ERIC Number: EJ1044082
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Reference Count: N/A
The Pursuit of Pathways: Combining Rigorous Academics with Career Training
Schwartz, Robert B.
American Educator, v38 n3 p24-29, 41 Fall 2014
In February 2011 author Robert Schwartz, along with with two colleagues--economist Ronald Ferguson and journalist William Symonds--released a report, "Pathways to Prosperity: Meeting the Challenge of Preparing Young Americans for the 21st Century," which was published by Harvard University's Graduate School of Education. When they first began meeting to discuss the study that led to this report, the group was mindful of the fact that 20 years earlier a commission established by the William T. Grant Foundation had issued a powerful report called "The Forgotten Half: Non-College Youth in America." As the title suggests, this 1988 report argued that public resources and support were disproportionately focused on young people headed for higher education, and that without a much more robust investment in preparing non-college-bound youth for successful transition into the workforce, these young people would be at significant social and economic risk. The jumping off question for the group's study was: Is there still a "Forgotten Half" today, and if so, how do they make more progress in serving that population in the next 20 years, than they made in the last 20? At first glance, it seemed unlikely that the researchers would find a persisting "forgotten half" in 2011. When they asked what proportion of young Americans have earned a college degree by their mid-20's, the answer was that just over half of that population has earned a meaningful postsecondary credential by that age. The conclusion, looking at high school and higher education drop-out data was that the case for investing in developing a set of rigorous career and technical education pathways alongside the strictly academic pathway is even stronger than it was 20 years ago. This article reveals the widening gap between those high school graduates who earn postsecondary credentials and skills and those who do not. Outlined are new models of vocational education demonstrating that it is indeed possible to combine rigorous academics with career training in high skill, high demand fields, thereby significantly reducing the proportion of young people at risk of sustained unemployment at the point of entry into the labor market.
Descriptors: Career Education, Vocational Education, Difficulty Level, Apprenticeships, Labor Market, Academic Achievement, Career Readiness, Higher Education
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A