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Preparing Today's Students for Tomorrow's Jobs in Metropolitan America

Preparing Today's Students for Tomorrow's Jobs in Metropolitan America

Edited by Laura W. Perna
Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 328
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  • Book Info
    Preparing Today's Students for Tomorrow's Jobs in Metropolitan America
    Book Description:

    Education, long the key to opportunity in the United States, has become simply essential to earning a decent living. By 2018, 63 percent of all jobs will require at least some postsecondary education or training. Teachers and civic leaders stress the value of study through high school and beyond, but to an alarmingly large segment of America's population-including a disproportionate number of ethnic and racial minorities-higher education seems neither obtainable nor relevant. Preparing Today's Students for Tomorrow's Jobs in Metropolitan America, edited by Laura W. Perna, offers useful insights into how to bridge these gaps and provide urban workers with the educational qualifications and skills they need for real-world jobs. Preparing Today's Students for Tomorrow's Jobs in Metropolitan America probes more deeply than recent reports on the misalignment between workers' training and employers' requirements. Written by researchers in education and urban policy, this volume takes a comprehensive approach. It informs our understanding of the measurement and definition of the learning required by employers. It examines the roles that different educational sectors and providers play in workforce readiness. It analyzes the institutional practices and public policies that promote the educational preparation of today's students for tomorrow's jobs. The volume also sheds light on several recurring questions, such as what is the "right" amount of education, and what should be the relative emphasis on "general" versus "specific" or "occupational" education and training? Ensuring that today's students have the education and training to meet future career demands is critical to the economic and social well-being of individuals, cities, and the nation as a whole. With recommendations for institutional leaders and public policymakers, as well as future research, this volume takes important steps toward realizing this goal.

    eISBN: 978-0-8122-0843-6
    Subjects: Education

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. 1-16)
    Laura W. Perna

    Although disagreeing about how much of an increase is required, most scholars agree that the United States must raise the educational attainment of its population in order to meet the knowledge requirements of future jobs (see Zumeta 2010 for a discussion of this debate). In Help Wanted: Projections of Jobs and Education Requirements through 2018, Anthony Carnevale, Nicole Smith, and Jeff Strohl (2010) attempt to quantify this need. They project that, by 2018, about two-thirds (63 percent) of all jobs (including both new and replacement jobs) will require at least some postsecondary education or training, up from 59 percent in...


    • CHAPTER 1 Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor . . . A Public Policy Agenda on Today’s Students and Tomorrow’s Jobs
      (pp. 19-36)
      Alan Ruby

      This chapter outlines the issues a policymaker looks for when trying to understand the Babel of competing ideas and points of view around the conjunction of two institutions—schooling and work. It begins with the personal because that is where policymakers usually begin, with their own history. The second section aligns personal experience with the structure of schooling and work as it existed fifty years ago, when that history began to form. That examination leads to a brief survey of the way thinking about the relationship between school and work has evolved since just before the rise of compulsory schooling....

    • CHAPTER 2 Assessing and Measuring Workforce Readiness: A Discussion toward the Development of a Universal and Valid Measure
      (pp. 37-56)
      Katherine M. Barghaus, Eric T. Bradlow, Jennifer McMaken and Samuel H. Rikoon

      Over the last fifty years workforce readiness has been studied extensively by academics and educational policy researchers alike. Whether it is immediately after the end of a student’s high school educational experience, or in preparation for college and/or graduate-level studies, our educational system is responsible for “preparing and making ready” students for a variety of different occupations and careers. To deliver on this duality (both work-force and higher education preparation), we also need to recognize the differential difficulty in achieving this mission across urban/rural areas in which the size of the school, types of jobs, funding sources, and myriad other...

    • CHAPTER 3 Work-Based Learning: Initiatives and Impact
      (pp. 57-72)
      Bridget N. O’Connor

      Perhaps the foremost challenge in reforming urban education is ensuring that all students have the resources they need to succeed. Public high school students in urban areas, where their more wealthy counterparts often attend private schools, are at a disadvantage. Socioeconomic status, which includes the support of responsible adults and family income, is a strong predictor of a student’s success in school (McNeal 2011). Yet we continue to focus urban school reform efforts on creating smaller classes and improving teaching. The smallest class with the best teacher will have little effect on a student’s success if that teacher is the...


    • CHAPTER 4 Improving Career and Technical Education in the United States
      (pp. 75-92)
      Nancy Hoffman

      To do productive work is a fundamental human need. Work attaches citizens to the public world and increases the health and well-being of families and communities. A significant task for any society is to support and guide young people as they explore occupations, test themselves in the work world, and determine how they will contribute to the economy. Under the best vocational education systems, such as those in the Germanic and Nordic countries, Australia, and New Zealand, young people complete the portion of their education that is “all school” at around age fifteen or sixteen. As they mature from later...

    • CHAPTER 5 Postsecondary Education and Economic Opportunity
      (pp. 93-120)
      Anthony P. Carnevale, Nicole Smith and Jeff Strohl

      Education has always played both a social and an economic role in the United States. Since the industrial revolution, Americans have looked to education to help reconcile the equality implicit in democratic citizenship with the inequality natural to market economies. After the closing of the frontier in the late nineteenth century, education became an important route to economic success. In the post-World War II era, education gradually evolved into the preferred and the most well-traveled route to good jobs. While not new, the correlation between education or training after high school and career success has strengthened dramatically since the 1980s.¹...

    • CHAPTER 6 Community College Occupational Degrees: Are They Worth It?
      (pp. 121-148)
      Thomas Bailey and Clive R. Belfield

      This chapter provides a broad overview of the economic consequences of occupational higher education in the United States, with a particular focus on community colleges. The apparent contrast between employment-focused occupational or career education on the one hand and academic or liberal arts education on the other has been the basis of a long-standing controversy about the role of higher education and what it should be and do to serve society most effectively. This tension has taken on more urgency as U.S. higher education has increasingly come under criticism from policy-makers, researchers, and the public. U.S. colleges and universities, which...

    • CHAPTER 7 The Conundrum of Profit-Making Institutions in Higher Education
      (pp. 149-174)
      William G. Tierney

      Recently, Greg Davis, a columnist for the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), critiqued the $35 million community college “Completion by Design” initiative, a project created by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and endorsed by President Obama’s administration. Davis asserted that the initiative ultimately would harm the poor. He argued that an undertaking aimed at completion in organizations where almost a quarter of the students were dropouts would cripple community college budgets and exclude those very students that community colleges were designed to serve. The logic was that those students who are most at risk of not completing a degree...


    • CHAPTER 8 Strengthening the Education and Workforce Connection: What Types of Research Are Required to Determine How Well Career Pathways Programs Prepare Students for College and Careers?
      (pp. 177-202)
      Lashawn Richburg-Hayes, Michael Armijo and Lisa Merrill

      Globalization, technological change, and the rise of a knowledge-based economy have spurred the need to improve educational attainment and ensure a rising standard of living for American citizens (Council on Competitiveness 2008). As a result of these changes, employees require greater knowledge and skills to compete for new labor market opportunities across the nation and the world (Carnevale, Smith, and Strohl 2010). As described in the introduction to this volume, business and education leaders nationwide have called for the United States to better prepare young people to be career and college ready after finishing high school, and for all working-age...

    • CHAPTER 9 Conceiving Regional Pathways to Prosperity Systems
      (pp. 203-223)
      Ronald F. Ferguson

      Since its inception, our nation has undergone several major phases in the collective responsibility we assume for our young. Initially, education was a private affair. Indeed, it took a century to achieve broad agreement that government should be responsible for schooling (Tyack 1974). Thomas Jefferson proposed the idea soon after the American Revolution. He understood that citizens would under-invest in education because they would fail to consider the full societal benefits. Gradually over the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Americans came to agree with Jefferson.

      By the middle of the twentieth century, state and local governments across the nation had...

    • CHAPTER 10 Aligning Secondary and Postsecondary Credentialization with Economic Development Strategy, or “If Low Educational Attainment = Poor Metropolitan Competitiveness, What Can Be Done about It?”
      (pp. 224-244)
      Laura Wolf-Powers and Stuart Andreason

      Several chapters in this volume consider the role of public policy in improving connections between education and the labor market. Of particular concern in these chapters are the education and employment of students in poor school districts in America’s central cities and inner suburbs—school districts in which a majority of students come from low-income, low-wealth households. As Goldin and Katz succinctly put it in the final chapter of their book The Race between Education and Technology, “it is important to recognize that schools are essentially failing particular students. Those left behind by the system are mainly minority children in...

    • CHAPTER 11 Creating Effective Education and Workforce Policies for Metropolitan Labor Markets in the United States
      (pp. 245-259)
      Harry J. Holzer

      How well do our education policies prepare America’s youth for the labor market? What challenges limit our success, and what opportunities do we have for improvement? Can public policy play a greater role in encouraging more success? Many chapters in this volume have addressed these issues already. In this chapter, I provide my own summary of what we know on these issues, incorporating but also complementing many of the perspectives provided by the other authors.

      In addition, I consider these questions as they apply to the unique characteristics of metropolitan areas in the United States. Most labor markets are metropolitan...

  7. Conclusion
    (pp. 260-274)
    Laura W. Perna

    Education is clearly critical to the economic status and well-being of individuals and our nation (Baum, Ma, and Payea 2010). In this volume, the chapters by Anthony Carnevale and colleagues as well as Thomas Bailey and Clive Belfield demonstrate that, on average, students have higher earnings when they complete additional levels of education, although the premium varies by major field. Bailey and Belfield also illustrate that the increase in earnings associated with higher levels of education is greater for individuals living in metropolitan than in non-metropolitan areas. While several authors acknowledge the many ways that society in general benefits from...

  8. NOTES
    (pp. 275-286)
  9. List of References
    (pp. 287-314)
  10. List of Contributors
    (pp. 315-320)
  11. INDEX
    (pp. 321-332)
    (pp. 333-338)
    Laura W. Perna