Vocational Education

There are many challenges that a nation must face. One is preparing the
youth for the careers of tomorrow. Vocational Education prepares the young people
for successful careers. The contextual learning teaches concepts as they are
applied in real life and the world of work, hands-on problem solving activities/exercises.

Linking secondary and post secondary vocational education programs into a seamless
career preparation program.

Young people used to find it much easier to enter the job market than they do today.

Most jobs today require a combination of critical thinking and manual capabilities.

Employers are dissatisfied with the preparation of entry level workers. The employers
feel the expand and improve the career preparation offered by our nationís
secondary schools are a must.

WHAT IS WORKING

The 1994 National Assessment of Vocational Education (NAVE) shows that
participation in Vocational Education can have substantial payoffs for students,
particularly when students complete a program or coherent sequences of courses.

High school graduates who complete a coherent sequence of vocational courses are more
likely to find training related jobs, earn more in those jobs, and are less likely to be
unemployed over time than those with a more general background. Post secondary
students who complete non-baccalaureate degree vocational programs receive more
market benefits than those who complete the same number of credits, but does not

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complete a degree program. In recent years, Federal support has strengthened state and
local development of promising new approaches that address the readiness of
large segments of American youth to take up productive roles in todayís workplace.

The School-to-Work Opportunities Act broadens the meaning of curriculum by calling
for integrated learning organized into coherent sequences around broadly converged
career majors, work experience, as well as academics and occupational study. School-to-
work systems is driven by the recognition that neither academics not occupational
education alone provides all students with the skills Ė problem-solving, reasoning,
interactive learning-necessary for further education and for high wage employment.

Integrated learning also restores meaning and relevance to the studentís experience of
schooling. Transforming what in too many high schools is a disjointed series of courses
into a meaningfully integrated, experientially grounded education that continually
demonstrates to students how education applied to real life. Integrated learning is also a
teaching strategy that more closely matches human cognition than traditional high school
class work.

The development of integrated curriculum requires collaborative planning among
school administrators, academics and occupational teachers, employers, and labor unions.

School-to-Work partnership meetings also provide opportunities for building these
connections. This strategy has a long term potential for providing students with
vocational education experiences that raises both their motivation and achievements,
while also preparing them for employment and post secondary education. Many states

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across the nation are undertaking these promising directions as the cornerstone for major
reforms to improve workforce preparation in secondary and post secondary education.

REFERENCES

Vocational Education, http://www.ed.gov/updates/Working/voc-educ. 9/5/97

Curriculum Integration in School-to-Work Systems, http://www.stw.ed.gov/factsht/bull,

9/5/97