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ERIC Number: ED535574
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 177
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1094-6350-7
The Determinants of Successful School-to-Work Transitions and Their Impact on Labor Market Outcomes
Kim, Kyung-Nyun
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, The Pennsylvania State University
Notwithstanding the astonishing growth in college enrollments, high school remains important to workforce entry. This fact is often buried by pronouncements about the primacy of U.S. higher education--in 2005, for example, 69% of high school graduates went on to college. In the meantime, a restructured economy has replaced unemployment with a form of disguised unemployment or nonstandard type of work, manifested as an underutilization of the labor force via part-time and low-pay work. Traditional employment indicators do not adequately portray the current school-to-work transition for young adults. This study's purpose was to investigate the school-to-labor market transition of high school educated workers, using job-education match as an alternative to traditional employment indicators. To address this issue, support, awareness, and skills were examined as elements of an important framework for a successful transition. As for outcome variables, this study considered job-education match and wage rate differential within-group. Family background, school experience, and work readiness were incorporated as potential predictors, with training credentials and demographic characteristics (e.g., work experience, gender, and race) controlled. This study targeted work-bound high school students only, who had never enrolled in school for further study three to six years after high school graduation. The data source was the NLSY 97. Analyses were conducted on two dimensions: cross-sectional and longitudinal. While there were some discrepancies between the cross-sectional study and growth model, overall this study demonstrated several results. As work experience accumulated, young workers found jobs appropriate to their education level; on average, 85% of workers held jobs that matched their education level six years after high school graduation. The effects of a training certificate on job-education match demonstrated that a lack of experience during high school could be mitigated by efforts made after entering the labor market. The initial status of the job-education match depended on several indicators: parents' education level, courses of study in high school, participation in school-to-work programs, and self-esteem. The speed of the job-education match was changeable and conditional on tech-prep and mentoring programs. Analyses of log hourly wage rates showed that these rates had a linear, rather than a quadratic, relationship with work experience. Comprehensive course of study, cooperative programs, and employment in high school increased the average log hourly wage rates across work experiences during the periods considered in this research, i.e., up to six years after high school graduation. Inclusion of job-education match as a predictor for log hourly wage rates into a model changed the relationships between other predictors and log hourly wage rates. This was indicative of the mediating role of job-education match for those relationships. In addition, job-education match itself had a significant effect on log hourly wage rates and explained most of the variances in log hourly wage rates within and between individuals. Against prevailing notions of vocational education, this study may provide minimal support for high schools' role in preparing students for future jobs; that is, the manifested purpose of vocational education--labor market advantage--can be facilitated by experience in high school. Study findings imply that it is worthwhile to make vocational programs approachable to students in high school. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: National Longitudinal Survey of Youth