What helps minority students succeed in the work world? Subjective factors such as self-confidence count most heavily for these students, whereas in the dominant culture, objective factors (like intelligence and family's occupational standing) control career success. These interviews with 20 African-American and Latino students indicate that parental support and personal and academic confidence are key to their achievements in work. Role models are another motivation for these students: both the desire to be a role model for others in their community, and the presence of role models in home, school, community, and personal life. Critical events such as death or illness in the family, or a friend's drug addiction, can exert a strong influence on students' career plans (as when a family's health problems led one student to choose medicine as her career). The quotations from students in this paper bring to life their experiences, desires, and expectations about their future in the world of work.
MDS-1070 / June 1996
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