A new study suggests that a focus on job training rather than college preparatory classes in low-income schools may penalize women.
A group of researchers wanted to know if high school students in blue-collar neighborhoods would benefit from a focus on job training rather than college preparation. Their study revealed that such training provided opportunities – for men.
After graduation, women were less likely to be employed, and those who found jobs earned less than their male counterparts. They also earned less than women in non-working-class communities.
According to the study, which analyzed data from around 60,000 college students tracked from second grade through early adulthood, although gender pay gaps exist across all types of jobs, they are the most important among young men and women who attended blue-collar high schools. The study will be published next month in the American Sociological Review.
The study was prompted by the recent push to bring more vocational training into secondary schools. While advocates have spoken of the need to fill blue-collar jobs, there’s not much discussion that many industries are traditionally male-dominated, said University researcher Amanda Bosky. from Texas to Austin.
“Gender was very much absent from public discourse,” she said.
In the communities studied, many schools chose to add more vocational training classes. In these schools, the researchers found that the students were less likely to go to college, but the men later found jobs. Women often did not.
The study does not demand less professional training but suggests that schools should not sacrifice higher-level academic courses for professional courses.
“That’s really our main point, bear in mind that women suffer if you loosen academic offerings in response to the introduction of vocational training,” Bosky said.
Researchers from Cornell University and UT-Austin looked at data from communities with the highest proportion of blue-collar jobs, which the U.S. Census defines as jobs in construction, mining (such as drilling or excavation) and maintenance.