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With the high rate of adolescent unemployment an economic reality, the secondary education system needs to concern itself with the occupational future of the youth of America. Vocational education provides students with an alternative to a college degree. When vocational education is used in conjunction with local industries, a unique relationship is formed in which both institutions can benefit. These benefits include the following:
Furthermore, the United States Office of Education 1975 policy paper states the following:
“while initial implementation of career education will be relatively inexpensive, total educational reform is going to be expensive” the days of educational isolationism are past. It is time that our formal education system join forces with all other segments of the total society “to meet the varied and continuing educational needs of both youth and adults” all must collaborate in providing appropriate educational opportunities for all citizens.
During times of slow economic growth and high technological change, many industrial firms find themselves needing fewer employees or are forced to replace their workforce with individuals who have updated technological skills. With this in mind, the education system should find ways to adapt to the current employment needs of the society. Of the several kinds of process-oriented approaches to educational change (e.g. year round education or acquiring a higher counselor-student ratio), career education represents the most logical and certainly the most available approach for consideration by career guidance professionals.
By joining forces, schools and industries can find ways to benefit one another. Teaching job-specific skills in the classroom can provide students with the necessary background for participating in summer internships. These internships will provide students with valuable work experience that will make them much more marketable upon graduation, not to mention give them extra money to save for college if they so desire. Summer work programs can also benefit the instructors so that they can keep up-to-date with the current advances in technology that influence the industries which they support.
The working relationship between industry and education is a natural one in which both parties benefit. It is a cost-efficient way to prepare the youth of today for the challenges of tomorrow. Students learn the necessary skills to make them a marketable citizen and the industries have a well-trained group of potential employees to choose from. This “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” scenario provides the best way to meet the ever-changing needs of today’s working society.
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