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School to work programs ensure that high school students are able to make an easy transition from school to work or post secondary education. Students who are able to successfully complete the work to school programmes develop work readiness. They are able to apply technical and academic knowledge in the work place making an easy transition from school to work. This improves the student’s morale and confidence. Since the advent of school to work programmes there has been a decrease of school dropout cases (Bangser, 2008). In addition there has been improved performance among the high-risk groups. This study looks at the benefits and procedure of developing effective school to work programs.

In 1994 the school to work opportunities act was passed by the US congress to provide federally funded grants to states and local partnerships of businesses, government, and education and community organisations to develop the school to work systems (Joyce and Neumark).  This law was developed with the sole goal of encouraging states and partners to develop programs that will enable the school going students have an easy transition from school to work. Today the programs vary from state to state such that they cannot be described in general terms. The work based programmes are geared at providing students with a variety of skills that enable them adjust to the employment scene without much difficulty (Joyce and Neumark, 2001). They do so by ensuring that the gap between theory and practice is narrowed.

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According to the Utah state office of education the programmes are carried out under the guidelines of adult mentors who help the students learn how to solve problems, work in groups and meet the employer targets. Through these programs, students are able to learn how classroom work relates to work environment. High school graduates find themselves employed because they have the necessary credentials however they are not able to perform optimally because they are new to the work environment.

According to Joyce and Numark the 1994 act on school to work provided three core elements which are mandatory. This includes;

  • Learning that includes classroom instruction which must link work place experiences and class work along with providing classroom information to identify and prepare for the chosen careers (Joyce and Neumark,2001).
  • School curricula-linked learning that includes experience, training which is appropriate for the students’ career interests (Joyce and Neumark,2001).
  • Connecting activities so that schools and employers develop plausible links between schools based and work based components of school to work learning(Joyce and Neumark,2001).

According to Joyce and Numark this act points out gaps in curricular and ensures that students develop the necessary skills and abilities to necessitate them access the labour market. Bangser 2008 explains that high school do not prepare their students adequately for post secondary education and employment. In addition to this, about 30% of high school students do not graduate with a regular high school diploma. as a result these students combine work with some form of post high school education during a period when their future careers are not clearly determined.  In addition to this majority of high school graduates do not meet employers’ requirements in several academic areas. In addition these students lack employability skills such as team work, attendance and collaboration and work habits (Bangser, 2008).

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