Precursors and Outcomes of School-To-Work Pathways: A Latent Life Path Approach

Jeremy Staff, Pennsylvania State University
Michael Vuolo, University of Minnesota
Jeylan T. Mortimer, University of Minnesota

Whereas the phrase, “school-to-work transition” (STW) implies a clear, discrete event, this once predictable and normative transition has become increasingly delayed and “disorderly” among recent cohorts of youth in the United States. Instead of immersion in school, followed by similar involvement in work, the lengthy period of transition is not always unidirectional and typically includes long-term involvements in both work and school. The destandardization of the STW transition complicates assessment of the precursors and impacts of post-secondary education. Using 17 years of longitudinal data from the Youth Development Study, and innovative latent life path modeling, this paper shows four distinct STW pathways: (1) “Baccalaureate into career;” (2) “Associate/voc-tech into career;” (3) “High school dropouts/graduates who flounder;” and (4) “College dropouts who flounder.” We also show the distinct precursors and long-term outcomes (e.g., earnings, savings, financial stressors) experienced by those in each pathway.

  See paper

Presented in Poster Session 6