ERIC Number: ED309252
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1989-Apr
Reference Count: 0
The Disadvantaged: Paths to Success. NCEE Brief Number 3.
Wells, Amy; Schwartz, Wendy
A study collected the life histories of 100 subjects to identify factors that lead to professional success for people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Subjects were 100 black and white men and women in the upper middle class of the professional class in business, academia, or government. All were midcareer, aged 40-55. Sixty came from disadvantaged backgrounds; the others formed a control group of people with at least one parent who graduated from high school or held higher status jobs. Findings indicated educational attainment was crucial. In addition, a positive relationship with a teacher was an important factor. Religion in the home was able to offset difficulties, and some achievers applied the positive aspects of religion to their professional development. Mentoring was shown to be an important factor in success; however, this was heavily influenced by both gender and race. One crucial personality trait was a willingness to work hard. Also important was the ability to confront problems directly and to turn them into positive experiences. Finally, a belief in one's ability to succeed was a vital prerequisite. (YLB)
Descriptors: Adults, Career Education, Disadvantaged, Educational Attainment, Educational Background, Family Characteristics, Parent Background, Personality Traits, Professional Development, Professional Personnel, Success
National Center on Education and Employment, Teachers College, Box 174, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027 (free; enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope).
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: National Center on Education and Employment, New York, NY.