Vocational education in the United States faces an uncertain future. Congress periodically debates consolidating the federal government's investment in education and training. Anticipated growth of markets for students who want to acquire, extend, or renew occupational competencies has led to a ratcheting up of the accountability threshold that will have to be reached by successful competitors. Consequently, vocational educators are being asked to provide credible evidence of high value-added performance at reasonable cost and in a timely manner. This document introduces three decades of research, along with multiple concepts and measures of employment and earnings. The authors look beyond the performance standards topic to satisfy the needs of local and state authorities who seek a better understanding of the employment affiliations and earnings paths of former students.
MDS-743 / September 1996
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