Connecting the forgotten half: The school-to-work transition of non-college bound youth
Ling, Thomson Joseph
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When we think of high school students making the transition to adulthood, most of us picture students pursuing a college or university education. However, for many individuals, this image is not the case. For some youth, the transition to adulthood is marked by entrance into the workforce. While previous research has examined the school-to-work transition of non-college-bound youth, most only have considered a limited set of variables and only examined job attainment. By considering job quality and employment stability in addition to job attainment, the present study examined the school-to-work transition of non-college bound youth using a nationally representative sample of youth followed longitudinally. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, 1997 Cohort, we examined a comprehensive set of predictors within an ecological framework. This study sought to determine: "What were the predictors of job attainment, stability of employment, and job quality for youth who are making the school-to-work transition?" Logistic regression and structural equation modeling were used to examine the hypotheses. With regard to job attainment, depression, substance use, adolescent educational attainment, and employment in adolescence were associated with obtaining employment. With regard to job quality and stability of employment, depression, substance use, adolescent educational attainment, employment in adolescence, parental educational attainment, and income were associated with these job characteristics. Parent-adolescent relationship and physical risk were not associated with job characteristics.