Skills Training Research
Harrington, Paul, McDonagh, John, Techniques
This article discusses the results of a study entitled, "The Impact of Vocational Education Programs on Labor Market Outcomes for High School Students."
New job opportunities in the New England states have resulted in fundamental change in the region's economy. It's helpful to compare these recent years to those following World War II. The job market in those years experienced rapid gains in worker productivity, rising wages and strong growth in family incomes. Manufacturing industries dominated the industrial landscape in New England and acted as engines of growth and prosperity throughout the nation. Now there are more job opportunities in non-manufacturing industries. Job growth in the service industry especially has altered New England's education system. A large and growing share of new jobs increasingly are demanding the communications skills that students can learn in a classroom setting. However, the problem for many high schools continues to be their distance from business and industry when developing curricula. The curriculum outlines from the National School-To-Work Office suggest that students need to develop a broad set of generic skills that are transferable across industries. However, there are also proponents of specific skills training that believe customized training is the best way to increase worker productivity. Using data from the National Adult Literacy Survey, occupational staffing patterns from industry and other job characteristics data, our findings suggest that what might be perceived as broad industry requirements are in fact the composites of highly diverse specific requirments found among occupations that compose these broad industry groups. …