics is associated with a significant decrease in income for women in the eight years following high-school graduation, but there is no evidence that this is a causal effect (Meyer, 1981d). The National Institute of Education (1981) concludes that there is in- sufficient evidence to support a conclusive statement regarding the effec- tiveness of nonoccupational home economics education. A few studies cited in that report do indicate that students' knowledge increases after they have taken specific home economics courses; however, since the courses are explicitly nonoccupational, no measures relating program completion to economic or occupational results are cited. Grasso and Shea ~ 1979a, 1979b) present evidence that vocational educa- tion tends to decrease high-school dropout rates, thereby potentially giving participants the long-term economic benefits associated with a high-school diploma. Lewis and Mertens ~ 1981 ~ also report that most studies show that vocational education reduces high-school dropout rates. They also cite evidence that work experience programs may help motivate students to stay in school. Summarizing findings from many evaluations of vocational education, Lewis and Mertens report mixed but generally positive findings regarding the effectiveness of secondary vocational education in reducing unemploy- ment, generally positive findings regarding whether graduates found em- ployment related to their training, but inconclusive and even contradictory findings regarding the earnings and occupational status of graduates. A comprehensive study evaluating the effectiveness of secondary-school
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38 EDUCATION FOR TOMORROW'S JOBS vocational education in placing graduates in jobs related to their training was conducted by McKinney et al. (19811. The research was based on literature reviews, analysis of existing data, case studies in 7 states, and a mail questionnaire received from over 5,000 people in 62 local education agencies in the 7 states. The report stressed the importance of vocational educators administrators, counselors, and teachers working to help place graduating students in jobs related to their training. Additional factors that seem to distinguish successful programs from others include participa- tion of students in vocational education student organizations, students' mastery of basic educational skills, and the appropriateness of the curricu- lum to the employment opportunities in the area. A recent report from the National Center for Research in Vocational Education (Gardner et al., 1982) examined employment experiences associated with different concentrations of participation in high-school vocational education programs. Unlike most earlier evaluations, the report considered whether students had enrolled in extensive vocational programs or just in a few vocational education courses. Gardner and his colleagues also examined intervening factors, such as the methods of job search used, unionization, type of industry and occupation, and job tenure, which could affect earnings and could differ between vocational education graduates and others. In general they found that differences in the earnings of vocational and other students were attenuated by several conflicting factors: Students who concentrate in vocational programs tend to hold their jobs for a relatively long time and tend to work in industries that pay well, but they tend not to work in unionized jobs or to enroll in postsecondary education institutions as often as others. The investigators attributed differences in the effects of vocational edu- cation for men and women to the different labor markets into which they move. Women who concentrate in vocational education in high school tend to go on to postsecondary schools less often than men. Concentrating in vocational education tends to help women more than men in moving into higher-paying jobs than those held by others of the same sex without vocational training. Vocational graduates tend to work longer hours and for more weeks per year than others, a fact that helps account for their higher average annual earnings. A survey of manufacturers' views of vocational education was conducted by the National Association of Manufacturers (Nunez and Russell, 19811. The findings must be interpreted with extreme caution because less than 40 percent of the manufacturers polled responded to the survey, and the report gives no information on which to judge the nature and extent of response bias. Over half the respondents indicated that their companies had benefited from vocational education, and about 60 percent said that graduates of
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Education and Training for Employment 39 vocational programs needed less training than did other new employees in similar jobs. In general, vocational education is more highly regarded in companies that are currently involved in collaborative projects with voca- tional education. Among various types of collaborative efforts (examples of which are discussed more fully in Chapter 3), respondents most favored providing work experience for vocational students. There are far fewer studies of postsecondary vocational education, but they show somewhat more impressive, positive results, especially for blacks and for some program areas. Both Mertens et al. (1980) and the National Institute of Education study (1980) found lower rates of unem- ployment for graduates of postsecondary programs in business occupations, trade and industry, and technical areas than for people in nonvocational postsecondary programs or those with no postsecondary education. These two studies also showed that graduates of postsecondary programs are more likely than graduates of secondary programs to find employment related to their training. In general, studies of the earnings of postsecondary vocation- al education graduates have been inconclusive. Grasso and Shea's planning paper for the National Institute of Education study ~ 1979a) reported benefits for postsecondary vocational graduates, but Mertens et al. (19803 con- cluded there was insufficient evidence to draw conclusions. A word of caution regarding the results of evaluations of vocational education is in order. Vocational education is provided in many different institutional settings under a rather loosely coordinated system of control. The quality of programs and intensity of instruction vary considerably, even within a given occupational field. Many evaluations of vocational educa- tion, in which earnings of graduates of vocational programs are compared with earnings of control groups, do not seek to distinguish between the returns for the stronger and weaker programs. One exception is a study conducted by the National Commission for Employment Policy ~ 1981). In that study, economic returns to graduates of area vocational schools or centers, which are generally assumed to be in the stronger set, were found to be higher than returns to graduates of vocational education programs in comprehensive high schools. Distinctions among programs are also made in several studies cited here (Meyer, 1981d; Meyer and Wise, 1982a, 1982b). Failure to account for differences in program quality, which results in showing only modest economic gains for all programs taken together, is a reason to question whether the evaluation studies estimate accurately the returns to the better-trained graduates. The findings of evaluation studies may also be rendered somewhat ambiguous by the fact that some unknown proportion of vocational students enroll in vocational courses or programs for nonoccupational reasons to learn how to run a household or to do electrical work, for example. These
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40 EDUCATION FOR TOMORROW'S JOBS people may enter the labor force looking for work intentionally unrelated to their vocational education. We do not judge whether the development of avocational skills is an appropriate use of public funds, but the fact that vocational education serves this dual function renders evaluation of eco- nomic returns difficult. Most of the evaluation studies focus on benefits accruing to graduates of vocational programs to assess the worth of vocational education. However, as Grubb (1979) notes, employers are often the primary beneficiary, since they can shift some of the costs of training employees (even in firm-specific skills) onto government. Thus, ignoring benefits to employers underesti- mates the value of vocational programs. Other Training Programs Assessment of the nature and effectiveness of several other employment training programs is relevant to the committee's work because of the emphasis they give to training their participants. The programs we cite in this section are the Job Corps, the Youth Incentive Entitlement Pilot Projects, and 70001 Ltd. Other federal employment programs, such as the Manpower Development and Training Act and other portions of CETA, have paid relatively less attention to training and instead have emphasized giving participants work experience, which has been shown to be less effective than classroom or on-thejob training in increasing postprogram earnings (Bass), 19821. The Job Training Partnership Act, which continues the support of the Job Corps, emphasizes training in its other programs as well. The Job Corps is a federally funded program aimed at reducing unem- ployment among disadvantaged, unemployed, out-of-school young people ages 16-21. The Job Corps was originally established under the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964; later it was supported under Title IV of the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act of 1973. It operates about 100 residential training centers in which participants receive remedial education in the basic skills, vocational training, support services such as health care, and general preparation for work. A number of different organizations become involved in various aspects of the Job Corps pro- gram. International unions participate in recruiting, placing, and training participants. Employment services work in recruiting and placing partici- pants. Local schools train participants under contract to the Job Corps centers. And volunteer or community-based organizations work to recruit and place participants in jobs and also to provide support services to them. More quantitative data are available on the Job Corps than on most other federal training programs for disadvantaged people (Bendick, 19821.
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Education and Training for Employment 41 Probably the most robust evaluations of the Job Corps have been conducted by Mallar and his associates (1978, 19801. The first evaluation (Mallar et al., 1978), which followed participants for seven months, showed that, on the average, Job Corps participants earned more per week than those in comparison groups and more of them obtained employment, attended college, or joined the military services. They also showed other benefits, such as better health, and reported reductions in criminal behavior and drug or alcohol abuse. The second evaluation (Mallar et al., 1 980), which followed participants for two years, showed an increase in the amount of employment, earnings, military enlistment, and the probability of getting a high-school diploma and a reduction in reliance on public assistance, such as unemployment insurance. These results seem even more impressive when one remembers that the Job Corps serves severely disadvantaged people-those most in need of help and those least likely to make similar attainments without such assistance. The notable success of the program is attributed largely to its emphasis on training and its provision of a supportive environment for participants. 70001 Ltd. is a nationwide private enterprise (which has received some money from CETA) that has grown from a privately funded project in Delaware in 1969. 70001 Ltd. serves high-school dropouts in 45 communi- ties across the country. The participants, who have been screened on the basis of abilities and attitudes, agree to work toward specific individual goals. They are given a 2- to 5-week period of training in work habits and attitudes and job-seeking skills. Participants are encouraged to work toward a general educational development certificate. They participate in a national youth organization associated with 70001 Ltd., modeled after the Distribu- tive Education Clubs of America (an organization for vocational education students), which provides peer-group and motivational support. The train- ing for 70001 Ltd. programs is usually conducted by community-based organizations with assistance from the national 70001 Ltd. office. A coordinator, determining that individual participants are ready for employment, arranges job interviews for appropriate occupations with private-sector employers. Coordinators try to ensure a good match between jobs and participants. The youth organization associated with 70001 Ltd. provides recognition for educational and occupational achievements, teaches organizational and leadership skills, and helps participants develop a sense of career and community awareness and responsibility. Evaluations show generally positive results, including gains in earnings for 70001 Ltd. participants. An evaluation by Public/Private Ventures found that gains in earnings actually increased over time rather than declin- ing, as is usually the case with such programs (Sullivan, 19834. About
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42 EDUCATION FOR TOMORROW'S JOBS three-quarters of the enrollees complete the program, and about three- quarters of those who complete the program are placed in unsubsidized jobs in the private sector. Another federally funded program is the Youth Incentive Entitlement Pilot Projects (YIEPP) demonstration, which was authorized by the Youth Employment and Demonstration Projects Act of 1977. This program com- bined education and work in order to help reduce youth unemployment, to increase labor force participation, and to reduce school dropout rates of teenagers. The target population was people ages 16-19 from low-income or welfare households who had not graduated from high school. The program offered each participant a guaranteed job at the federal minimum wage, part-time during the school year and full-time during the summer, provided the participant remained in or returned to school or worked toward a general education development certificate. Continuing participation in the program was contingent on maintaining both school and work performance standards. The program subsidized the jobs of participants, usually at a rate of 100 percent. At two sites, subsidies of 75 and 50 percent were tried to test the effects of varying subsidy levels on employers' willingness to partici- pate. Participation of private-sector employers was found to be highly dependent on the level of subsidy offered. Employers were about four times more likely to participate with a 100 percent subsidy than with a 50 percent subsidy. The YIEPP demonstration program began in spring 1978 and ended full-scale operations in August 1980. Over 76,000 young people partici- pated in the program at 17 sites across the nation operated by competitively selected CETA prime sponsors. The program was evaluated by the Man- power Demonstration Research Corporation, which has issued a series of reports on the program. Two are of particular relevance to the current study (Diaz et al., 1982; Parkas et al., 19821. Selected findings of those evalua- tion reports are presented here. In general, the prime sponsors were able to secure jobs for all participants, but they did have some difficulty at a rural site in Mississippi. Overall the quality of the work experiences of the participants was judged adequate or better, meaning that the young people were kept busy, that they were held to their performance standards, that they received adequate supervision, that their work was varied, and that there was a low ratio of participants to supervisors. The quality of the work experience did not vary substantially among the private, public, and private nonprofit sectors. Establishing and enforcing school performance standards for participants proved difficult and time consuming. However, anecdotal evidence sug- gests that enforcement of the standards gave the program needed credibility
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Education and Training for Employment 43 among school administrators. It also was used in several instances to effect the provision of educational remediation when students' performance de- clined. In general, cooperation between the schools and prime sponsors was good. Schools complied with monitoring requirements; they effectively recruited students for participation; and, as best they could, they provided flexible scheduling of classes to accommodate students' work schedules. Application and participation rates in YIEPP were high, indicating the eagerness of disadvantaged young people to obtain minimum-wage jobs, even though that also meant adhering to performance standards and either going to school or pursuing an equivalency certificate. Of those who had heard about the program, about 80 percent had applied, and about 56 percent of those eligible at the beginning of the program had participated by its termination. Participation rates at the end of the program were 22 percent for whites, 38 percent for Hispanics, and 63 percent for blacks. Diaz et al. (1982) hypothesized that the greater participation rates for black and His- panic young people may be attributable to the limited employment opportu- nities for them in the unsubsidized labor market. Analyses of youth employ- ment data by Borus (1983) suggest such a limitation for black young people, particularly in jobs paying the federal minimum wage. A Congressional Budget Of flee study ~ 1982), citing Stromsdorfer ~ 1979) and Taggart (1981), draws five major conclusions regarding a variety of employment and training programs for disadvantaged young people. First, considerable gains in employability can be made by young people who participate in programs offering remedial education, training, and well- structured work experience. The gains appear to be statistically related only to the amount of time spent in education and training, but work experience seems to act as a motivator for people to continue in the programs. Second, success in the workplace seems to be closely related to competence in the basic skills of reading, writing, speaking, and computing. Based on their analysis of data from the National Longitudinal Surveys of 1972 High School Seniors, Meyer and Wise ~ 1982a) draw similar conclusions regard- ing the importance of basic skills. Third, work experience alone, even when well supervised and highly supportive, does not appear to improve the employability of disadvantaged young people. To be effective, work expe- rience must be combined with other services, such as skill training and placement services. Fourth, to be effective, programs must be well man- aged, and participants who do not conform to minimal standards of be- havior should not be allowed to continue in the programs. Fifth, placement services and training in how to look for a job seem to increase the short-term employability of program participants. The work of Gardner et al. (1982) confirms this fifth conclusion for vocational education high-school graduates.
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44 EDUCATION FOR TOMORROW'S JOBS We conclude, therefore, that there is ample evidence that well- constructed training programs-ones that ensure a firm grounding in the basic skills, that provide supervised work experience, and that provide sufficient motivation for participants to complete the programs (usually through work experience)-offer promise for improving the employability of disadvantaged young people. We can infer that dislocated workers who participate in programs offering the same elements, though perhaps with different emphases, would profit similarly. ACCESS TO VOCATIONAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS A major concern that shaped the 1976 reauthorization of the Vocational Education Act of 1963 was ensuring access to vocational education pro- grams for those individuals who were likely to have trouble getting a job without that training or support, especially those people living in places with high unemployment rates or other indications of economic need. Congress wanted to ensure, first, that there were good vocational education programs in places where people were in particular need of training and, second, that those people who needed the training could enroll in programs likely to improve their employment prospects. Thus we examine two aspects of access to programs: first, the distribution of funds to localities in greatest apparent need, and second, enrollment in high-quality programs. In their study of the effectiveness of vocational education programs for the National Institute of Education, Benson and Hoachlander ( 1981 ) found in the 12 states studied that the distribution of federal funds to local education agencies was not effective in meeting those congressional con- cerns. Even in the seven states in which federal funds were directed properly to local education agencies with below-average relative financial ability (i.e., property value per unit of average daily school attendance), above-average unemployment rates, and above-average concentrations of low-income families, the pattern was not consistent across areas. The six states studied at the postsecondary level did not consistently allocate funds according to the criteria set by the federal government. Benson and Hoachlander (1981) studied enrollment patterns as well as the distribution of funds. They reported that women are concentrated in vocational programs that rank low in employment opportunities and aver- age expected wages. The same pattern holds, though much less strongly, for members of minority groups. They concluded that, in large cities, access to high-quality vocational education programs for various target groups-minorities, women, people with handicapping conditions, eco- nomically disadvantaged people, and students with limited English proficiency is often limited.
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Education and Training for Employment 45 They cited four reasons for this limited access. First, some of the programs are geographically isolated; programs may be offered in facilities far from the neighborhoods in which members of minority groups or disadvantaged students live. Second, limitations may be placed on program enrollments. The combination of insufficient funds to expand programs and intense competition for the most popular programs may tend to exclude students who do not possess the basic skills needed and virtually to elimi- nate the incentives for the programs to offer remedial education. Some- times, too, program enrollment is restricted to match labor market demand. Third, program admission requirements may exclude proportionately more disadvantaged students, even though this exclusion may be unintentional. Admission requirements may include scores on standardized ability or intelligence tests, grade point average, school attendance record, and per- sonal characteristics. Some programs may also require certain course work. Fourth, perceived restrictions in job entry may deter some students from applying to some programs. For example, female, black, or Hispanic students may avoid programs leading to careers in which they see that employers seldom hire others like themselves. This avoidance, of course, perpetuates the problem of underrepresentation of those groups in those occupations. As we observed earlier, it is not just large cities that face difficulties in offering enough good programs to students. The provision of a variety of high-quality programs in rural areas is also very difficult because sparsely populated areas cannot take advantage of economies of scale in establishing and operating programs (Rosenfeld, 19811. CONCLUSION We conclude this chapter as others who have studied education have done-with a mixture of optimism and grave concern. We believe we know what is important for vocational education students: mastery of the basic educational skills, exposure to a variety of occupations, mastery of the basic occupational skills, adoption of appropriate work habits, and participation in well-supervised work experience that is closely related to the school studies. Like others before us, we believe we know success when we see it, but we have no formula for making all programs successful. As this chapter notes, entry into the most effective vocational programs is highly competitive. Those students who have not mastered the basic educa- tional skills or who have not developed disciplined work habits cannot compete effectively for places in the programs. Because of the high demand for places, high-quality vocational programs have no incentives to offer remedial education to students who need it. Those students may have to rely
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46 EDUCATION FOR TOMORROW'S JOBS on generally effective but expensive programs like the Job Corps or 70001 Ltd. for their second chance. From our reviews of vocational education programs and other employ- ment training programs and from our collective experience with various aspects of such programs, we conclude that fundamental changes are needed to improve some vocational education programs to a significant degree. Those programs generally regarded as being most in need of improvement are often in public comprehensive high schools, and it is there that we concentrate our attention. We believe that those programs could be improved dramatically by strengthening the teaching staff and by increasing the flexibility of funding arrangements. We believe these changes, put forward in Chapter 4, are both desirable and possible, but we fully acknowl- edge that some of them will require enormous changes in institutions not noted for their willingness to change. Adoption of our recommendations will require considerable courage but should result in substantial improve- ment in educational and ultimately in employment opportunities for Amer- ica's young people. Evaluations of vocational education and other training programs fairly consistently show that supervised work experience in conjunction with education is important to success. This is the oldest and perhaps the best reason for collaboration between vocational education and business and industry, which is the subject of the next chapter.
Representative terms from entire chapter: