Cooperative Vocational Education in the Urban School: Toward a Systems Approach

J. Stone III

Today's cooperative vocational education programs need improvement in such areas as the selection of students; the development of employers into genuine training sponsors; and the evaluation of students' co-op work. This article discusses concrete strategies to improve these and other problems in current co-op practice. Stone points out that in order to expand work-based learning beyond a few demonstration programs, we must consider a range of possible workplaces. Although much current school-to-work discussion focuses on high performance or high-wage, high-skill workplaces, few of these workplaces now exist. Another possibility to consider is the community-building workplace, a business such as housing rehab, bicycle shops, or food service, which is created to respond to the local community's needs and is used as a focus for learning. A third model is the capacity-building workplace. This model calls for exploring ways to create learning opportunities within the routine service jobs usually held by young people. In conclusion, Stone synthesizes existing federal legislation into a "double integration" model that calls for both the integration of vocational and academic learning, and the integration of school-based and work-based learning. This is a valuable article for all educators interested in work-based learning.

MDS-1041 / January 1996


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