Career options

Date posted: July 18, 2011

Are young people today motivated to stay in school? And do they see going to school as an avenue to getting a good job? N.C. Cooperative Extension economist Mike Walden discusses what the latest research says for North Carolina.

“Some people would say no.  We have a significant drop out rate of high school and college.  And some people say that one way to reduce this is perhaps, as early as high school, provide more vocational education options.

“In fact, an organization that recently concluded this fact based on a study they did was Harvard University. And what they argue is that we really have had in this country for the last generation a really pro-college track in high school, really motivating kids to go to high school.  And that’s understandable, because  more jobs require college education.

“But the Harvard study concluded that about half of the jobs, for example, in North Carolina in the future are still only going to require a high school education.  And if you have kids in high school perhaps who don’t see a direct connection between what they’re learning and a job, they may be less motivated to study and they may indeed drop out.

“So, one thing that educators at all levels may want to consider for the future is … changing the high school curriculum to where there’s more of a vocational and technical option open to students.”

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