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ASSOCIATION FOR CAREER & TECHNICAL EDUCATION

Research Round-up: CTE Unemployment Rates, Student Traits, Service Learning

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June 25, 2014

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Research Round-up: CTE Unemployment Rates, Student Traits, Service Learning

Recent research examines unemployment rates for community college graduates studying CTE and academic fields, explores the role of relevant learning and supports in developing positive student traits and describes state policies on service learning.

A New York Times analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data finds that community college graduates in a CTE field of study had an unemployment rate of 4 percent in April 2013, in comparison to a 4.8 percent unemployment rate for community college graduates who studied academic fields. Those in the some college, no degree category had a 6.6 percent unemployment rate.

Persistence, intellectual openness, self-management, interpersonal skills and navigational knowledge are identified as key to college and career success in a Jobs for the Future publication. In addition, the authors note that making learning relevant is key to development of these positive student traits. 

The report asserts that schools can do more to encourage the development of these traits through student-centric school environments and partnering with community and nonprofit organizations that provide supports. Examples of schools that are making strides in this area are Early College High Schools, New York City's Learning to Work schools and the YouthBuild program, as well as programs that take a "cradle to career" approach.

Finally, the Education Commission of the States completed a recent scan of state policies on service learning and found that:

  • 33 states have service learning as an element of their academic standards or frameworks
  • 24 states recognize service learning as a method of preparing students for the workforce
  • 23 states either allow or require school districts to award credit for service learning, to be counted toward graduation requirements
  • 17 states identify service learning as an instructional strategy for student achievement
  • Maryland and DC require high school students to participate in service learning or community service in order to graduate

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