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ERIC Number: ED574633
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Oct
Pages: 20
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 58
From Vocational Education to Linked Learning: The Ongoing Transformation of Career-Oriented Education in the U.S.
Lanford, Michael; Tierney, William G.
Pullias Center for Higher Education
Traditionally, the purpose of education in the United States has been conceived broadly, encompassing several goals, such as equity, civic participation, "whole-person" development, aesthetic appreciation, and greater cultural awareness. The renewed focus on equipping students with marketable skills is both a response to the globally-competitive labor market engendered by the Financial Crisis of 2008 and an implicit critique of the traditional American liberal education model. Innovative approaches to fostering student participation in STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) are being promoted by a wide spectrum of politicians, corporations, and policy think tanks. Many observers argue that educational outcomes should reflect the changing needs of the workforce, and high school curricula should integrate academic instruction with work-based learning. With these trends in mind, researchers at the Pullias Center for Higher Education are currently studying new educational paradigms that are attempting to redefine career-oriented education for the twenty-first century. This monograph first presents a brief history of vocational education in the United States, followed by descriptions of newer initiatives. Multiple Pathways, California Partnership Academies, and Linked Learning, movements in California that seek to combine career-oriented training with academic rigor, are each discussed in detail. Three themes emerge in the literature on Multiple Pathways, California Partnership Academies, and Linked Learning: (1) Support systems must be in place for teachers and administration if these school reform initiatives are going to be successful. (2) Scaling up has proven especially difficult (Oakes & Saunders, 2008). (3) The sustainability of these initiatives is always a concern (Hubbard & McDonald, 2014). While it is possible that educational initiatives like Linked Learning can promote diversity, stimulate a student's interest in lifelong learning, and inculcate valuable skills that lead to a successful career, their relative novelty means that current research is far from conclusive.
Pullias Center for Higher Education. University of Southern California Rossier School of Education, Waite Phillips Hall Room 701, 3470 Trousdale Parkway, Los Angeles, CA 90089. Tel: 213-740-7218; Fax: 213-740-3889; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: University of Southern California, Pullias Center for Higher Education
Identifiers - Location: California