Work readiness characteristics of high school seniors
Folds, Lea Dean
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Work readiness of the labor force and its importance has been a recurrent theme for almost 30-years. The landmark report What Work Requires of Schools: A SCANS Report for America 2000 was instrumental in identifying the skills and knowledge needed for potential employees to be considered work ready. The skills and knowledge required for jobs that pay self- and family-sustaining wages have increased considerably and it is now estimated that over 85% of current jobs require at least some postsecondary training. Consequently, high school students must have higher skill and knowledge levels than their predecessors to secure and maintain employment that pays self- and family-supporting wages. The purpose of this study was to analyze the relationship of gender, race, pathway completion, socioeconomic status, highest-level mathematics course, absenteeism, and student mobility to the work readiness of high school seniors in Georgia. Work readiness was defined as the combination of technical, employability, and academic skills necessary for occupations that offer opportunities for advancement and that pay family-sustaining wages. Work readiness was quantified using applied mathematics, reading for information, and locating information from the WorkKeys® Skills Assessments. Participants were 476 high school seniors who had taken the WorkKeys® assessments during February 2011. The full regression model explained 36.3% of the variance in participants’ applied mathematics scores, 35.6% of the variance in their reading for information scores, and 30.2% of the variance in their locating information scores. Race and highest-level mathematics course were significant in all three models with highest-level mathematics course explaining the largest portion of the variance in participants’ scores. Gender was significant in explaining variance in the criterion variable in two models (reading for information and locating information), absenteeism was significant in the applied mathematics model, and student mobility was significant in the locating information model.