ERIC Number: ED489103
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Aug
Who Benefits from Postsecondary Occupational Education? Findings from the 1980s and 1990s. CCRC Brief Number 23
Bailey, Thomas; Kienzl, Gregory; Marcotte, David
Community College Research Center, Columbia University
Technological changes in the workplace have placed considerable pressure on the U.S. educational system to prepare students for increasingly skillbased occupations. Employers reward new hires for having the skills or credentials needed for their job, underscoring the importance of having either the requisite "tools in your toolbox," or some basic academic preparation to continue on into postsecondary education. This stress on knowledge acquisition has contributed to a growing wage gap between high school and college graduates. In general, the experience of individuals in the three samples considered in this Brief demonstrated that economic outcomes improved with education in expected ways (see the box on page 4 of this Brief for information on data sources and sample populations for this study). Higher levels of education were associated with more stable and economically sustaining employment outcomes, and employment outcomes improved as individuals completed more years of education. The authors findings generally support the conclusion that students benefit from a community college education when compared with those who have only a high school diploma. They also found that community college occupational students do at least as well as, and in some cases significantly better than, students in academic programs. Moreover, certificate and associate degree holders generally have higher returns to education than do individuals with similar years of postsecondary education but no credential; however, in some instances the difference is not statistically significant. Finally, there are noticeable differences in the returns to postsecondary education and degrees by gender, with women generally experiencing a greater economic benefit from schooling and credentials than do men.
Descriptors: College Graduates, Education Work Relationship, Vocational Education, Job Skills, Outcomes of Education, High School Graduates, Community Colleges, Postsecondary Education, Gender Differences
Community College Research Center, Teachers College, Columbia University, 525 West 120th Street, P.O. Box 174, New York, NY 10027. Tel: 212-678-3091; Web site: http://www.tc.columbia.edu/ccrc.
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: Postsecondary Education; Two Year Colleges
Authoring Institution: Community Coll. Research Center.