Career academies combining vocational and academic classes show long-term success in improving students’ earnings, especially for males, reports an MDRC study.
Eight years after graduation, career academy participants are more likely to be employed than those who applied for academies but didn’t get in; they also earn more.
The participants were mainly Hispanic and black, and the schools had emphases including business, tourism, health care and electronics, with students enrolled for three or four years.
Eight years after high school, when most participants were about 26, the academy group had average earnings 11 percent â€” or $2,088 a year â€” higher than the control group.
â€œThe findings show that you can make an investment in high school that has a measurable payoff in earnings well after,â€ said James J. Kemple, the author of the study and an education specialist at Manpower, a New York-based group that evaluates poverty programs.
â€œThey also show that you can provide a solid foothold in the labor market without compromising a studentâ€™s capacity to go on to college,â€ Mr. Kemple said.
Males earned 17 percent more than the control group.
Career academy participants and those who applied but ended up in the control grup had similar rates of high school and college completion, much higher than their classmates who had no interest in career prep.