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Vocational Education.

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Vocational programs aimed at helping girls and women achieve economic independence have succeeded, concludes a 10-state study by a task force of the National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education.

The study released by the Washington-based coalition found that an Oregon vocational-education program for displaced homemakers and single mothers helped reduce the percentage of participants who relied on public assistance by 50 percent. In a similar program in Florida, 71 percent of participants held jobs after completing it.

But the study's authors said the lack of data on enrollment and what happens to participants after they complete the programs was a major obstacle, preventing a national evaluation with information from every state.

Copies of the report, "Empowering America's Families," are available for $5 each from The National Network for Women's Employment, 1625 K Street, N.W., Suite 300, Washington, D.C. 20036; attention: Catalina Boggio.

Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley have issued a set of principles to guide Congress as it amends the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act, which is up for reauthorization this year.

Among the recommendations from the National Center for Research in Vocational Education are calls for improved training--including summer institutes, professional-development schools, and work placements--for educators.

Copies of the report are available from the center's Materials Distribution Service, Western Illinois University, 46 Horrabin Hall, Macomb, Ill. 61455; (800) 637-7652.

Last year, Hedrick Smith profiled American, German, and Japanese school-to-work systems in "Challenge to America," a Public Broadcasting Service series. Now, a video based on the series by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author is available from the Center for Learning and Competitiveness at the University of Maryland.

The 50-minute program examines a Wisconsin program that helps prepare students for careers in printing, contrasting it with German apprenticeship programs.

Copies of "Pathways to Success" and a companion guide are available for $15 from the University of Maryland, School of Public Affairs, College Park, Md. 20742; fax (301) 405-6955. Checks should be made payable to the University of Maryland Foundation--Center for Learning and Competitiveness.

--Meg Sommerfeld



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