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Strategies Urged To Connect Youths With Careers

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Schools should use the workplace as a learning context, and employers should change their hiring practices to better prepare inner-city youths for further education and employment, according to a report.

The Committee for Economic Development urges employers to pursue several methods of connecting these young people with careers: using schools and community organizations for recruiting, providing students with internships and other forms of job experience, using transcripts and teacher recommendations when hiring, and giving young workers access to career ladders rather than dead-end jobs.

The committee, a group of 250 business and education leaders, observes that nearly 40 percent of the nation's black children, 32 percent of its Hispanic children, and 36 percent of its students with limited English proficiency are educated in only 47 large-city school districts.

Many of these young people are growing up in distressed neighborhoods, where a confluence of poverty, crime, unemployment, and family instability limit their life prospects.

The report, "Connecting Inner-City Youth To the World of Work," released this month draws on recommendations from earlier CED documents, including calls for changing school governance, raising standards, improving the quality of teachers, and giving families greater access to health and social services.

But it asserts that such steps must go hand in hand with changes in the style of teaching and learning in the classroom.

"Innovative schools," it says, "are making contextualized learning central to their teaching and using the workplace as a learning context."

Copies of the report are available for $12 each, plus 10 percent postage and handling, from the CED, Distribution Division, 477 Madison Ave., New York, N.Y. 10022.

--LYNN OLSON

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