Does Participation in a School-To-Career Program Limit Educational and Career Opportunities?

Published in: Journal of Career and Technical Education, v. 18, no. 2, Spring 2002

Posted on RAND.org on April 01, 2002

by Robert Bozick, Keith MacAllum

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School-to-career (STC) programs have frequently been criticized for steering participants into a one-track career path and narrowing their scope of educational possibilities. On the other hand, STC programs have been touted for their positive influence on preparing students for the challenges and responsibilities of the workplace. Little empirical evidence, however, has been put forth to gauge the positive/negative effects of STC program participation with respect to career plans, educational trajectories, and labor force attachment post-high school. This paper examines graduates of a manufacturing focused STC program alongside a comparison group in order to detect similarities and differences in their post-high school lives. STC graduates are more likely to work in and have career goals that are aligned with the STC program sponsor, yet have higher post-secondary enrollment rates, greater educational expectations, and are better prepared for the transition to young adulthood. Most importantly, program participation does not compromise career goals.

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