Becoming Adult: How Teenagers Prepare for the World of Work

Becoming Adult: How Teenagers Prepare for the World of Work

Becoming Adult: How Teenagers Prepare for the World of Work

Becoming Adult: How Teenagers Prepare for the World of Work

Synopsis

How do young people envision their occupational futures? What do teenagers feel about their schooling and after-school work, and how do these experiences affect their passage to adult work? These are the questions that psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and sociologist Barbara Schneider posed in their five-year study of adolescents. The results provide an unprecedented window on society's future through which we can glimpse how today's youth are preparing themselves for the lives they will lead in the decades to come.

Excerpt

In the Summer of 1991, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation provided the University of Chicago with a grant to study career formation among adolescents. A research team of Charles Bidwell, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Larry Hedges, and Barbara Schneider designed a national longitudinal study of adolescents in grades six, eight, ten, and twelve. A pilot study was conducted in 1991-1992, and the full-scale study was launched in the fall of 1992 and continued through 1997. This effort was unusual in that it brought together a diverse academic team of educators, psychologists, and sociologists to think about a problem commonly researched by scholars in career guidance and vocational development. Taking a different approach, the team decided that to understand how young people form ideas about future schooling and work, it is important to consider not only what the adolescents' aspirations are but also how they are influenced by family, peer groups, schools, and the communities in which they live. It was assumed that this broad perspective would provide new insights into how today's teenagers think about the future and how much influence others have in helping them formulate their plans.

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