Which non-American education systems best prepare young people for fulfilling jobs and successful adult lives? And what can the United States—where far too many young people currently enter adulthood without adequate preparation for the twenty-first-century job market—learn, adopt, and adapt from these other systems?
In Schooling in the Workplace, Nancy Hoffman addresses these questions head on, arguing that “the smartest and quickest route to a wide variety of occupations for the majority of young people in the successful countries—not a default for failing students—is a vocational program that integrates work and learning.” As she notes, the programs that successfully integrate work and learning all share a fundamental commitment to helping young people find successful careers: “The purpose is not ‘college for all,’ as in the United States today, but rather to provide the education and training young people need to prepare for a career or calling.”
Schooling in the Workplace explores the vocational education programs in a wide range of countries, focusing in rich and useful detail on six in particular: Australia, Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, and Switzerland. Framing these discussions, however, is a persistent focus on American circumstances and challenges. Far more than a survey of six “foreign” programs, this is a book prompted by and organized around the policy and practical challenges facing the United States.
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Nancy Hoffman is a vice president and senior advisor at Jobs for the Future. Stanley S. Litow is Vice President of Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs at IBM and president of IBM’s International Foundation.Review:
“I enthusiastically endorse Hoffman’s final suggestion to the reader: 'Buy a plane ticket to one of the strong VET countries, talk to employers, see young people at work, and decide for yourself whether the system performs as described here.' Before you travel, I whole-heartedly recommend that you read this book.” — Roland Osterlund, Center on International Education Benchmarking
“Well written and filled with excellent recommendations, this book is a must read for those concerned with how the US can better assist its young adults, employers, and the country alike in reforming the transition from school to work, ensuring a well-prepared workforce for the future.” — T. Gutteridge, CHOICE
“This book includes rich details that should be the source for such critical reflection, discourse, and action.” — Judith Parker, Teachers College Record
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