In July 1994, Congress passed the School to Work Opportunities Act – an attempt to equip students with skills required for employment in the workplace. Although policymakers withdrew funds from the program after five years, school-to-work (STW) programs continue to attract considerable attention among educators and labor economists alike. How effective are school-to-work programs in preparing students for the labor workforce? Do STW programs foster economic opportunities that especially benefit students from low-income families?
To help address these questions, David Neumark of the Public Policy Institute of California convened a meeting in May of 2004 at the Russell Sage Foundation in New York that brought together researchers engaged in assessing school-to-work programs and institutions. The group discussed the benefits of such programs for students who delay or forgo higher education, examine empirical studies, and consider the policy implications of the existing research in this field. The papers, which addressed issues related to career academies, school-employer contacts, working while in school, and apprenticeships was published in the RSF volume, Improving School to Work Transitions.