Forget the old-fashioned "vocational ed" classes that sent students on a decidedly non-college track, reports the New York Times: Over the last quarter-century, a new kind of high school program known as a career academy has proliferated–and research suggests these programs can give students a significant leg up on their career. Especially popular in low-income districts, career academies combine job placement, college preparation, and classes beyond the vocational trades, from accounting to health care and high-tech fields. Now, a long-term and rigorous evaluation of nine career academies across the country, to be released in Washington, D.C., on June 27, has found that eight years after graduation, participants had significantly higher employment and earnings than similar students in a control group. Poverty experts called the findings encouraging, because few interventions with low-income teenagers–especially blacks and Hispanics–have shown significant and lasting effects, and they come at a time when young minority men, especially, are losing ground disastrously in the job market…

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