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Planning for the Future: An Investigation of Work- and College-Bound Rural Youth Bryan C. Hutchins Judith L. Meece Soo-yongByun Thomas W. Farmer
Introduction • According to a recent report from the U.S. Department of Education (Snyder & Dillow, 2010) • In 2003, 35% of rural high school students were attending a four year college. In 2007 this number increased to 42%. • In city areas: increased from 32.5% to 36.1% • In suburban areas: increased from 40.3% to 41.2% • Despite the growth in rural high school students attending college, little is known about the background characteristics and schooling experiences related to rural students’ decisions to attend college or enter the work force after high school.
Introduction • What do we know about rural college- and work-bound youth? • Using a national sample, Rojewski (1999) found that rural youth were more likely to be work-bound after high school than non-rural youth (51.1% vs. 41.4%) • In addition, Rojewski (1999) found: • Individuals with lowest socioeconomic status (SES) were twice as likely to be work-bound, whereas those with highest SES were four times more likely to be college-bound. • Work-bound rural youth were more likely to be in vocational programs than college-bound rural youth (19.5% vs. 4.8%) and work-bound rural youth were more likely to be in vocational programs than non-rural work-bound youth (23.2% vs. 17.6%). • College-bound youth had higher occupational aspirations than work-bound youth. • No difference between rural and non-rural work-bound youth on preference for staying close to home. • College-bound rural youth thought it was more important to move away from home than college-bound non-rural youth.
Introduction • Problems for work-bound youth • Narrow high school curriculum, shortage of teachers with advanced degrees, and limited access to career counseling and preparation programs may contribute to rural youth being less prepared for available occupational opportunities if they enter the workforce directly after high school (Gándara, Gutiérrez, & O’Hara, 2001; Haller & Vickler, 1993; Lapan, Tucker, Kim, & Koscuilek, 2003) • Employment opportunities for rural work-bound youth in service, labor, extraction, textiles, agriculture, etc. are declining (Albrecht, Albrecht, & Albrecht, 2000; Crockett, Shanahan, & Jackson-Newsom, 2000) • Rural youth may have educational and occupational aspirations that conflict with the goals of rural school-to-work programs (Rojewski, 1999; Howley, et al., 1996)
The Current Study • Only study of college- and work-bound rural youth used data from graduating class of 1992 (e.g., Rojewski, 1999) • Few studies have considered schooling influences on work- and college-bound rural youth • Aims of the current study 1. Provide descriptive information on the number of work-and college-bound rural youth in a more recent sample. 2. Explore the relations of individual, family, community, and schooling experiences to rural students’ post-secondary plans.
Sample • 8,754 Students across 73 rural high schools took part in the survey during the 2007-2008 school year • Schools with NCES locale codes 6, 7, and 8 were contacted for this study (however, this presentation will use the new urban-centric locale codes) • Sample characteristics: • 51.5% female, 48.5% male • 64.1% White, 7% African American, 10.8% Hispanic or Latino(a), and 18.2% other (Native American, Asian, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, or multi-racial) • 27.9% 9th, 27.3% 10th, 25.1% 11th, and 19.7% 12th • 20.6% town, 4.2% rural-distant, 34.7% rural-remote, 40.5% rural-fringe/other town
Questions • Students were asked: 1) if they planned to work right after high school and 2) if they planned to continue their education beyond high school • This information was used to determine work-bound and college-bound status: • Work-bound (with no plans to continue education) • College-bound • Work to College (attend school while working or at a later date) • Student and teacher reports provided: • Student demographic information including socioeconomic information (student report) • Students’ schooling experiences, occupational aspirations, and perceived barriers to furthering education (student report) • Students’ academic achievement (teacher report)
Results - Demographics • Gender • Boys more likely to be work-bound than girls (50.1% vs 39.1%) • Race/Ethnicity • African American (48.8%) and Hispanic/Latino(a) (52.6%) rural youth more likely to be work-bound than White youth (41.6%) • Socioeconomic Status • Youth with higher levels of perceived family economic hardship were more likely to be work-bound (51.1%) than those with the lowest level of perceived hardship (37.2%) • Locale • No differences found for rural vs. town youth • Residential Preference • Work-bound youth are more likely to want to live in the same community (17.6% vs. 13.4%)
Results - Aspirations • How far in school would you MOST like to go: • Work-Bound: HS only (36%), attend/complete 2-year college (19%), graduate from college (9%), don’t know (27%). • Work to College: Attend/complete 2-year college (18%), graduate from college (41%), advanced degree (31%). • College-Bound: Attend/complete 2-year college (8%), graduate from college (38%), advanced degree (48%).
Results – Perceived Barriers • Those who plan NOT to continue their education (work-bound) do so because: • Rather work and make money • Plan to get married • College-bound and work to college students were asked about nine potential barriers to continuing their education • Overall, college to work students reported greater difficulty on all nine factors, but the greatest difference between both groups was on difficulty associated with: • Needing to help support family • Getting married • More unsure of what going to school would do for getting job • Having to move away
Results – Full Regression Model • After controlling for gender, ethnicity, grade, and SES it was found that: • Work-Bound youth are more likely than college-bound youth to: • Have lower educational and occupational aspirations • Have lower teacher-reported academic achievement • Take part in career preparation activities such as internships, job mentoring/shadowing, cooperative education, and school-based enterprise • Be enrolled in a vocational program or don’t know. However, overall few work-bound youth are enrolled in a vocational program (8%)
Summary of Findings & Implications • Majority of youth in this sample plan to attend college directly after high school • The majority of work-bound youth plan to continue their education after high school (76%) • Gender, Race/Ethnicity, and SES were related to work- and college-bound status • After controlling for demographic differences, students’ educational and occupational aspirations along with teacher reported achievement predicted whether students were work- or college-bound • Work-bound students more likely to take part in career preparation activities
Summary of Findings & Implications • Work-bound students not a homogenous group • Most work-bound youth want to continue their education, but working while attending school can present a challenge (Bozick & Deluca, 2005) • While work-bound youth may have lower aspirations and academic achievement, they are more likely than college-bound youth to take part in activities to help prepare them for their futures (job shadowing, mentorship, internships, etc.) • Rural schools should continue to facilitate career preparation activities and encourage college-bound youth to take part in these activities • School career counseling programs should work to meet the unique needs of those students who do not plan to continue their educations immediately after high school or plan to work and go to school
Limitations & Future Directions • Limitations • Study was cross-sectional and information was collected at single time point • Work- and college-bound status was derived from students’ expected plans. However, students may change (or fail to enact) their plans (Rojewski, 1999) • Future Directions • More longitudinal studies of rural youth making the transition from school to work/post-secondary education • More work is needed to understand: a) what programs, services, etc. are available to help rural youth transition to adulthood; and b) the congruence between the goals of these programs and the goals of rural youth
Questions, Comments, Concerns? Please contact me if you have any questions/comments at: Bryan C. Hutchins National Research Center on Rural Education Support 100 E. Franklin St., Suite 200 CB#8115 Chapel Hill, NC 27599 email@example.com (919) 962-0439