Vocational Education Column

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Sixty percent of U.S. adults think public high schools in their communities are not doing enough to prepare noncollege-bound students to find jobs, a new survey has found.

And more than 72 percent of working adults say they would try to get more information about career options if they could start over, according to the telephone survey of about 1,000 adults by the Gallup Organization.

"Without question, this survey is telling us that the American public wants us to pay more attention to helping students make the transition from school to the workplace, and they are right,'' Juliette N. Lester, the executive director of the National Occupational Information Coordinating Committee, said.

The federal interagency group, which tracks labor-market information, commissioned the survey, along with the National Career Development Association, a group of about 5,400 career-development professionals.

Only 5 percent of survey respondents with less than a high school degree--and 15 percent of those with no more than a high school degree--reported that they had talked to a school counselor about career options.

In contrast, 52 percent of college graduates had sought such help, as had 44 percent of people with some postsecondary training.

Nearly two-thirds of people ages 18 to 25 are working. And they are more likely to say they have needed help in the past year choosing or finding employment than any other age group. They are less likely to say their education and training were being used very well in their previous jobs.

The National Center for Research in Vocational Education has released a report that describes ways to improve technical-preparation programs in urban school districts by integrating vocational and academic studies.

Technical-preparation programs typically combine the final two years of high school with the first two years of postsecondary education in a program of studies that leads to an associate's degree or a skills certificate.

The report, "Establishing Integrated Tech Prep Programs in Urban Schools: Plans Developed at the N.C.R.V.E. 1993 National Institute,'' includes models developed for such cities as Baltimore, Detroit, Cleveland, and Philadelphia.

Copies are available for $25 each from the N.C.R.V.E., Materials Distribution Service, Western Illinois University, 46 Horrabin Hall, Macomb, Ill., 61455; (800) 637-7652.--LYNN OLSON

Vol. 13, Issue 18

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