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    Document Summary
    - Report Published -

    Senate Document No. 7

    Document Title
    School-to-Work Transition Programs

    Department of Education

    Enabling Authority
    SJR 183 (Regular Session, 1993)

    Executive Summary
    The objectives of the study conducted to implement Senate Joint Resolution No. 183 were formulated as follows in response to the concerns and direction expressed in the resolution (Appendix A): (1) To assemble a team including the Department of Education, the Virginia Community College System, the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry, and the Virginia Department of Rehabilitative Services; (2) to examine the development and establishment of school-to-work transition programs within the Commonwealth; and (3) to prepare this report, including study findings and recommendations for future program establishment and development. A variety of state agencies, in addition to those names in SJR 183, participated in the study. Inter-agency agreement was achieved concerning basic beliefs, a vision statement, and recommendations for next steps in developing a school-to-work transition system.

    The current national and state emphasis on school-to-work transition is a result of rapidly changing technology, international competition, and the decreasing number of jobs available due to organizational restructuring and economic problems. In addition, many students lack the advanced skills sought by employers, who can be very selective in the employment process. The United States and a number of other countries do not have a system for transition of youth from school to work. Efforts to alleviate the problems created by lack of such a system are in progress nationally and internationally. College graduates and experienced adult workers, as well as high school students, need such a system to develop career coping skills for a lifetime.

    Study procedures included a review of related literature, definitions of key terms associated with the transition initiative, analysis of selected state programs by team members (a total of 42), development of a matrix to summarize program study results, and formulation of recommendations. Sub-teams were established to define terms; to develop the vision statement; and to formulate recommendations, including suggestions for the development of "youth work learning centers," as described in "The Virginia Plan for Strengthening the Commonwealth's 21st Century Workforce" (1991). Emphasized in the literature were the three elements that must be present in effective school-to-work programs, school-based learning, work-based learning, and connecting activities. Most of the programs studied lack one or more of these elements.

    Recommendations included the following: (1) appointment of a team by the Workforce Leadership Council to plan the development of a statewide school-to-work transition system, (2) the actual development of this system to include career preparation services for all students, and (3) integration of state system development with the national School-to-Work opportunities Act of 1993.