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.
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.