Institute on Education and the Economy

Learning to Work: Employer Involvement in School-to-Work Transition Programs

The American Workplace Needs to Play a Much Larger Educational Role

With job prospects clouded for even the well-educated, those who leave school with no training beyond high school face great challenges in making the transition from school to work. Research and experience in the United States and other countries lead many to believe that this transition could be smoother if the workplace played a larger educational role than it has in the past. Although employers have much to contribute, significant barriers stand in the way of increasing work-based educational programs.

This work, the result of a 1994 Brookings conference on employer participation in education, includes the perspectives of employers, educators, and policymakers. The contributors address the feasibility of work-based education as an extensive reform of U.S. education, whether the strategy can work for large numbers of students, what political and financial costs are associated with it, how schools might need to change to implement this reform, what state and federal policies could help promote it, and what alternate strategies might achieve similar results.

Because the keystone of work-based education is the placement of students in meaningful jobs, recruiting employers is crucial. Thus, this volume concentrates on approaches and barriers to securing the active participation of employers. The book concludes with concrete suggestions for future research and steps that could be taken to increase the quality and quantity of work-based education.

Chapters were written by:

  • Thomas Bailey, the director of the Institute on Education and the Economy, Teachers College, Columbia University
  • Paul Osterman, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Robert Poczik, Metis Associates
  • David Stern, National Center for Research in Vocational Education, University of California, Berkeley
  • Margaret Vickers, Center for Learning Technology and Work, The NETWORK.

Dr. Bailey also edited the volume.

To order the book, please contact the Brookings Institution publications office at (202) 797-6108 or (800)-275-1447.



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